Lori Shepard collects people. As Aunt Dimity and the Next of Kin opens, Lori has begun a new project, inspired by her friend Lucinda Willoughby, a nurse at Oxford's Radcliffe Infirmary. There are too many patients with no one to visit them; what better way for Lori to add to her collection than to become Radcliffe Infirmary's first freelance visitor?
Within weeks of taking on this task Lori meets Elizabeth Beacham, unmarried, terminally ill, and the best listener Lori's ever met. Rather than spending their time together recounting tales of her own past glories--as most of Lori's patients do--Miss Beacham draws stories out of Lori. Needless to say, Lori is up to the challenge. But the terminally ill die, and so does Miss Beacham, mere days after their meeting. Lori is crushed, as she felt that she had truly found a soulmate in this poor friendless woman.
She takes it upon herself to find Elizabeth Beacham's estranged brother--who, apparently, couldn't even be bothered to visit his terminally ill sister in hospital--and along the way finds yet another character to add to her collection. Gabriel Ashcroft, painter and downstairs neighbor to Elizabeth Beacham for four years, joins Lori on her quest to solve the mystery of the missing next of kin. As they go they learn about the many ways a quiet, unassuming woman can influence the lives of those around her.
Aunt Dimity and the Next of Kin is a sweet, gentle mystery, an exploration of what it means to be a good person and how knowing someone who is truly good can lift one up to another level.