A Sinister Establishment by Lynn Messina

A Sinister Establishment (Beatrice Hyde-Clare Mysteries, #6)Barbara’s rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Series: Beatrice Hyde-Clare #6
Publication Date: 6/16/20
Period: Regency London
Number of Pages: 360

This is my first book by this author. Though I’m starting the series with the 6th book, I don’t feel as if I need to go back and read the first five in order to gather the history of the relationship and the series. I love the banter and humor in this book, and I will definitely read more in the series, but I don’t think it is going to be one of those series where I wait with bated breath from one book to the next. It seems it is a nice, steady, evenly-paced book/series and I will enjoy reading the books whenever I get a chance.

I thought this book was a tad slow in a few places, but from the reviews I’ve read, that isn’t normal for this series. A sense of danger or impending tragedy was also missing from this book, and that is another thing that seems to be unusual from what other readers have had to say. I did absolutely LOVE the dry wit and banter – and you could tell they had been around each other for a good while because of the way they fell right into the banter and each immediately picked up on the other’s meaning and went right along with it. I did fail to understand the wedding attitudes – but perhaps that is because I had not read the previous books. Our couple get married at the beginning of the book, and they seemed to love each other, but there just didn’t seem to be any romance around it. They married, went to his house, had their wedding night, then he got up and began working the next morning and she got herself involved in solving a murder. Hopefully, I missed something by not reading the earlier books and it would have explained the wedding.

Much to everyone’s shock and dismay, Beatrice Hyde-Clare has just married Damien Matlock, the sixth Duke of Kesgrave. Of course, everyone is also sure she trapped him into the marriage because there is no way a nobody like Bea could have caused a prime catch like the duke to fall in love with her. Little do they know how much the two have in common and that it is a true love match. I would have liked it a smidge better if the duke had said or done something to assure that his servants understood it was truly a love match. I’m sure that will come with time though.

Bea knows the servants have little respect for her, an upstart nobody, and she’s going to do whatever she can to gain their respect. She especially wants to gain the regard of Marlow, the butler. If she can win his regard, the others will quickly follow. What to do? What to do? As she ponders that question, the answer drops right into her lap. It appears that the best, most famous cook in Europe, Monsieur Auguste Alphonse Rejane, has been murdered – right next door. She can solve the murder and gain the servant’s respect. Well – except – she’s sort of promised Kesgrave she’ll stop tripping over dead bodies and solving murders. Oops.

Bea invades the house next door and begins her investigation even though the home’s occupants are toadying sycophants who cannot wait to spread the word about their new acquaintance with the duchess. Kesgrave knows his wife and tracks her down only to be sucked into helping with the investigation. It seems the victim had a love-hate relationship with everyone in the home, so there are plenty of suspects. Usually, I know who the culprit is almost as soon as they grace the page, but that wasn’t the case this time. I did figure it out well before the end because all of the clues were there, but normally I would have solved it much earlier. So – good job author!

I can definitely recommend this book, but I did find it a bit slow-moving because it was more interviewing, talking, and rehashing information than it was action and adventure. I read the synopses of the other books in the series and it appears those books had lots of danger and action in them, so I’m not sure why this one didn’t. I’ll definitely be looking for another one to read to see how things progress. Happy Reading!

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Avid reader/reviewer of historical romance and historical mysteries.

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