It’s difficult to believe that Dianne Freeman, the author of A Lady’s Guide to Etiquette and Murder switched to writing after a career in corporate finance. Her writing is quite good! I truly enjoyed this light, candy-like, historical cosy murder mystery.
I’ve read this alongside my blogger friend Umut and here is her post about this book. She also gave this book a big thumbs up like I did!
The story takes place in Victorian London, where women are ruled and owned by their husbands. Our heroine Frances Wynn, the widow of late Earl Wynn is the daughter of a wealthy American family, pushed to marriage in exchange for a title an a bit of royalty. The titled family has no money, and Frances’s family is without a title. The deal is made: Frances feeds the family money in exchange of being a Countess!
Her late husband, Reggie Wynn have had a weak heart and he passes away under some an unfortunate circumstances, which becomes quite a stress for Frances. She is quite a rebel for Victorian standards.
“A woman is completely under the power of the man she marries. Considering what brutes some men are, we must be fools to rush into marriage the way we do.”
says Frances, to her sister, after her own experience with marriage and seeing other’s fun and games with their husbands.
Following her husband’s death with a year of mourning, she finally calls out freedom and moves out to her own house in London, with her daughter Rose. London society is not short of scandals and drama, and Frances quickly becomes aware of small burglaries in an around of wealthy people’s houses. Things seem calm and peaceful for a while but trouble visits in form of a policeman one day.
The policeman, Inspector Delaney tells Frances her husband’s death might not be a natural one! It might be a MURDER!
As if her dead husband’s possible murder is not enough trouble for a Lady to deal, Frances’s brother in law tries to sue the poor woman in hopes of sucking more money out of her purse.
After this point the story became quite interesting. I loved the style of writing. There is humour and also light suspense. Frances’s over-friendly neighbour George Hazelton, George’s sister and Frances’s friend witty lady Fiona, Reggie’s pain-in-the-bum brother and his ambitious wife, Frances’s sister Lily and Aunt Hettie, Lily’s possible-candidate-grooms! There are a lot of characters and plenty of mystery.
The mystery around what really happened to Reggie, and the problem of small burglaries are really pulled together nice and neat in the end. I loved the way it ended!
Everything made perfect sense in the end, and was very logical. There is always the problem of getting bored for me in cosy mysteries but the way this was written was so similar to shows such as Downton Abbey, and also Austen’s work -or rather their movie versions- the book really hold my attention.
Good Heavens, isn’t this the perfect summer read? Although very similar to books such as Murder Most Ladylike, I found this one better and more fun.
A chunky 4 stars!