Coming from American writer Nancy Atherton, the Aunt Dimity series is a mystery series with a paranormal twist that takes place in the fictitious village of Finch in the Cotswolds of England.
The series follows Lori Shepherd, a divorced American who solves crime with the help of deceased Aunt Dimity who communicates with her from the spirit world by means of a blue leather-bound writing journal. Also, each book contains a recipe for bread or pastry.
How to read the Aunt Dimity Series in Order?
Every entry in the Aunt Dimity book series works as a standalone story, but the lives of the different characters evolve from one novel to the other.
- Aunt Dimity’s Death – Lori Shepherd thought Aunt Dimity was just a character in a bedtime story… …Until the Dickensian law firm of Willis & Willis summons her to a reading of the woman’s will. Down-on-her-luck Lori learns she’s about to inherit a sizable estate–if she can discover the secret hidden in a treasure trove of letters in Dimity’s English country cottage. What begins as a fairy tale becomes a mystery–and a ghost story–in an improbably cozy setting, as Aunt Dimity’s spirit leads Lori on an otherworldly quest to discover how, in this life, true love can conquer all.
- Aunt Dimity and the Duke – Emma Porter is forty, fat, frumpy, and a passionate amateur gardener. When her longtime lover dumps her for a younger woman, Emma escapes the cloying sympathy of family and friends by setting out on a summer-long driving tour of England’s glorious gardens. A Dimity-contrived coincidence brings her to Penford Hall, a sprawling Gothic mansion in Cornwall, where she finds a duke in search of a missing lantern with extraordinary powers. Suspecting there’s more than one mystery to be solved at Penford Hall, Emma accepts the duke’s invitation to stay on and restore the once glorious chapel garden to its former beauty.
- Aunt Dimity’s Good Deed – Thanks to Aunt Dimity, Lori’s life has taken on fairy-tale proportions: she’s financially set for life and happily married or so she thinks. When Lori’s plans for a second honeymoon to England with her workaholic husband fall through, she begrudgingly takes along her father-in-law who promptly disappears, leaving behind a mysterious note. Inspired and guided by the ghost of Aunt Dimity and her inimitable blue journal, Lori’s search for the elderly gentleman turns into a harrowing mission to uncover a centuries-old family secret complicated by mistaken identities, falsified deeds, family feuds, and Lori’s unseemly attraction to her husband’s beguiling English cousin.
- Aunt Dimity Digs In – Lori Shepherd is up to her elbows in pureed carrots and formula bottles, striving to be the perfect mother to twins! Luckily, a beautiful Italian nanny arrives just in time–so Lori can help settle the local civil war stirred up by a visiting archaeologist’s excavation. Lori hunts down a missing document, and the archaeologist digs up a lot more than artifacts. It is Aunt Dimity’s magic blue notebook that provides the key to buried secrets and domestic malice, and shows all the residents of Finch that even the darkest acts can be overcome by forgiveness.
- Aunt Dimity’s Christmas – Lori can hardly wait for Christmas this year: lean times are over, the cottage Aunt Dimity willed her is more beautiful than ever, her nine-month-old twins, Will and Rob, are thriving, and she and husband Bill have never been happier. Determined to make this Christmas the best ever, Lori embarks on a round of shopping, holly-cutting, angel-cookie making, and more. When fat snowflakes begin drifting down outside of the window, Lori feels all her holiday wishes are about to come true. But the next day, beneath the lilac bushes now covered by freshly fallen snow, Lori makes a disturbing discovery: the body of a mysterious stranger–a tramp–barely alive.
- Aunt Dimity Beats the Devil – Lori Shepherd is beginning to doubt the wisdom of her decision to evaluate a rare book collection at Wyrdhurst Hall. The grim, neo-gothic hall that greets her upon arrival is full of surprises-including a charming, secretive stranger, and a cache of World War I letters that tell a tale of doomed love and hint at a hidden treasure. It will take all of Dimity’s supernatural skills to help Lori solve the puzzle and restore peace to a family haunted by its tragic past.
- Aunt Dimity Detective – When Lori Shepherd returns from her trip to America, she is shocked to hear that Prunella “Pruneface” Hooper has been killed. This is the first murder in the village of Finch in more than a century, and everyone is in an uproar. Before the town implodes in the wake of this scandal, Lori sets out to solve the murder.
- Aunt Dimity Takes a Holiday – When Lori Shepherd’s husband, Bill, is summoned to the reading of a will at the resplendent country estate of Earl Elstyn, Lori jumps at the chance to come along. She didn’t expect, however, to find herself entangled in a messy-and dangerous-family dispute. The aristocratic earl has called together the entire Elstyn family to disclose the beneficiaries of his fortune, and all present will be affected. But someone has a grudge against the Elstyns and will stop at nothing for revenge.
- Aunt Dimity Snowbound – A pleasant woodland stroll through the English countryside is rudely cut short by the blizzard of the century, forcing Lori to take shelter in Ladythorne Abbey-an old pile still haunted by the presence of the madwoman whose prison it once was. But the abbey’s greatest secret is the priceless jewel it conceals somewhere within its cloisters-an heirloom that hides a treacherous past that Lori’s fellow guests can’t wait to get their hands on. Only Aunt Dimity’s indispensable wisdom can help Lori unravel a mystery.
- Aunt Dimity and the Next of Kin – Feeling a touch world-weary, Lori Shepherd decides to become a volunteer at the Radcliffe Infirmary, where she meets Elizabeth Beacham, a kind, retired legal secretary. But after only one visit, Miss Beacham passes away, leaving behind no family except a brother who has mysteriously disappeared. Armed with the generous help of a handsome neighbor and, as always, Aunt Dimity’s supernatural skills, Lori begins to unearth Miss Beacham’s secrets.
- Aunt Dimity and the Deep Blue Sea – A series of death threats sends Lori Shepard to a remote island off the Scottish coast and to a fabulous castle restored by an eccentric friend of her husband’s. But she finds herself drawn into an elaborate whodunit that may involve smuggling-or worse.
- Aunt Dimity Goes West – Lori Shepherd is taking a vacation with her family in the beautiful mountain town of Bluebird, Colorado. But there’s something amiss at their seemingly perfect vacation home. Is the place cursed or is a sinister human hand shaping its eerie reputation? With Aunt Dimity’s help, Lori sets out to solve a hundred-year-old mystery and discovers that sometimes the strangest places can seem the most like home.
- Aunt Dimity, Vampire Hunter – Her paranoia regarding her preschooler twins’ safety erupting in the face of tales about a pale, blood-stained figure lurking in the nearby woods, Lori consults with her not-quite-departed Aunt Dimity and eventually stumbles upon a charismatic vagabond, a bitter old woman, and the truth about a forty-year-old murder.
- Aunt Dimity Slays the Dragon – Lori Shepherd longs for some excitement to spice up her all-too-familiar routine. So when a Renaissance festival complete with wizards, wenches, knights, and jesters sets up in town for the summer, Lori gets her wish-and more. She soon discovers a sinister stalker, a jealous saboteur, and an evil assassin behind the scenes of King Wilfred’s Faire, and it’s up to Lori-with Aunt Dimity’s otherworldly guidance-to prevent the medieval revelry from ending in modern-day tragedy.
- Aunt Dimity Down Under – Lori Shepherd is bereft when she learns that her beloved neighbors, Ruth and Louise Pym, may be dying. Summoning her to their sickroom, the elderly sisters have a favor to ask: Will Lori find their long-lost brother, Aubrey, before death claims them? Despite her misgivings, Lori sets out for distant New Zealand-where Aubrey fled after being cast out of the family in disgrace. With the help of a charming kiwi bird and her otherworldly friend, Aunt Dimity, Lori tries to heal a family broken by deceit.
- Aunt Dimity and the Family Tree – After a dizzying time Down Under, Lori Shepherd returns to Finch and finds that her wealthy father-in-law, William Willis, Sr., has just purchased a splendid ten-acre estate nearby. While William fends off local ladies intent on romance, Lori oversees the painstaking restoration of a peculiar painting found during renovations. It’s nothing Lori can’t handle-until moving furniture, strange sounds, and the theft of the painting prompt her to call on Aunt Dimity for help uncovering the estate’s shadowy past.
- Aunt Dimity and the Village Witch – At first glance, the unassuming Mrs. Amelia Thistle is a disappointment to the villagers of Finch, but Lori Shepherd isn’t fooled by the new arrival’s bland persona. Amelia is a world-famous artist, traveling incognito, and, after unearthing a fragment of a family diary hinting that Mistress Meg, the Mad Witch of Finch, might be one of her ancestors, she’s come to Finch in search of the truth.
- Aunt Dimity and the Lost Prince – It’s a cold, dreary February in the sleepy village of Finch and Lori Shepherd has two stir-crazy kids on her hands. So she leaps at the chance to visit Skeaping Manor, a bizarre Jacobean-house-turned-museum. There she meets Daisy Pickering, a sweet, but strange little girl from a poor family who spins a wild tale about the Russian aristocrats who once owned the priceless silver pieces on display. A few days later, Daisy’s shabby pink parka turns up at Lori’s thrift shop-with a silver sleigh figurine in the pocket. Lori tries to track down the Pickering family, only to find that they’ve disappeared without a trace.
- Aunt Dimity and the Wishing Well – While helping Jack clear out his uncle’s overgrown garden, Lori finds a long-forgotten wishing well. As a joke, she makes a wish-and it comes true! Word spreads, and soon the entire village besieges the well with wishes of their own. As more and more wishes come true, chaos ensues, and Lori-with Aunt Dimity’s otherworldly help-races to prove there’s something other than magic at work before her beloved village implodes.
- Aunt Dimity and the Summer King – Lori Shepherd has a lot on her plate but she refuses to stand back and watch while big money destroys her beloved village. Lori suspects that a local real estate agent is illicitly lining her pockets at Finch’s expense, but before she can prove it, she’s sidetracked by a chance encounter with an eccentric inventor. Arthur Hargreaves, dubbed the Summer King by his quirky family, is as warmhearted as the summer sun. In his presence, Lori forgets her troubles-and Finch’s. Lori snaps out of her happy trance when a series of unsettling discoveries shakes her faith in Arthur Hargreaves.
- Aunt Dimity and the Buried Treasure – While exploring the attic in her cottage near the small English village of Finch, Lori Shepherd makes an extraordinary discovery: a gleaming gold and garnet bracelet that had once belonged to Aunt Dimity. When Lori shows the garnet bracelet to Aunt Dimity, it awakens poignant memories of a doomed romance in Aunt Dimity’s youth in London after the War. Regretfully, Aunt Dimity asks Lori to do what she could not: return the bracelet to her unsuccessful suitor to put a piece of Aunt Dimity’s past to rest.
- Aunt Dimity and the Widow’s Curse – While her husband and sons are spending Easter break camping, Lori is perfectly happy to be left at home where she can take care of her toddler and attend the quilting bee that her elderly neighbor is holding in the old schoolhouse. In fact, once at the schoolhouse, Lori is delighted to find herself seated next to her widowed neighbor and uses the opportunity to learn more about her life in the village of Old Cowerton – including finding out a startling secret about her neighbor’s first husband’s death.
- Aunt Dimity and the King’s Ransom – On a dull and dreary October day, Lori Shepherd and her husband Bill set off for the historic town of Rye, on the southeast coast of England, for a quiet weekend together without the kids. Bill must first pay a visit to a reclusive client–but after Lori drops him off, a powerful storm drives her off course and leaves her stranded in an ancient, rambling inn called The King’s Ransom. When Lori is spooked by ghostly noises in the night, Aunt Dimity reminds her rather tartly that not all ghosts intend to harm the living.
- Aunt Dimity and the Heart of Gold – It’s almost Christmas in the small English village of Finch – and everyone is sick. Although many of the villagers regretfully decline their invitations to Emma and Derek Harris’ annual Christmas bash, Lori Shepherd has no intention of missing it. The next morning, Emma asks her guests if they would like a tour of the Manor – including a secret room she recently discovered. Placing a palm on one of the ornately carved panels, Matilda Tilly Trout finds a hidden compartment concealing a pile of glittering treasure – including an exquisitely decorated heart made of solid gold!
- Aunt Dimity and the Enchanted Cottage – When Crispin Windle arrives, no one knows what to make of him: seemingly a loner, he repels every welcoming gesture and appears altogether uninterested in being a part of the community. Soon, the townspeople have all but dismissed him. Only Lori and Tommy Prescott, a young army veteran who recently moved to Finch, refuse to give up. They orchestrate a chance meeting that leads to a startling discovery: a set of overgrown ruins. They are, Aunt Dimity shares, the remains of a Victorian woolen mill that once brought prosperity to Finch. As the three explore, they stumble upon the unmarked graves of children who died working at the mill. Heartbroken, Lori, Tommy, and Mr. Windle get to work on the seemingly impossible task of identifying the children to give them a proper burial. And as Mr. Windle works tirelessly to name the forgotten children, he slowly begins to open up―giving the romantic cottage a chance to heal his heart as well.
If you like the Aunt Dimity reading order, you may also want to check out our guide to the Meg Langslow books or Ellery Adams’s series. Don’t hesitate to follow us on Twitter or Facebook to discover more book series.