Ask Me No Questions is an excellent start to a new gilded age female amateur detective series.
Philomena Amesbury, Lady Dunbridge, has finally finished the obligatory 18-month mourning period for her husband. The Earl of Dunbridge, was, by all accounts, not a very good husband. Deciding that staying in England as a 26-year-old Dowager Countess doesn’t appeal, she escapes to America. With only her aging butler, Preswick, and Lily, a stowaway she decided to make her ladies’ maid, she arrives in New York City. Philomena sees her childhood friend, Bev, walking toward the gangway to greet her. Before Philomena can reach her, Bev rushes back to her car and finds her husband shot dead. Worse, he is lying in the lap of his mistress. When the police suspect Bev, Philomena decides to try to find the real murderer.
The setting of early 20th century New York is so well described that the reader is transported to a different time. The use of the language of the time period (like thimblerig and cortege) added to the authenticity. Philomena is an exuberant heroine who seems to be both of the time period but also more modern in her thinking. Both Preswick and Lily prove to be excellent sidekicks. The mystery was excellent. I didn’t guess the murderer though looking back there were plenty of clues carefully hidden in the story.
Ask Me No Questions is the first Lady Dunbridge Mystery and I can’t wait for the next. If you like Sherlock Holmes type mysteries with a dash of American spunk, you will love this new series. 4 stars!
Thanks to Forge Books and NetGalley for an advance copy.
Posted in Mystery & Thrillers, New Books Tagged with: amateur detective, gilded age, Oct 16 2018
What Butterfly Conspiracy results in a woman’s death after a rare butterfly lands on her arm?
Merula is left by her mother at her family’s house as a baby five years after her mother’s escape from the rigid Victorian house’s rules. Luckily, Merula’s fascination with butterflies is supported by her Uncle Rupert.
In those sexist times, Merula’s rare butterfly, Attacus Atlas, must be displayed at a house party by the Royal Zoological Society as her Uncle’s work. When rich Lady Sophia drops dead after handling the rare butterfly, Uncle Rupert is arrested for murder. Merula is helped to escape the house party by Lord Raven Royston known for the public failure of his investments. The two search for the real how and why of Lady Sophia’s death while trying to stay one step before the police. The characters they meet are a treat.
Set in the same world as the Veronica Speedwell series, I enjoyed the self-effacing Merula’s world much better. The Butterfly Conspiracy is completely G rated which is more appropriate for the setting. Plus the mystery and the subtle romantic feeling between Merula and Royston seem more organic. I loved the twists leading up to the conclusion. I can’t wait for the next book in the Merriweather and Royston series.
This book is recommended for Veronica Speedwell fans as well as historical fiction fans that enjoy a good mystery or vice versa. 4 stars!
Thanks to Crooked Lane Books and NetGalley for an advanced copy.
Posted in Historical Fiction, Mystery & Thrillers Tagged with: amateur detective, Aug 7 2018, Victorian