Review: Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman (Lady Montfort Mystery #1) by Tessa Arlen

A Downton Abbey-esque murder mystery? Yes please!

Lady Montfort is eagerly anticipating and planning her annual costume ball. Every year she tries to out do herself and plan an over the top event.

Well what would be more memorable than discovering a body?

Teddy is not the most endearing victim. Teddy was the nephew of Lord Montford who was constantly involved in scandal. Most recently he was involved in a gambling ring at Oxford that caused him the be expelled.

Having him home for the costume ball is not exactly the most desirable scenarios but he is after all family. Well while taking a stroll around her property before the ball, Lady Montford overhears a heated argument between Teddy and her own son.

Her son tells Teddy that he will break his neck, Lady Montford realizes she is afraid of her son’s rage in that moment but doesn’t interrupt to argument.

Well when Teddy’s body is discovered later, he has a broken neck–he was hanged.

The police begin investigating and interviewing all the party guests. In the mean time, a daughter of one of the guests disappears as well as a housemaid.

Coincidence or unrelated? The police seem convinced that Lady Montford’s son has something to do with Teddy’s death. Fearing the worst, Lady Montford takes matters into her own hands and begins her own investigation with her housemaid, Mrs Jackson.

Was there someone else with motive to murder Teddy or could it have been her son after all?

This book began a little flat for me. It was partially the tone and partially the story/characters. I just didn’t feel a connection with any of the characters or the story right away. And this made me nervous.

It wasn’t immediately clear who the protagonist was going to be and while I suspected it was Lady Montford, I wasn’t entirely sure, so I had my reservations to say the least.

Some of the characters and event aspects of the plot were basic, stereotypical, and cliche. But I was still willing to hold out hope that the story could get better.

Somewhere along the way, I finally got hooked into the plot….I can’t quite pin point where but if I had to venture a guess I would say, for me, it was Teddy’s murder that gave me hope.

I was honestly suspecting him to be shot or something a little less hands on and graphic than a hanging. The fact that the author went with a unique murder method was intriguing and made me hope that the novel would get better.

I am so glad I kept reading and didn’t give up on this one. Thankfully the murder happens almost immediately so I didn’t have to spend too long hoping for a redeeming quality.

One of the things I liked best about this novel was the exploration and description of the social structure/hierarchy. I felt like the research which went into the culture and history of the setting was useful in creating an authentic setting.

The Edwardian era was full of opulence and excess which was evident in the lives of the characters. I thought this added to the murder mystery especially since there was such a division between the classes within the story.

The historic setting and attention to detail added a lot of interest for me personally as the Edwardian era is one of my most favorite. Snobbery and elitism were very real things during this time and I thought the author captured this concept well within the novel and plot. Her characters were appropriately haughty for the era which made them seem genuine.

I liked that the murder mystery was complex and took me a while to sort out. It wasn’t overly obvious and the resolution made sense. I thought the author did a nice job structuring the plot in such a way that it kept the audience guessing until the end.

I had a hard time classifying this novel…it’s not quite historic fiction, nor is it strictly a ‘mystery’ novel, it’s not a cozy, and it’s not a detective novel. I like books the don’t fit neatly into one category. I would say if you like history and mysteries then you will enjoy this one.

A final note, the cover is stunning. I love the sky and the lovely country estate on the cover. It was eye catching and made me wonder what sort or murder mystery would be set in a place like this! So well done!

While I struggled initially with the novel, I think the overall resolution and the mystery itself made it a decent read. The historic research and information was very realistic and added to the story. I loved that it wasn’t necessarily a ‘cozy mystery’ nor was it truly a ‘detective novel’….it was more of a hodgepodge of genres which made it different and unique.

Please check out other stops on the tour for author interviews, giveaways, and guest posts as well as a number of other reviews! The schedule is listed below!

Challenge/Book Summary:

Book: Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman (Lady Montfort #1) by Tessa Arlen

  • Kindle Edition, 320 pages
    Published January 6th 2015 by Minotaur Books
  • Review copy provided by: Publisher as part of the HFVBT book tour in exchange for an honest review

This book counts toward: NA

  • Hosted by: NA
  • Books for Challenge Completed: NA

Recommendation: 3.5 out of 5

Genre: Mystery, Historic Fiction

Memorable lines/quotes: NA

Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, January 5
Review at Reading the Past
Review at Back Porchervations
Review & Giveaway at Mina’s Bookshelf

Tuesday, January 6
Review & Giveaway at Unshelfish
Spotlight & Giveaway at The Maiden’s Court

Wednesday, January 7
Review & Giveaway at To Read, Or Not to Read
Spotlight at The Never-Ending Book

Friday, January 9
Review at Mel’s Shelves
Guest Post on The Writing Desk
Review at Back Porchervations

Saturday, January 10
Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book

Sunday, January 11
Review at Buried Under Books

Monday, January 12
Review at Flashlight Commentary

Tuesday, January 13
Review at Girl Lost in a Book
Interview at Back Porchervations
Spotlight & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books

Wednesday, January 14
Review & Giveaway at The Book Binder’s Daughter

Thursday, January 15
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Friday, January 16
Spotlight at Just One More Chapter

Monday, January 19
Review at Beth’s Book Book

Tuesday, January 20
Review at The Lit Bitch
Spotlight & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages

Wednesday, January 21
Spotlight & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More

Thursday, January 22
Review at Musings of a Bookish Kitty

Monday, January 26
Review at A Literary Vacation
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews

Tuesday, January 27
Review & Giveaway at The True Book Addict

Wednesday, January 28
Review at A Book Geek

Thursday, January 29
Spotlight at What Is That Book About

Friday, January 30
Review at The Maiden’s Court

Saturday, January 31
Review & Giveaway at The Calico Critic

Monday, February 2
Review at Book Nerd

Tuesday, February 3
Spotlight at I Heart Reading

Thursday, February 5
Review at Layered Pages

Friday, February 6
Guest Post & Giveaway at Historical Fiction Connection

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