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A Lady's Guide to Etiquette and Murder (A Countess of Harleigh Mystery) Hardcover – June 26, 2018
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A Lady’s Guide to Etiquette and Murder
“Dazzling. . . . Fans of witty, lighthearted Victorian mysteries will be enthralled.”
—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
“A delightful tale of shenanigans among the British aristocracy. Lady Frances feels very
real—not too smart and spunky but no shrinking violet either.”
—Rhys Bowen, New York Times bestselling author
“This lighthearted debut tale of mystery, love, and a delightful sleuth will leave you wanting more—which is presumably just what Freeman had in mind.”
“A mystery that’s witty and fun, with just the right amount of danger and romance to keep you turning pages.”
—Alyssa Maxwell, author of A Devious Death
“This debut is engaging to the end.”
“A fantastic blend of history, mystery and humor. I did not want to put it down. Perfect for fans of Agatha Christie and Georgette Heyer.”
—Darcie Wilde, National bestselling author of A Useful Woman and A Purely Private Matter
“Fans of Georgette Heyer will appreciate the hints of romance, while aficionados of Deanna Raybourn or D.M. Quincy will delight in the banter-filled dialog and period details.”
—Library Journal, Starred Review
About the Author
- Publisher : Kensington (June 26, 2018)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 272 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1496716876
- ISBN-13 : 978-1496716873
- Item Weight : 12.8 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.8 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #152,451 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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This start to a new series by Dianne Freeman doesn't add anything special or unique to the genre. The heroine is a widowed countess, one of those American heiresses whose families bought their way into the British peerage at the end of the 19th century. Men with titles but no money looked across the Pond for rich wives to maintain their lifestyle.
Frances Wynn, our heroine, knew her marriage wasn't a great love story but she didn't expect her husband Reggie to be quite the horrid philanderer he turned out to be. After seven years of marriage, he dies unexpectedly and she's free to take her young daughter and move on her own to a London townhouse.
But trouble follows her. Her in-laws are causing problems, someone is sending anonymous notes to the police accusing her of murdering her husband, and there's a jewel thief running around stealing from the upper class at their gatherings. So we read the book to find out if any or all of these issues are related.
And the romance? Well, our heroine has a lovely friend who has a handsome bachelor brother who just happens to live next door to the townhouse rented by the heroine. He turns out to be a very helpful kind of guy. The romance is low key. There's just hinting at it and we are, I imagine, supposed to keep on reading the books of the series to see how serious the relationship will become.
As for the mystery itself and the quality of the writing, it's not the worst I've read but it is very, very average. I'm not impressed by the characters and found the dialogue to be pretty run-of-the-mill. Not much sparkle to speak of. And the mystery was not developed in a way to create even a scintilla of suspense.
I got this first book of the series when it was offered at a bargain price. I see that now it has gone back to its original price and the second book of the series will be coming out at that price also. I won't be buying it. Too costly for a mediocre book.
The woman is typical of her time: over-refined, ignorant of anything outside her rarified genteel sphere, prone to impetuous actions and hasty decisions. Worse, she even talks the hero-to-be into taking unnecessary risks. There is no 'adventurousness' to be found in here, unless you think making uninformed decisions is to be admired.
She does very little detecting, showing no more talent for it than for keeping her debutante sister away from a murderer. The dialogue is as leaden and trite as the characters are shallow and cliched.
Her husband's family is tiresome. Her own family veers between dysfunctional and carefree (that American individualism, y'know). This is a character who needs that strong supporting cast, to tell her to stop and think about what she's about to do. She's oblivious to many things which others have to point out to her as obvious.
It's a mystery only if you want to count how many times she forgets, ignores, or bumbles around making excuses for why An Important Clue really, truly, isn't. Because, well...it's just unthinkable.
Now, let me say that I like the Lady Julia Grey series. I enjoy the Lady Arianna Hadley series. I adore the Miss Beatrice Hyde-Clare series.
But this? It's a mess. Call it the George Hazelton mystery series, because he’s the one who guides most of the work and decisions (her aunt Hetty did the rest). And it’s a mystery why he’s hot for Frances. Lily’s twice the woman Frances is, in every respect. Give Lily a few years and she'll fly rings around Big Sister.
Dead bodies, thievery, money hungry relations all tangled together in an enchanting story that's fast-paced. On a side note, as an avid romance reader, I hoped to see a budding relationship grow between Frances and George. There was a definite undercurrent when they were in the same room. This is a mystery novel that will make you smile.
Top reviews from other countries
Reading a first novel of any writer is a gamble. But this one paid off in spades!
I love Frances. She is a wonderful combination of an intelligent woman with a naïveté about the real world she has been sheltered from all her life.
Full of humour, cleverly plotted and with wonderful characters like Aunt Hetty and the blossoming romance with George. I look forward to the next in the series.
It's very readable. What a relief!
This is a great, light and entertaining read, with a vividly realised and memorable main character. The setting also works nicely. I know this period and its manners quite well, and I was prepared to be picky with errors in detail, but every time I noticed one (eg. calling the lady's maid by her first name instead of her last name) the narrative would address this, so the author has clearly done her research.
So sad to see that this is the only book in the series so far. The vibe between Frances and George needs more exploration. Can't wait for the next one!