Death at the Manor by Katharine Schellman

Death at the Manor (Lily Adler Mystery, #3)Barbara’s rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Series: Lily Adler Mystery #3
Publication Date: 8/9/22
Period: Regency
Number of Pages: 352

This latest addition to the Lily Adler Mystery series is a bit of a departure from the first two books. There is supposed to be a bit of a gothic bent to the book, but that fell a little short for me. Gothics have an atmosphere to them that is built layer-by-layer – they make your spine tingle, and this certainly didn’t even come close to that. Lily is also missing her normal supporting characters and I felt their loss. One of the nice things about a series of books is the way the cast of characters works together book after book. They grow as a group and as individuals and we sorely missed that in this book. Two of the main supporting characters – Captain Jack, and Bow Street Runner Mr. Simon Page – are missing from the story except for some honorable mentions. It was good that Ofelia and Ned were there as I enjoyed their company and Ofelia and Lily work well together. Mr. Matthew Spencer, who we met in book 2, reappears as a ‘love’ interest for Lily.

Lily, along with her friends Sir Edward (Ned) and Lady Carroway (Ofelia), travel to visit Lily’s aunt Eliza and her companion Susan Clarke. Ned and Ofelia will spend a few days with Lily and her aunt and will then continue to their estate. Lily will stay with her aunt until her best friend’s husband, Lord Walter, arrives to convey Lily to his estate where his wife is anxiously awaiting Lily’s visit. As soon as they arrive at Aunt Eliza’s home, they hear of a neighbor whose home has been having visitations by a ghost. They, of course, simply must visit. That visit lands them smack-dab in the middle of a family crisis – the matriarch of the family has been murdered and they all believe the ghost did it. Who else could it have been since the room was locked – from the inside?

We meet all of the suspects early on, but the investigation into the motives and means wends forward at a steady pace. Lily and Ofelia work well together and their minds work in a very similar fashion, so I liked them working together. Still, I missed the supporting characters from the previous books and I think the story would have been much better had they been included. There are hints dropped throughout the book, but nothing is obvious. I had worked out the ‘how’ and was pretty sure of the ‘who’ before it was revealed, but none of it was just obvious.

All-in-all, it was a very good mystery and I enjoyed it. It was a bit slow-paced in places, but nothing too much. So, kudos for a good mystery. What I do not care for – and will not read – is anything with love triangles. Lily took a very big step in this book, but it wasn’t for the right reasons – certainly not for that period. Then, things were just left hanging and nothing was resolved. We still have Captain Jack and Matthew Spencer as love interests. I had hoped that would be quickly resolved, but apparently not. So, that leaves me to question whether I will read the next book or not – and the answer is, I just don’t know. Captain Jack is, by far, the more interesting character and is a better match for Lily while Matthew is more of a bland, take a back seat, kind of fellow I can only imagine she’d get tired of sooner or later. I guess I’ll know if I continue to read the series.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) 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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