Darcie Wilde: A Lady Compromised

This novel is reviewed by our occasional and gifted reviewer, Vicki Kondelik.  It will be available November 24.

A Lady Compromised is the fourth book in the Regency mystery series by Darcie Wilde (a pseudonym for Sarah Zettel) featuring Rosalind Thorne, a gentlewoman living in reduced circumstances after a family scandal.  To make a living for herself, Rosalind helps society ladies solve their problems, which, in this book and the others in the series, include murder investigation.  At the beginning of this book, Rosalind travels to Cassell House, the country estate of Devon Winterbourne, who has recently, and unexpectedly, inherited the title of Duke of Casselmaine following the untimely deaths of his father and older brother.  Rosalind and Devon had been close to becoming engaged before Rosalind’s father’s disgrace, at a time when Devon was a second son, with no prospects of inheriting the dukedom.  Now his cousin, Rosalind’s friend Louisa, is getting married, and Rosalind is looking forward to attending the wedding and possibly rekindling her romance with Devon. read more

A Bouquet of Historical Mysteries

To my mind, historical mysteries are some of the best mysteries being written at the moment.  They combine classic elements of detective fiction, unmarred by cell phones or computers, and combine it with fascinating time periods and characters.  These wonderful books are now all available to order on our website, along with many other historical mysteries (have a browse!) Kathleen Marple Kalb’s first novel came out this April, a difficult time for a first novel, with no bookstore events or conferences to attend.  I am not a fan of the cover art, but I am a huge fan of this charming debut.  My review ran in Mystery Scene, and you can read it here.   The main character, Ella Shane, is a “trouser diva”, an opera singer who sings men’s roles in 1899.  At the time, opera was a travelling proposition, as the Met was new.  If you enjoy books by C.S. Harris, Anna Lee Huber or Dianne Freeman, check this one out. read more

Dianne Freeman: A Lady’s Guide to Mischief and Murder

This delightful series continues to enchant.  The first book introduced the widowed Frances, Lady Harleigh, rich and on the loose in 1890’s London for the first time.  By this third installment, she’s engaged, is busy with her daughter, Rose, and is supervising the wedding plans for her sister Lily, who is inconveniently pregnant.

Frances is nothing if not practical, and she and her fiancée George quickly arrange for Lily to be married from George’s family seat while George’s brother is abroad. The wedding party is smallish, but for a house party – and a pool of murder suspects – plenty big enough.  Combining the classic British house party whodunnit with a lighter, funnier version of an historical cozy, Freeman is a deft hand with both narrative and character, and she keeps things percolating. read more

Darcie Wilde: And Dangerous to Know

This review comes to us courtesy of long time Aunt Agatha’s book club member and friend, Vicki Kondelik.  This novel will be published on December 31, 2019 and is available for pre-order.

And Dangerous to Know is the third in a series by Darcie Wilde (a pseudonym for Sarah Zettel) set in Regency England and featuring Rosalind Thorne, a gentlewoman living in reduced circumstances after her father abandoned his family because he was heavily in debt.  I have not read the previous two, but this book made me want to go back and read them.  It stands on its own very well, and I was able to gather all the information I needed about Rosalind’s background. read more

Annelise Ryan: Needled to Death

This book has a cozy look, but I wouldn’t say it’s a cozy. It’s kind of a half cozy, but if you shop by cover art, the cute dog isn’t going to quite give you the picture of what’s inside. I’m a fan of Ryan’s Mattie Winston series because of the complex characters and situations, and this book, the first in a “new” series, actually features a character introduced in the last Mattie Winston book, Hildy Schneider.

Hildy is a hospital social worker who leads a grief group. As the book opens, the group is meeting, and a new member to the group has lost her son to addiction, a sadly unremarkable story. What’s different is that the woman insists her son wasn’t involved with drugs and that he was murdered. The cops are skeptical and have closed the case – the young man was found with a needle hanging out of his arm, and after all, does a parent always know what their child is up to? read more

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

What does an American-born aristocrat do when she becomes a young widow? Why, introduce her heiress niece to London society, start playing match-maker for other young American heiresses, and solve murders, of course.

In this lighthearted second installment in the Countess of Harleigh series, Frances has a serious problem. When her cousin Charles decides it’s time to look for a wife, Frances introduces him to her acquaintance Mary Archer. The romance doesn’t work out and soon after Charles and Mary part company, Mary is found dead, and Frances is determined to keep Charles from being accused of murder. read more