I am always on the look out for new murder mysteries, preferably with a female lead ‘detectives’ and set in England. While this isn’t my first novel by this author, it felt new to me. I read Tessa Arlen’s first book in this series, DEATH OF A DISHONORABLE GENTLEMAN, back in early 2015 and though I wasn’t completely hooked at the beginning, I was invested enough to finish it and was rewarded for my tenacity.
I didn’t read the second book in this series for some reason, but when the third book came up for review it sounded rather good so I decided to give her books another go. I wish now that I had read the second book before this one, but over all, the third book read find as a ‘stand alone’.
Set in the day leading up to WWI, the elegant Lady Montfort and her redoubtable housekeeper, Mrs. Jackson, investigate a murder among a group of amateur rose-breeders. When Mrs. Jackson receives a visit from a cook who believes she was an indirect witness to murder from a poisoned dish of breakfast kedgeree Lady Montfort promises to do what she can to clear the cook’s name, and contrives an invitation to Hyde Castle, the home of a self-made millionaire, to investigate a murder of concealed passions and secret desires.
With the help of the invaluable Jackson Lady Montfort sets about solving the puzzle surrounding the death of the rose society’s most popular member and discovers a villain of audacious cunning among a group of mild-mannered, amateur rose-breeders.
While they investigate, the headlines bring news of the growing crisis in the Balkans following the assassination of.the heir to the Austro-Hungarian empire. As each day brings more threatening news and the very real fear that Britain will be drawn into war, Lady Montfort and Mrs. Jackson must race against the clock to solve the mystery before Britain declares on Germany. (Summary from Goodreads).
One thing that stood out to me about this book was the development of plot and writing compared to the first book. It’s hard for me to not compared this book with the first. In the first, I felt like the writing and plot structure needed some work and polish, feedback that I see reflected and ratified here. I noticed that this book has much more polish about it and I loved reading it! There were numerous plot twists and the beginning hooked me quite fast.
What really stood out in my mind with this book was the beautiful descriptions of the gardens! I literally felt like I was sitting in an English garden enjoying the summer sun…..it was so vivid that when I put the book down to ‘return to reality’ I was sad about the pouring rain and wind that I saw from my bedroom window! Honestly I am not really in to horticulture or roses and this book had a lot of info in those subject areas but they way in which she described the roses and such made me want to learn more. I found myself Googling some of the roses just so I could get a clearer picture of them in my head! Her descriptions and historical detail were second to none. I loved reading this book simply for this reason! Wonderful hand for story telling!
This book is more of a cozy than a detective novel and while a cozy is fun once in a while, it’s not my primary review genre but I still enjoyed it just the same. It was a welcome break from some of the books I’ve been reading lately and I loved the growth in this book compared to her first novel! Well done!
Book: A Death by Any Other Name (Lady Montfort Mystery #3) by Tessa Arlen
Kindle, 336 pagesPublished March 14th 2017 by Minotaur Books
- Review copy provided by: Publisher/Author in exchange for an honest review
This book counts toward: NA
- Hosted by: NA
- Books for Challenge Completed: NA
Recommendation: 4 out of 5
Genre: Cozy, mystery, detective, Edwardian era