I’m so happy to take part in the Historical Fiction Virtual Book tour of this fun Edwardian mystery: DEATH OF A DISHONORABLE GENTLEMAN by Tessa Arlen.
In this story, the lady of the manor, Lady Monfort, is having a summer ball and she’s enjoying all the planning that goes in to this yearly event. However, her husband’s nephew, Teddy, a slightly nefarious young man, is found dead, and the guests all become suspects. Unfortunately, Lady Monfort had heard her own beloved son arguing with Teddy shortly before his death. She is worried that suspicion will fall on him, so she joins forces with her housekeeper, Mrs. Jackson, to figure out who might be the killer.
I loved the fact that Lady Monfort didn’t do the sleuthing herself — as that would have been fairly impossible given the social conventions of her time. It was far more believable that her housekeeper was the one finding out facts. They always say that staff is “invisible” – though perhaps “inconspicuous” is a better term. I also loved that it was two women doing the work here, and not Lady Monfort relying on a relationship/friendship with the local constable, etc. to get the mystery solved (an oft-used device for mysteries). I also really enjoyed how Ms. Arlen included some of the social issues of the day in the plot: women’s suffrage, for instance, and the use and abuse of household staff.
I had been needing a “Downton” fix, and this book was a perfect read for me during December. That said, it is NOT a take on Downton Abbey in any way, but stands on its own merit. The second book in the series will be out next January (I’m available for the book blog tour – hint hint!).
Thank you for my review copy!
You can find this book at a local bookstore near you — I am an Indie Bound Affiliate:
Here is some info on Ms. Arlen from HFVBT:
TESSA ARLEN, the daughter of a British diplomat, had lived in or visited her parents in Singapore, Cairo, Berlin, the Persian Gulf, Beijing, Delhi and Warsaw by the time she was sixteen. She came to the U.S. in 1980 and worked as an H.R. recruiter for the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee for the 1984 Olympic Games, where she interviewed her future husband for a job. DEATH OF A DISHONORABLE GENTLEMAN is Tessa’s first novel. She lives in Bainbridge Island, Washington.