Death In Kew Gardens by Jennifer Ashley

Death in Kew Gardens (Kat Holloway Mysteries, #3)Barbara’s rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: Kat Holloway Mysteries #3
Publication Date: 6/4/19
Number of Pages: 320

OMGoodness! This series just gets better and better! We have learned more and more about the supporting characters – the mysterious and enigmatic Daniel, James his son, quirky and fun Tess, Davis, the stuffy (not) butler, Lady Cynthia who chafes at having to dress and act as a woman is expected to, Daniel’s friend, the very intelligent scholar Thanos, Kat’s daughter Grace – and just maybe we’ve added a new regular – Mrs. Redfern as the new housekeeper. Together, they are quite a crew and you’ll love them all. We didn’t learn too much new about Daniel in this book, and that was a disappointment. I’m really anxious for the further development of the relationship between Daniel and Kat as well.

Kat Holloway is young for a cook, barely 30, but she is one of the best cooks in England. She is very careful about who she works for and has very, very specific requirements for her employment. Luckily, her employment for the last eight months has been in a household she enjoys and that accommodates her requirements. She’s happy there even if she and Mr. Davis have been splitting the duties of housekeeper since the last one left. This sets up a fun subplot for the book – and tells you a lot about the author’s abilities because I quickly learned to detest Mrs. Daly, the new housekeeper. My reaction to her was very strong and it takes a good author to evoke that sort of reaction from me. So, the sub-plot was a great addition to the story.

Just as an FYI, there is also a second sub-plot flowing around Lady Harkness – and that makes it sound like there is too much going on in the story, but that isn’t the case. The sub-plots fit into and add to the story rather than detract from it.

The main plot of the story revolves around the murder of the next door neighbor, Sir Jacob Harkness. He was a very wealthy man who had been granted a knighthood for services to the empire. He was an expert in all things Chinese and had lived there for many years before returning to England. His collection was eclectic and large. He collected what took his fancy rather than only what was valuable – but – he had many valuable things in his collection. When he was found in his bed, stabbed to death, and an open window in the drawing room, it was assumed that the robbery was the motive – if there was a robbery. Except – a Chinaman had been seen just outside the house . . . What could that mean?

Kat was hurrying to run some errands one day and wasn’t paying attention and plowed right into an older Chinese gentleman, knocking him to the ground. She apologized profusely and helped him up. They spoke briefly, introduced themselves, and she liked Mr. Li very well. Later, he turned up at the home where she worked and presented her with a lovely gift to thank her for her kindness.

When a witness places a Chinese gentleman near the victim’s house at the time of the murder, and Mr. Li is arrested, Kat has to stand up for him because she is convinced that he is not the guilty party. The investigation takes us through lies, deceit, another murder, a very valuable stolen item, and an unexpected villain. The author throws a lot of red herrings at you – and you may suspect who the perpetrator is, but you won’t know for sure until it is all wrapped up.

This book is part of a wonderful series, but it could be read as a stand-alone – although you would be missing (and possibly a bit confused) about some of the relationships and back-stories of various individuals. It would be my suggestion to read the series from the beginning – especially since this is only the third book.

I definitely recommend this well-written and interesting book. You’ll love the characters and puzzle over the mystery.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Avid reader/reviewer of historical romance and historical mysteries.

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