I had a wonderful audiobook lined up on my Kindle all ready to listen to – and then the world fell on my head and I couldn’t face it. Though excellently written and doubtless a gripping story – I was already aware that it would probably be also somewhat bleak. So Himself proposed that I get hold of this delightful read, instead…
BLURB: Lady Emily Hardcastle is an eccentric widow with a secret past. Florence Armstrong, her maid and confidante, is an expert in martial arts. The year is 1908 and they’ve just moved from London to the country, hoping for a quiet life. But it is not long before Lady Hardcastle is forced out of her self-imposed retirement. There’s a dead body in the woods, and the police are on the wrong scent. Lady Hardcastle makes some enquiries of her own, and it seems she knows a surprising amount about crime investigation… As Lady Hardcastle and Flo delve deeper into rural rivalries and resentment, they uncover a web of intrigue that extends far beyond the village. With almost no one free from suspicion, they can be certain of only one fact: there is no such thing as a quiet life in the country…
REVIEW: So… two women who live together end up solving a crime in the 1900s – it certainly sounds like a female version of Holmes and Watson. However, Lady Hardcastle is a great deal nicer and more charming than Holmes and Flo is far more feisty and less hampered by an overwhelming sense of admiration for her employee.
I really liked the relationship between the women. It transpires that they endured a great deal of danger and trauma together, after Lady H’s husband was killed in China. Essentially they had to go on the run, eventually ending up in India during which numerous attempts were made on their lives. Elizabeth Knowelden does a marvellous job with the narration as the story unfolds in the first-person viewpoint of Flo, who certainly looks after Emily Hardcastle in the capacity of a lady’s maid and housekeeper, but as they are on first-name terms and generally dine together, she is also something a great deal more.
The ensuring murders and mysteries – there is also a stolen jewel that Lady H is tasked with tracking down – certainly keep the two women from relaxing into the quiet life they were looking for. The humour is enjoyable throughout and I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the unfolding plot, which provided plenty of twists that made me quite sorry to complete my houseworking chores and have to switch off. All in all, this is a gem that provided a really entertaining escape, as well as a real puzzle as to whodunit. This is one of those stories where the setting, the characters and murder mystery all weave together to provide a satisfying world that I thoroughly enjoyed and am looking forward to returning to. Fortunately, Himself has already loaded the next book in the series – In the Market for Murder – onto my Kindle. No wonder he’s a keeper! Highly recommended for fans of historical murder mysteries.
This sounds delightful and perfect for those times you need something upbeat and lighthearted😁
Thank you, Tammy. I was so happy to tuck into these books when Himself produced them! And I’m looking forward to continuing with the series:))
I love your description of these two ladies and their investigative endeavors! 🙂
There was a really good balance here. It could have so easily become a bit treacly – but there is some nice snark between them, and everything in the village isn’t exactly sweetness and light, either. So I’m definitely looking forward to returning to their world:))
I’ve only recently become aware of this series. But also I’ve only started enjoying more historical mysteries so now I’ve several series I want to binge. Fantastic review!
Thank you, Anne:)). I’ve read the first two, but I definitely want to continue with this entertaining series during the rest of the year…
Oh this sounds good and different from most of the mysteries I’ve been reading lately! Adding to my TBR!
I thoroughly enjoyed this one – and the books are also very reasonable, which is always a consideration…
This sounds like a very enjoyable and light hearted mystery. I enjoy when two women form that friendship/partnership and are able to work together. I think that is one reason I like a lot of the cozy mysteries I read. Wonderful review, Sarah.
Thank you, Carla – yes, it’s often the lovely friendships that transpire that I think make cosy mysteries so enjoyable. And the relationship between these two women is very enjoyable.
I love mysteries… thanks for th heads up.
You’re very welcome – I hope you get a chance to enjoy this one:). And thank you for swinging by.
“The world fell on my head” – I hope everything is OK?
This sounds delightful, BTW. 🙂
Thank you! Fortunately, I wrote this review a couple of months ago – and now, I’m delighted to say that everything is now okay:)))). And yes – it is utterly delightful and I’m going to give myself an early Easter pressie or two, by getting hold of more Lady Hardcastle goodness in the next couple of weeks!
I’m glad you’re OK.
And let’s hear it for delightful books to treat ourselves with! Woo!
I heard about this book from a booktube channel fairly recently but forgot to add it to my Goodreads TBR. Nice to see that you found it entertaining. I’ll add it to my TBR now. I’m not much into mysteries, but this one really intrigues me. I like that her maid knows martial arts.
Yes – their relationship is an interesting one. Lady H’s closest friends do know that Florence has a special place – but a lot of the time, they have to do the traditional servant/mistress dance.