logo
Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: historical-mystery
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-11-06 06:14
Ask Me No Questions (Lady Dunbridge Mystery, #1)
Ask Me No Questions - Shelley Noble

I got an uncorrected advance reader copy at Bouchercon this year, but it was from a freebie table, meaning there is zero chance of bias.

 

Up front this is definitely an uncorrected ARC and I sincerely hope that someone not only corrects the grammatical and punctuational errors, but the huge, gaping plot error.

 

Briefly as possible:  Lady Dunbridge's friend's husband is murdered.  Lady D and friend find a hidden safe deposit box key in a safe, and checking the box they find thousand of dollars in cash, which they take out and hide.  At the denouement it is revealed that he had this cash with him when he died, that the murderer took it after shooting him.  Which would make it impossible for Lady D and friend to find it in his safe deposit box afterward. I mean, I'm pretty sure the murderer didn't kill him, take his money, and then return it to the victim's safe deposit box for the two women to find.

(spoiler show)

 

Those issues aside, it's not a bad read.  Lady Dunbridge is an interesting mix of traditionalist and modernist, in much the same way I'd bet a lot of women were at the turn of the century, just before WWI.  Her morality has left the Victorian Age behind, but her pragmatism has her actively searching for a new husband who can maintain her in the lifestyle befitting her Countess title.  That she decides to do that in America is a slight twist on an old theme. 

 

Some of the secondary characters are all written to be interesting in their own right, with Lady D's ladies maid being a downright lady of mystery with some mad and disconcerting skills.  Others are more cardboard prop-ish; either they have more development planned in future books (?) or they weren't meant to be more than props.

 

There's no romance, although the Countess is plenty interested, and there's heavy foreshadowing of mysterious men and sadly, a possible love triangle.   Nothing specific, just inferences that can be made from inescapable tropes.

 

The plot, other than the train-sized hole running through the end of it, was pretty interesting.  In a very weird coincidence, the book centered on horse-racing; the Belmont Stakes, specifically.  (I was completely unaware of this when I picked it up to read.)  It was an interesting story, and I loved the tie in with Doyle's Silver Blaze (which, towards the end of the book became Silver Blade, something I really hope they catch before publication).   It could have been a tighter story - it did drag a bit in the middle - but overall, it held my attention.

 

I'd probably read another one if it comes across my radar; there's enough here to show promise.

 

I'll use this book for my Melbourne Cup Day Festive Task, since it's been handed to me.  (Read a book about horses or a horse on the cover.)

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-10-18 10:00
Treacherous is the Night (Verity Kent Mystery, #2)
Treacherous Is the Night - Anna Lee Huber

This series is driving me crazy; I love the author's writing, the characters, the settings, the mysteries.  But I hate one of the major plot points.  

 

Verity Kent's husband died during WWI - except, he didn't.  He was wounded but allowed himself to be listed as killed in action, hiding while he hunted out the traitor in his unit.  Well over a year later, after Verity has started moving on, and falling for another man - a man designed by the author to make readers fall for him - her dead husband decided to let her know he's in rude health for a corpse and not understanding why she's not happier to see him.

(spoiler show)

 

I'm not sure how to reconcile this, really.  I want to read them, but they piss me off at the same time.

 

With that disclosure, it's a good book, although a bit rambling.  I notice tis with a lot of Kensington books, so I think it's more an editorial style than a failing on the author's part.  A tighter editing would have resulted in a faster paced mystery and less exposition about the devastation of WWI.  Don't get me wrong: the exposition was interesting, but it was a tad repetitive.  My biggest complaint, and again, something that could have been avoided by a stricter editor, was Verity's constant, constant, mention of Her Big Secret and how she should tell her husband; it's revelation is inevitable; they can't move on unless she does; really, it would be best to come clean... but not now.  Never now.  Then, finally, the revelation.  And all I could think was omg, who cares?.  I realise people were a lot touchier about things in 1918, but give me a break; without spoiling things, her husband didn't have a leg to stand on and she really ought to have just told him to suck it up and deal with it.

 

I don't know if I'll read the third one when it comes out or not.  If I do, I'm pretty sure I'm stuck with that plot point and, well, I just don't know that I care enough about Verity as things stand.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-10-11 09:05
A Lady's Guide To Etiquette And Murder (Countess of Harleigh Mystery, #1)
A Lady's Guide To Etiquette And Murder - Dianne Freeman

I bought this book at Barnes and Noble, just before going to Bouchercon, where Kensington was giving away free, signed copies, and the author was speaking on several panels.  Doh.  As luck would have it, I enjoyed the story enough that I don't begrudge the royalties the author earned from my lack of foresight in the least.

 

Lady Harleigh is just coming out of her one year's mourning following the death of her husband, the Earl who exchanged his title for her American fortune.  Throwing off the widow's weeds and fleeing from the in-laws who intend to bleed her dry of her private fortune, she settles in London with her daughter.  But someone has sent an anonymous letter to the police claiming she killed her husband, and a string of small jewel thefts from the ton put her on a different suspect list after she finds one of the stolen pieces in her purse after a party.

 

First things first - those who enjoy historical accuracy should avoid this book.  Not that the author didn't do her research; I don't know if she did or didn't as I'm not well versed enough in 1899 England to spot inaccuracies, but the narrative has a distinctly contemporary voice.  I also remember that Freeman was on an historical fiction panel I attended and she was not one of the sticklers for historical accuracy (I remember her sort of falling in the middle of the spectrum).  

 

But my historical ignorance was bliss in this case.  I just enjoyed the story for what it was: a fun mystery with strong female characters, a likeable romantic interest, and few, if any, TSTL moments.  it was also a very, very clever plot.

 

For those that like Rhys Bowen's Her Royal Spyness, this series has a similar feel, though a slightly more mature MC and less charming narrative.  It's a great start to what could be a very fun series.

 

I read this for my last square in Halloween Bingo: Darkest London.  Blackout!  

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-08-17 11:28
Four Funerals and Maybe a Wedding (Her Royal Spyness, #12)
Four Funerals and Maybe a Wedding - Rhys Bowen

This series is always enjoyable, even when the plots aren't as good as they could be.  Luckily, even though the title is really a stretch, the plot of this one isn't.  I can imagine how it might have happened back in the day of the aristocracy owning multiple estates they often didn't visit for long stretches of time.

 

The subplot of the book is the culmination of 11 previous books filled with the flirting and courting between Darcy and Georgie - the wedding.  I was struck with trepidation at the beginning of the book as Georgie spies a pretty woman standing next to Darcy and immediately falls into a pit of despair; I dislike characters that don't embrace their own self worth.  Happily, it was a fleeting scene, and the rest of the (minimal) wedding related story-line was full of delicious revenge as Georgie gets to watch her evil sister-in-law fume over Georgie's close relationship with the King and Queen.  The scene where she tells Fig who her bridesmaids are was one of the best.

 

Overall, an enjoyable read.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-07-25 08:23
Monk's Hood (Brother Cadfael Mystery, #3)
Monk's Hood - Ellis Peters

I finished this two days ago, which means the details are fuzzy at this point.  It's excellently written, of course, and the plotting equally well done.  Peters was clever; obfuscating the murderer with ease and subtlety.  

 

I resisted this series for a long time; I like historical mysteries, but tend to prefer Victorian time periods.  The middle ages don't interest me in general, but Ellis Peters' storytelling transcends the time frame its written in.  I'm reading it wondering what happens next, not cringing over the living conditions.  

 

I like Brother Cadfael quite a bit; he's not pious with all its negative connotations; there's no preaching or evangelising.  He's devoted to his faith and his calling to monastic life (a devotion that is tested in this book) but he's not trying to be a martyr to either.  I was a little disappointed that Hugh didn't have more page time, as he brings a spark to the pace, but overall, this was an excellent mystery.

More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?