A Lady’s Guide to Gossip and Murder by Dianne Freeman

A Lady's Guide to Gossip and Murder (Countess of Harleigh, #2)Barbara’s rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Series: Countess of Harleigh Mystery #3
Publication Date: 6/25/19
Period: Victorian London
Number of Pages: 306 (Audiobook 8 Hrs)

I absolutely loved this series from the first book I read – which happens to have been book 3. I was excited to find both a wonderful new-to-me author and a charmingly witty cozy mystery series with likable and interesting characters – and even a delicious romance. I finished reading the books following the third one and now finishing this one brings me up-to-date with the series. I can definitely tell you that each and every book has been a wonderful, funny, interesting, mystery with dialogue and prose that make you feel as if you are right there in the scene with the characters.

Several years ago, young American-born heiress, Frances Wynn, was married to the profligate Earl of Harleigh. Her parents wanted a title and the Earl wanted her plentiful dowry. It seems everyone got something out of the match except Frances. Now, Reggie is deceased and Frances has more freedom than she’s ever known. She and her daughter, Rose, have left the earl’s estate to live in London and she’s found life there very interesting. Her next-door neighbor, George Hazelton is proving to be quite interesting as well.

Frances has just learned that a friend, Mary, has died – actually, she was murdered – and Frances’s cousin, Charles, is under suspicion. Charles is the only one of her in-laws that she finds even remotely tolerable, so she surely doesn’t want to see him accused of murder. Her next-door neighbor, George, does work for the government on occasion and it seems he is involved in some aspects of this case – so – naturally – they team up to solve the murder and save Charles.

Goodness, what a tangled web they uncover. Blackmail? Maybe – or maybe not. Untangling all the threads in the web will be even harder with all of the intrigue and red herrings that are thrown into the mix.

While working hard to solve the mystery, Frances also has to deal with her younger sister’s betrothal. Frances worries that her sister is marrying too young and keeps comparing that situation to her own. She definitely doesn’t want her sister to be in the same situation Frances was in with Reggie. Then, there is also her budding romance with George.

I listened to the audiobook narrated by Sarah Zimmerman and she did a lovely job. She has a pleasant voice and delivers an excellently paced narrative. Her characters are distinct and the best thing is, you can hear the good-natured humor in her voice as you navigate through the book. Excellently done.

I thoroughly enjoyed watching Frances and George navigate the societal strictures of the ton while managing to elicit the clues needed to solve the murder. The villain may surprise you – or not – but all the tangled webs will definitely keep your attention. I hope you’ll read the book to see just how engaging the characters are and how well-plotted and well-paced the mystery is.

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Avid reader/reviewer of historical romance and historical mysteries.

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