A Merry Murder by Kate Kingsbury

I found this little gem on Net Galley — I was not familiar with this series of cozy mysteries set in an Edwardian hotel — and it was a delightful read! It was just what I needed to start thinking about the holidays (though the mystery was the main part of the story, not the holidays).

I will look for more by Ms. Kingsbury! Thank you for my copy!


It is an Edwardian Christmas, and the Pennyfoot Hotel is all dressed up. But when one of the guests turns up dead, owner Cecily Sinclair Baxter realizes it is not only the Pennyfoot that is back in business—the hotel’s Christmas curse is, too…

The Pennyfoot halls are decked with boughs of holly, a magnificently decorated tree graces the lobby, and the hotel’s bookings are finally looking up. Owner of the Pennyfoot, Cecily Sinclair Baxter is in high holiday spirits until disaster strikes, threatening to ruin yet another Yuletide. Her chief housemaid Gertie McBride has found a man’s body in the hotel laundry room—with a woman’s scarf wrapped around his neck and a note in his pocket from the hotel’s new maid.

Cecily is determined to track down the culprit, but with multiple suspects icing her out of crucial clues, she realizes this killer may be more slippery than most. With Christmas right around the corner, it is up to Cecily to prevent this holiday season at the Pennyfoot from turning out more fatal than festive.


04_Death Sits Down to Dinner_Blog Tour Banner_FINAL.png

I’m thrilled to be part of the tour for Tessa Arlen’s new mystery: DEATH SITS DOWN TO DINNER. I really enjoyed her DEATH OF A DISHONORABLE GENTLEMAN, which I also reviewed for Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours:  My Review

Here’s the overview:

02_Death Sits Down to Dinner

Death Sits Down to Dinner (Lady Montfort Mystery #2)
by Tessa Arlen

Publication Date: March 29, 2016
Minotaur Books
Hardcover & Ebook; 320 Pages

Genre: Historical Mystery

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Filled with deceptions both real and imagined, Death Sits Down to Dinner is a delightful Edwardian mystery set in London.

Lady Montfort is thrilled to receive an invitation to a dinner party hosted by her close friend Hermione Kingsley, the patroness of England’s largest charity. Hermione has pulled together a select gathering to celebrate Winston Churchill’s 39th birthday. Some of the oldest families in the country have gathered to toast the dangerously ambitious and utterly charming First Lord of the Admiralty. But when the dinner ends, one of the gentlemen remains seated at the table, head down among the walnut shells littering the cloth and a knife between his ribs.

Summoned from Iyntwood, Mrs. Jackson helps her mistress trace the steps of suspects both upstairs and downstairs as Hermione’s household prepares to host a highly anticipated charity event. Determined to get to the bottom of things, Lady Montfort and Mrs. Jackson unravel the web of secrecy surrounding the bright whirlwind of London society, investigating the rich, well-connected and seeming do-gooders in a race against time to stop the murderer from striking again.


Advance Praise

“Despite Clementine’s luxurious lifestyle, she’s got a head on her shoulders . . .and is as cagey as she is charming. A neatly crafted whodunit dripping with diamonds, titles and scandal . . .” -Kirkus Reviews

“The close, mutually respectful partnership between Clementine and Edith will remind Dorothy Sayers’s fans of the relationship between Lord Peter Wimsey and Bunter, his manservant. Arlen does a good job of depicting a period when class distinctions have become blurred by new money and more-relaxed manners. The plot, which includes a slew of red herrings, builds to a startling denouement.” -Publisher’s Weekly

“VERDICT Real-life Edwardian personalities abound in this period historical, and the upstairs/downstairs focus delivers a clash of temperaments. This title is bound to appeal to fans of historicals set in this period and of such authors as Rhys Bowen and Ashley Weaver.” -Library Journal

About the Author

03_Tessa Arlen

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.

For more information please visit Tessa Arlen’s website. Read Tessa Arlen’s blog atRedoubtable Edwardians. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, andGoodreads.

Subscribe to Tessa Arlen’s Newsletter.


Here I am!

I love Ms. Arlen’s characters of Lady Montfort and Mrs. Jackson, and I love the cleverness of the plots of her books. The Edwardian period is a favorite of mine, and she has great attention to detail. I have to say that I had little bit of trouble keeping all the characters straight for the first 50 pages of the book. Thankfully there is a “cast of characters” available at the start of the novel!

If you like cozies, Edwardian “Downton type” themes, and fun female characters, along with a clever plot, then pick up a copy of one of Tessa’s books (or even pick up them all!).

Thank you for my review copy and for making me part of the tour!

Discover a New Blog via the Blog Tour Schedule!

Monday, March 28
Review at Laura’s Interests
Interview at Books and Benches

Tuesday, March 29
Review at A Book Geek
Interview at Historical Fiction Addicts

Wednesday, March 30
Interview at AustenProse

Thursday, March 31
Review at Buried Under Books
Spotlight & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More

Friday, April 1
Review at Reading Is My SuperPower

Monday, April 4
Review at Reading the Past
Spotlight at Seize the Words: Books in Review

Tuesday, April 5
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Wednesday, April 6
Review at Luxury Reading

Thursday, April 7
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Friday, April 8
Review at A Holland Reads

Monday, April 11
Review at The Absurd Book Nerd

Tuesday, April 12
Interview at The Absurd Book Nerd

Wednesday, April 13
Review at Room With Books

Thursday, April 14
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation

Friday, April 15
Review at Jorie Loves a Story

Monday, April 18
Review at Beth’s Book Nook Blog

Tuesday, April 19
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews

Wednesday, April 20
Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective

Thursday, April 21
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Friday, April 22
Spotlight at Let Them Read Books

Monday, April 25
Review & Giveaway at Brooke Blogs

Tuesday, April 26
Review at Book Nerd

Wednesday, April 27
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Friday, April 29
Review at To Read, Or Not to Read


Review: “The Forgotten Garden” by Kate Morton

I’ve been on a Kate Morton kick lately, started by “The Secret Keeper”. I also loved “The House at Riverton”, but had some problems getting through “The Distant Hours” (I found it too gothic and too much like “The House at Riverton”). Friends had suggested “The Forgotten Garden”, but it was always out at the library. I finally broke down and purchased it for my kindle. I think this may be my favorite of her books.

Similar to her other books, “The Forgotten Garden” moves back and forth in time as we learn the story of Nell, a little girl found on the Brisbane docks by a dock worker and taken home as raised as one of his own. Nell is much beloved by her family, but her father feels he must tell her the truth on her twenty-first birthday: she is not their biological child and she most probably has family in England. Nell is crushed by this news and becomes determined to figure out where she is from and how she ended up on a ship going to Australia. She has vague memories of being taken there as part of a game by “the authoress”, and waiting for her or her mother or father to return for her, but no one did. She also has distant memories of playing in a garden maze and going through to a little cottage where “the authoress” lived.  Nell starts to piece together the story of her life, and travels to England to see where she is from and to see what she can learn. However, she unexpectantly “inherits” her granddaughter, and her plans are put on hold. Eventually, time passes and Nell does not return to England; her granddaughter, Cassandra, grows up, and Nell decides, as she is dying, to tell Cassandra her secret so that she can figure out the rest of the story. Cassandra then travels to England to figure out the mystery of who her grandmother really was.

I loved reading this story, which switched viewpoint and time period often. At points we were with Nell in the 70’s. Some times we were in present day. Some times it was a young girl, Eliza’s, story from the turn of the century – or Eliza’s story when she was living at the manor in 1910. As the book progressed,though, the viewpoints and storylines converged into one, and at the end, all the questions were answered. Of course a forgotten garden plays a large role here – complete with all that symbolizes!

Highly recommended!

Review: “The House at Riverton” by Kate Morton

I enjoyed Kate Morton’s “The Secret Keeper” so much I ordered “The House at Riverton” as a treat for myself from Amazon.

In current day, a young film maker approaches elderly Grace Bradley to interview her about Riverton House, where she went out to service at the age of fourteen. The book, which is told in flashback, follows Grace as she becomes close to the children of the house (who are about her age), particularly the two daughters, Hannah and Emmeline. These are the years leading up to WWI and the world of the English aristocracy is about to change. Throughout the war and into the 1920’s, more changes come to society and to the family, who is rocked by their beloved son’s death. Then in 1924, a startling death occurs during a party at Riverton, and Grace holds the secret to what happened that fateful night – a secret she keeps for years.

As she is interviewed,  a Pandora’s Box of emotions and memories opens for Grace, now in her nineties. Will secrets remain secret? What exactly did happen that summer night?

Read it to find out!

I loved this book, which weighed in at 473 pages. I could scarcely believe it was that long as I read it quickly and it never dragged. I didn’t want it to end. I’m also a HUGE Downton Abbey fan, and this book fed right into my passion!