Historical Mystery

A Lady’s Guide to Passion and Property by Kate Moore

A Lady's Guide to Passion and Property (Husband Hunters, #2)A Lady’s Guide to Passion and Property by Kate Moore
Tracy’s rating: 3.5/4 of 5 stars

Series: Husband Hunters, #2

Release Date: July 3, 2018

Lucy Holbrook has inherited the Tooth and Nail inn from her father as well as the responsibility of Adam, an old blind man that has been at the inn for as long as Lucy can remember. Adam was injured years ago and taken in by her father, Adam is mentally disabled and suffered an horrific event, one that her father took great pains to keep secret. Now that Lucy has inherited the inn, her friends from London think she should find a husband, they offer to bring her to town and sponsor her for a season. But Lucy is not sure she wants a husband and can’t leave Adam or the inn. They leave her a copy of the Husband Hunter’s Guide and encourage her to reconsider.

Captain Harry Clare has been staying at the inn since the Pantheon Club closed, he needs to finish his final case and reap his reward. Harry is sure that Adam is the man he has been tasked in finding – a blind man who witnessed a murder. Harry is sure that if he can unlock Adam’s secrets, he will find the person responsible for leaking information to England’s enemies and will finally finish his mission, get his promised reward, save his family home and get the Pantheon club re-opened. But first he has to get Lucy to trust him enough to leave Adam and go to London. Simple, right?

This is a complex story with lots of secrets, surprises and twists. I felt that it would more accurately be described as an historical intrigue novel rather than an historical romance – the romance in this book is VERY light and subtle – I have no idea how Harry and Lucy fell in love as their relationship really it wasn’t the primary focus of the book. But there is a really great mystery to solve and a lot of surprising revelations made. There are cameos from characters in the previous book that tie up some loose ends and the introduction of a new character that will make you want to read the next book!

*I am voluntarily leaving a review of an eARC that was provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher*

Murder in St. Giles: A Regency Mystery by Ashley Gardner

Murder in St. Giles: A Regency Mystery (Captain Lacey Regency Mysteries Book 13)Murder in St. Giles: A Regency Mystery by Ashley Gardner

Barbara’s rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: Captain Lacey Mysteries #13
Publication Date: 4/10/18

Oh! How I wish I could fly back through time and meet Captain Lacey, Donata, Brewster, Mr. Denis, Em, Bartholomew, Peter, Gabriella, Anna, Marianne, and Grenville. The times are so interesting, the characters just scream out that they want to be your friend and the mystery is – well – so very mysterious. Then add in Donata’s nasty cousins along with Gabriella’s shocker and you have a fast-paced, cannot-put-down book.

Captain Gabriel Lacey is having a very bad day indeed! To begin, Stanton, a cousin of Donata’s deceased first husband barges into their home and announces that he is going to take custody of Donata’s son, Peter. Then, after Lacey gets rid of Stanton, but before he can console Donata, Brewster arrives and demands that Lacey go with him to St. Giles where there has been a murder.

Throughout the whole book, Lacey is juggling the murder investigation and thwarting Stanton. Luckily, Donata is a resourceful woman and handles much of the planning for Peter’s safety herself. Lacey uncovers a vile and corrupt peer as well as a sea captain that subverts the justice system while he is investigating. How much more can one man get into at one time?

Who killed Jack Finch? Finch was a huge man, a former pugilist and he had been beaten – badly. But, how was he even in London? He’d been convicted of a crime and transported. Did Brewster kill him? Did a former partner in crime get to him? Was it a former victim – he was a blackmailer and a thief, so it could have been anybody. Usually in a crime, there are few suspects and they all appear innocent – in this case, there are many, many suspects and they all appear guilty. Add in embezzlement from the Bank of England and you have a real mind boggler. When the murderer is identified you will be absolutely shocked.

Amid all the pandemonium Lacey’s daughter, Gabriella arrives for the start of her season. She doesn’t want a season or to choose a groom from among the suitors, but she doesn’t want to disappoint Donata and her father. However, all goes well – until there is a proposal. Oh! What chaos!

Luckily, Mr. Denis, a master criminal, is there to lend a hand and to suck Lacey further into his debt. Lacey will pay any price to keep Peter and Donata safe and happy. I know Mr. Denis is supposed to be this really bad guy – and he is – but – I sort of like him.

I highly recommend this well-written, highly entertaining book!

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“I requested and received this e-book at no cost to me and volunteered to read it; my review is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.”

Twenty-One Days by Anne Perry

Twenty-One Days (Daniel Pitt, #1)Twenty-One Days by Anne Perry

Barbara’s rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: Daniel Pitt #1
Publication Date: 4/10/18

I can hardly begin to tell you how excited I am about this new series – and I almost missed it! It takes place in a later time period than I normally read, so I almost passed it by. However, it is by an author whose writing I enjoy and it featured the son, Daniel, of the lead characters, Charlotte and Thomas Pitt, in another series that I really enjoy – so I decided to give it a try. The writing is great, the plot is excellent and I came to really like and appreciate the characters. I couldn’t tell for sure which characters would be recurring in the series, nor could I decide if I thought there would be a romance between Daniel and Miriam – since she is almost his mother’s age. It will be a delight to find out what is going to happen next!

Daniel Pitt, twenty-five years of age, is a newly minted lawyer with a degree from Cambridge. 1910 is an exciting time in which to live. Women are beginning to be more and more insistent about their rights and the field of forensic science is in its infancy. They are able to identify an individual by their fingerprints, bullets can be matched, they can tell human blood from animal and x-rays have been invented. Daniel grew up learning about honesty, honor, and integrity from both his father and his mother. His father, Thomas Pitt started out as a Bow Street Runner and moved on to the newly formed police force and he is now knighted and is the head of the Special Branch. I have read and loved the Charlotte and Thomas Pitt series and can highly recommend it as a series.

Daniel has just wrapped up a really tricky murder case when he’s ordered to another courtroom to assist another lawyer, Kitteridge, in yet another murder trial. This one isn’t going well and neither lawyer really believes that the defendant is innocent. They think that, in a stretch, he could be, but they aren’t convinced of it. Besides, the defendant is a total jerk and nobody, including the lawyers, likes him. When he is convicted and sentenced to hang, they aren’t surprised. They have twenty-one days to find a reason to appeal the verdict and keep him from being hanged.

As Daniel investigates and makes more and more discoveries, he becomes convinced that Graves is really innocent. However, he has no idea how to prove it. He believes that his only option is to find out who the real murderer is and his investigation leads to some real soul searching on Daniel’s part. The client is a writer and he is writing an expose that could ruin his father. It isn’t true, but can Daniel prove that?

It was a really great read and there wasn’t a dull moment in it. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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“I requested and received this e-book at no cost to me and volunteered to read it; my review is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.”

Why Kill The Innocent by C.S. Harris

WhyKillTheInnocentWhy Kill the Innocent by C.S. Harris

Barbara’s rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: Sebastian St. Cyr #13
Publication Date: 4/3/18

I anxiously await each new release in this series and can hardly wait to start reading. Then, I am bereft when it ends. I always think that I’ll pace myself, read slower, enjoy longer, but, I always find myself flying through because I can’t wait to see what happens next. This book falls right into that mold. I really wish this author could write as quickly as I read! I love the characters, of course, but I also love the accuracy of the history that the author weaves into the stories – and she always includes our characters meeting one real historical character – this one included the widower of Mary Wollstonecraft. Harris’ command of the English language is unparalleled – I learned several new vocabulary words. She used one word, ‘broquins’ that I can’t even find in any of the dictionaries but I remember my grandmother using it when referring to a particular type of shoe. The online dictionaries keep showing me the definition of ‘bruins’ – say what.

I love the way this author writes, her research is impeccable and her character development is superb. This book concentrated more on the mystery than on any new developments in the relationship between Sebastian and his father (Hendon) or any real hints of what is happening between Hero’s father and her cousin. There were some hints of what might be coming – a new hint surfaced about Sebastian’s natural father. There was somewhat less life-threatening excitement in this book than in the others – one small scene for each that was very quickly resolved. I’m still anxious to see whether Hero’s father (or her cousin – or both) had a hand in the death of Hero’s mother – she was ill, but maybe they helped her along a bit . . . .

Hero and her friend Alexi Sauvage traveled to Clerkenwell in a raging snowstorm during one of the worst winters in English history. Hero was researching a story on the families left behind when the men were impressed into the English military. While they were there, the woman went into labor and Alexi and Hero stayed to deliver the baby. As they headed back to the carriage, it was long past dark, the snow was blowing and the wind was howling when Hero tripped, pitched forward and landed in a deep snow drift. She froze in place as she realized she had landed on a body. When they turned the rapidly freezing body, they realized two things. First, it was a woman who had been murdered and second, Hero knew who she was.

As Hero and Sebastian investigate, there are clues and suspects everywhere – not to mention the palace intrigues and interference from Hero’s father, Jarvis as well as international intrigue. How could one sweet, gentle, caring and sad young piano teacher have so much happen to her and then end up murdered? There are so many possibilities, so many suspects and it takes a lot of effort to unravel it all – especially when more bodies start to turn up. Can they solve it before one of them becomes a victim? You’ll just have to read this exciting new entry in the series to find out.

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“I requested and received this e-book at no cost to me and volunteered to read it; my review is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.”

Murder at Half Moon Gate by Andrea Penrose

Murder at Half Moon Gate (A Wrexford & Sloane Mystery #2)Murder at Half Moon Gate by Andrea Penrose

Barbara’s rating: 5 of 5 stars (I’d give it more if I could)

Series: Wrexford and Sloane #2
Publication Date: 3/27/18

Penrose’s second book in the Wrexford and Sloane series provides intriguing insights into the main characters pasts and their relationship as well as a mystery that will keep you guessing right up to the very end. The book is fast-paced and very well written. It can certainly be read as a stand-alone book, but you’ll miss all of those formative interactions among all of the characters and their relationships with each other. I’ve now read both books in the series and they are both outstanding!

The Regency period sees the very early beginning and the burgeoning of social and technological changes within England. Science and technological innovation were changing the way people lived and worked. Social order was beginning to change as well and was constantly challenged by satirical cartoonists who were actually quite powerful in molding public opinion. I think that the fact that our author chose Sloane as a very gifted and influential satirical cartoonist and Wrexford as an earl who is a gifted scientist is a big part of what makes this series very appealing to me. The characters are wonderful, fully-developed, humorous, brave and intelligent and when you add in an excellent dose of great history and an excellent mystery, you just can’t go wrong.

Wrexford is a bored, pragmatic, cynical, emotionless man who is also a gifted scientist. He governs his life by scientific principles. No emotions, only empirical evidence, and the step-by-step scientific process need apply! That is – unless Charlotte is involved and then – well maybe it is a little harder to be pragmatic and emotionless.

Charlotte Sloane has secrets – many secrets. Wrexford knows some of her secrets, but not all of them. One of Charlotte’s secrets is that she is the political satirist known as A. J. Quill. It is very important that she keep that secret, though Wrexford knows it, because it is how she earns her living. Were it to become known that A. J. Quill was a woman, nobody would publish her work and she would starve. Charlotte also has a large network of street urchins (boys and girls) as well as other important contacts that keep her up-to-date on what is going on. She always seems to be one step ahead of everyone else when it comes to her cartoons. Charlotte is also a pragmatic lady who always strives to control her emotions.

The prologue begins with a heart-pumping chase through the worst part of London. A thick mist from the river is covering the area and the wind is howling (I love the word the author used – skirled – isn’t that perfect it). Our victim is new to London and is hopelessly lost – and finally – he is brutally attacked and killed. Elihu Anthony is an inventor who is on the cusp of patenting a brilliant ground-breaking new technology that will increase the power of steam engines. The patent is worth a fortune for whoever manages to file for it first. Now – what will happen to the patent? Is it the Luddites who are trying to prevent the patent? Is it a greedy investor? Is it family?

Wrexford and his friend Christopher Sheffield are returning home from a gaming hell and take a route through the more unsavory parts of town and discover a lifeless and mutilated body at Half Moon Gate. Not only is the body mutilated, but his clothes are cut and ripped at the seams. Wrexford and Sheffield notify Bow Street, give their account and then go on home. Later, Wrexford is visited by Isobel, the wife of Mr. Anthony and she asks him to solve the case because Bow Street isn’t taking it seriously. That sets us off on a chase that leads to places and events you wouldn’t imagine. There are so many suspects and all of them are very viable – but you won’t guess who the real culprit is until almost the very end (unless you peek).

Raven and Hawk are featured again in this book and they are delightful. They are the street urchins that Charlotte taken into her life and is trying to encourage them to actually live with her and give up their street ways. They are leery of doing that, but she’s winning them over.

Click on the title to see my review of the first book – Murder on Black Swan Lane.

Please check out my reviews at:
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“I requested and received this e-book at no cost to me and volunteered to read it; my review is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.”

Death of an Unsung Hero by Tessa Arlen

Death of an Unsung Hero (Lady Montfort Mystery #4)Death of an Unsung Hero by Tessa Arlen

Barbara’s rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: Lady Montford Mystery #4
Publication Date: 3/13/18

Well, their carefully guarded secret is out. Lady Montford and Mrs. Jackson solve mysteries, and they are very good at it! Everyone knows and smiles about it, but our erstwhile investigators aren’t aware that everyone knows. So, it is entertaining to see their reactions throughout the book when one person or another mentions their penchant for solving mysteries.

This book is just exactly what I’ve been wanting in the series, a glimpse of Lady Montford’s family – especially her husband. He’s been a shadow figure in the previous books and we had learned that he was tolerant of her investigations, etc. but we really didn’t know him. I was delighted to meet him and came to admire him greatly. He is every inch the gentleman, loves his family, loves his country, loves his wife and supports her in every way. I love their relationship. So, thank you, Ms. Arlen, for providing this view of Lord and Lady Montford and their children.

This story begins about two years after the last book ended – we are well into World War I. England’s citizens have geared up and patriotism is at an all-time high. Everybody is contributing – all of the horses have been conscripted and are serving on the continent just as the men are. At home, everyone’s attention is on growing food to feed the army and producing munitions and other items that are needed. Everyone pitches in, even the aristocracy. Not only is the son and heir to the Montford title serving as a pilot in the RAF (though he is home injured at the moment), the daughter is serving with the Women’s Land Army, and the parents have started a hospital, Haversham Hall Hospital, for the treatment of those who have been shell-shocked.

I love the history in the book, especially about the budding science of psychiatry for helping the shell-shocked victims of the war. All too often, those suffering from shell-shock were further tortured with electro-therapy and other ways of quickly getting them ‘well’ and back to the battlefield. The doctor’s at Haversham Hall Hospital used both talk therapy and a type of ergo therapy – which is basically performing everyday tasks – like farming, harvesting, gardening to help them work through their issues.

Lady Montford and Mrs. Jackson are a formidable team when it comes to investigating crimes. They are so different, you would think that they’d never get along – but they are more friends than employer/employee. Lady Montford is more of an intuitive thinker and Mrs. Jackson is more of a logical step-by-step thinker. Their strengths play off each other and they soon solve whatever crime is at hand.

All crime stories require a victim, but I just hate that the victim required for this story was Captain Sir Evelyn Bray. It seems he had found himself during the war. He’d been a bit of a profligate before, but his bravery and leadership shone once he joined the military. He suffered a great injury during the Battle of Beauville Wood while he was trying to save the remaining men in his troops. When he awoke, he had no memory of who he was or what had happened. He was then sent to the Haversham Hall Hospital to see if Major Andrews could help him with his groundbreaking therapies. After only a few weeks, he was beginning to get his memory back. Then, he was murdered.

There are suspects aplenty in this mystery and you don’t want it to be any of those walking wounded at the hospital. Could it be someone on the staff? What about those individuals in the neighborhood who think the patients at the hospital are cowards who are shirking their duty rather than going back into battle where they belong. It is a twisted tale and you begin to wonder how in the world anyone will find the solution – but they do.

I can certainly recommend this book. I love the characters and plot. From early on, I had a good idea of who the culprit was and was anxious to see if I was right and if I was, to see how they did it.

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“I requested and received this e-book at no cost to me and volunteered to read it; my review is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.”

A Brush with Shadows by Anna Lee Huber

A Brush with Shadows (Lady Darby Mystery #6)A Brush with Shadows by Anna Lee Huber

Barbara’s rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: Lady Darby Mystery #6
Publication Date: 3/6/18

Fifteen years ago, at the age of eighteen, Sebastian Gage walked away from Langstone Manor and swore he’d never return. Now, it is in view, as cold and brooding as the moors on which it sits. Every nerve in Sebastian’s body is singing and the tension in the coach is palpable. He certainly didn’t want to return, but here he is, all because his grandfather sent him a missive asking him to come and investigate his cousin’s disappearance. He almost didn’t come and probably wouldn’t have if Kiera hadn’t persuaded him to do so. He and Kiera are tired to the bone because they have traveled from Ireland as quickly as possible. Kiera knows that Sebastian’s life here was not a happy one, but, since he won’t talk about it, she has no idea what that life was really like.

Upon arrival, they are received very coldly by Sebastian’s aunt – the servants didn’t even know they were coming – nor did his aunt. Then, Sebastian learns that not only is his cousin missing, his grandfather is also at death’s door. Had my aunt and cousins treated me the same way Sebastian’s did, I wouldn’t be at all interested in spending my time in a very hostile environment to try to find one of them. However, Sebastian is a very good man and will do what he can to help the family that abused him and his mother.

Albert, Sebastian’s older cousin and heir to Sebastian’s grandfather’s title, walked out onto the moors one day and nobody has seen him since. Not a single trace of him is anywhere to be found. Then, Albert’s brother Rory goes missing as well – and in the same manner. Where could they be? How could they just disappear without a trace? Kiera and Gage are having a really hard time with this investigation because the house is filled with secrets and nobody – even Sebastian’s grandfather – is telling them what they need to know. They are doing all of that while trying to protect themselves as well because they have also been attacked.

I know every murder mystery has to have a victim, but I really didn’t want it to be this one. I came to like this victim more and more as I read more of the book. The villain is a surprise to the reader and to Gage and Kiera. I am so glad we got to know more of Gage’s early life and that there are some reconciliations. I’m also looking forward to their next case in London and to hopefully see Lord Gage (Sebastian’s father) get a bit of a comeuppance.

As always, Huber’s writing is excellent, the story is well plotted and executed, and the characters are fully-developed and engaging. The descriptions of the moors set the mood and immerse the reader in that place and time. You can just feel the fog creeping up around you and surrounding you until you cannot see – and the fear – can you find your way, can you avoid the bogs. Oh! My!

Please check out my reviews at:
Blog: https://flippinpages.blog/
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Twitter: https://twitter.com/FlippinPagesRev
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BarbBookReview

“I requested and received this e-book at no cost to me and volunteered to read it; my review is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.”

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