As soon as this book appeared on my desk I was eager to read it. I thought the cover was pretty and I love lady detective novels so basically this book was a must read for me.
I was looking for something light and just fun since I had come off reading a few heaver read, it sounded perfect.
This book boasts a well known romance writer writing under a pseudonym, though we are never told who the well known writer is. I was curious to see how that translated into a mystery novel, and I was admittedly even more curious about who said writer was.
England 1912. Danby Hall is the only home Lady Cecilia Bates has ever known. Despite the rigid rules of etiquette and her mother the Countess of Avebury’s fervent desire to see her married off, Lady Cecilia can’t imagine life anywhere else. But now, with an agricultural depression sweeping the countryside, the Bates family’s possession of the hall is suddenly in peril.
A possible solution arrives in the form of the imperious American heiress Annabel Clarke. The Earl and Countess of Avebury are determined that Cecilia’s brother, Patrick, will win Annabel’s hand in marriage–and her fortune along with it. To help the lackluster Patrick in this pursuit, the Bates and their staff arrange a grand house party upon the heiress’s arrival.
When a guest dies after sipping from a glass meant for Annabel, it’s clear the Bates have a more poisonous problem on their hands than a lack of chemistry. As the scandal seizes Danby, Cecilia sets out to find the culprit, with help from Annabel’s maid, Jane, and Jane’s curiously intelligent cat, Jack.
After the poison that someone had stashed away inside the manor is discovered, Cecilia is left with two possibilities: Either a resident of Danby snapped and tried to kill the arrogant heiress, or the threat is coming from one of their guests, who would love to see the Bates family’s decline become permanent (summary from Goodreads)
This book had a lot of things that I enjoy—great time period, non conventional ladies, budding romances, and cross class friendships. But something about this book fell a little short of my expectations. I thought Cecilia was a great heroine and fit the lady detective role well and I also enjoyed Jane, but I felt like their friendship was a little reaching when it came to how close they got and how fast.
I also thought it was interesting that the mystery series was named after the cat, but the cat didn’t really have much to do with the mystery itself so I wondered if it was really necessary to include the cat in the series title or even at all in the story.
The mystery itself was not overly complex or twisty which was fine. It was clear that some of the characters were misrepresenting themselves which left enough doubt for the reader to question their motives and what they were hiding. But I was able to work out the mystery for the most part which was fine. I went into this one knowing that it was going to be more of a light read and I thought it met those expectations, but I was honestly expecting a little more from this one.
Maybe a little more romance (considering the author writes romance) or maybe a little more red herrings….I am not sure but I finished it feeling as though I wanted more over all but I also felt like I was eager to read the next mystery. So where did that leave me with this one? Considering I was satisfied with the ending and looking forward to the next one, I decided to go with a 3 star review for this new mystery. It was good but not outstanding.