You all know how much I love a fun historical mystery and Kensington Publishing has a bevy of fabulous authors to choose from. And I have read a number of them and consistently enjoy many of their authors.
So when this one came up for review, I was counting on Kensington Publishing to not let me down! This author is new to me and even though it’s the second in a series, it is only the second book so I hoped that I hadn’t missed too much by starting on book 2 rather than book 1.
The cover of this book is so bright, cheerful, and eye-catching…..I almost forgot that it was meant to be a murder mystery!
Though American by birth, Frances Wynn, the now-widowed Countess of Harleigh, has adapted admirably to the quirks and traditions of the British aristocracy. On August twelfth each year, otherwise known as the Glorious Twelfth, most members of the upper class retire to their country estates for grouse-shooting season. Frances has little interest in hunting—for birds or a second husband—and is expecting to spend a quiet few months in London with her almost-engaged sister, Lily, until the throng returns.
Instead, she’s immersed in a shocking mystery when a friend, Mary Archer, is found murdered. Frances had hoped Mary might make a suitable bride for her cousin, Charles, but their courtship recently fizzled out. Unfortunately, this puts Charles in the spotlight—along with dozens of others. It seems Mary had countless notes hidden in her home, detailing the private indiscretions of society’s elite. Frances can hardly believe that the genteel and genial Mary was a blackmailer, yet why else would she horde such juicy tidbits?
Aided by her gallant friend and neighbor, George Hazelton, Frances begins assisting the police in this highly sensitive case, learning more about her peers than she ever wished to know. Too many suspects may be worse than none at all—but even more worrying is that the number of victims is increasing too. And unless Frances takes care, she’ll soon find herself among them (summary from Goodreads)
I was astonished that this was only the second book by this writer! The well crafted mystery and full bodied writing was polished and practiced. I really enjoyed reading this one and the snappy dialogue and cheeky characters were interesting and fun.
The first chapter was spent introducing the principal characters and backstory from the previous novel, but the author is careful to not giveaway too much from the previous book for new readers. Then but the second chapter, the murder mystery is off and running.
I loved that I didn’t have to spend more than a few pages getting caught up to speed with everything and the murder happened at the perfect time—just before I started to get bored with the back story, I was roped back into the new mystery and trying to puzzle out what was happening. With series, there is such a delicate balance between giving too much back story and not enough, I thought the author did a wonderful job striking that delicate balance. between the two.
I thought the tone of the book was charming and cozy, and while I did figure out who the murderer was, I enjoyed following the clues laid for the reader throughout the story. If you are a fan of historical mysteries from authors like Deanna Raybourn, Anna Lee Huber, and Laurie King then you are going to love this series. It was a fast read with cleaver characters and loads of charm and I am so glad I have found yet another new author in this genre to enjoy!
Book Info and Rating
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Praise for A Lady’s Guide to Etiquette and Murder
“Fans of Georgette Heyer will appreciate the hints of romance, while aficionados of Deanna Raybourn or D.M. Quincy will delight in the banter-filled dialog and period details.”—Library Journal, Starred Review
“Fans of witty, lighthearted Victorian mysteries will be enthralled.”- Publishers Weekly Starred Review
“This lighthearted debut tale of mystery, love, and a delightful sleuth will leave you wanting more—which is presumably just what Freeman has in mind.”– Kirkus Reviews
“A delightful tale of shenanigans among the British aristocracy. Lady Frances feels very real—not too smart and spunky but no shrinking violet either.” —Rhys Bowen, New York Times bestselling author
About the Author
Dianne Freeman is a life-long book lover who left the world of corporate finance to pursue her passion for writing. After co-authoring the non-fiction book, Haunted Highway, The Spirits of Route 66, she realized her true love was fiction, historical mystery in particular. She also realized she didn’t like winter very much so now she and her husband pursue the endless summer by splitting their time between Michigan and Arizona. She’s been nominated for an Agatha and the prestigious Mary Higgins Clark Award, and won the 2019 Lefty Award for Best Debut Mystery.
Blog Tour Schedule
Thursday, June 27
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Friday, June 28
Excerpt at The Book Junkie Reads
Saturday, June 29
Feature at Historical Fiction with Spirit
Sunday, June 30
Review at Oh, The Books She Will Read
Monday, July 1
Review at Mama’s Reading Corner
Tuesday, July 2
Interview at Maiden of the Pages
Wednesday, July 3
Review at Bibliophile Reviews
Thursday, July 4
Interview at Passages to the Past
Saturday, July 6
Review & Interview at Jorie Loves A Story