#Review – A Pinch of Poison by Alyssa Maxwell

A Pinch of Poison (A Lady and Lady’s Maid Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – England
Kensington (December 27, 2016)
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1617738340



 A Pinch of Poison by Alyssa Maxwell – In post–World War I England, Lady Phoebe Renshaw and her lady’s maid, Eva Huntford, encounter an uncharitable killer at a charity luncheon sponsored by a posh school for girls . . .  

Good deeds build good character, and good character is what the Haverleigh School for Young Ladies is all about. Lady Phoebe—with the tireless assistance of Eva—has organized a luncheon at the school to benefit wounded veterans of the Great War, encouraging the students to participate in the cooking and the baking. But too many cooks do more than spoil the broth—they add up to a recipe for disaster when the school’s headmistress, Miss Finch, is poisoned.

The girls at Haverleigh all come from highly respected families, none of whom will countenance their darling daughters being harassed like common criminals by the local police. So Lady Phoebe steps in to handle the wealthy young debutantes with tact and discretion, while Eva cozies up to the staff. Did one of the girls resent the headmistress enough to do her in? Did a teacher bear a grudge? What about the school nurse, clearly shell shocked from her service in the war? No one is above suspicion, not even members of the school’s governing body, some of whom objected to Miss Finch’s “modern” methods.

But Lady Phoebe and Eva will have to sleuth with great stealth—or the cornered killer may try to teach someone else a lethal lesson.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Lady Phoebe and her maid Eva are caught up in the middle of another murder investigation. This time the headmistress of the local Haverleigh School for Young Ladies dies at a luncheon Lady Phoebe organized. Everyone is pretty tight lipped with the authorities so Phoebe and Eva step in to talk to the girls and the staff in hopes of pinching the poisoner as quickly as possible.

Alyssa Maxwell has penned a mystery with many suspects, the staff, the board, and even the students. Seems the headmistress had a few secrets and has ruffled a few feathers. Again our amateur sleuths are pushing the boundaries for women in this time period but Constable Brannock is happy to have their assistance.

Lady Phoebe is a strong main character and Eva is a great sidekick. They have built a trust over the years that suits them very well for these investigations. We meet several new characters from the Haverleigh School for Young Ladies. Funny, girls then were the same as girls now, sans the cell phones and social media. Friends, cliques, bullies, every school has them even back in 19oo’s.

The story is full of detailed clues and descriptions of time and place. The characters are very fleshed out and unique. The pace has a really nice flow. I would call the plot complex, it had me changing my mind on the killer right until end.

The author takes great care to bring in necessary details from the previous book, Murder Most Malicious, but does not reveal any spoilers. So this book reads well on its own while allowing readers to go back to read the first one.

This is a strong addition to this series.

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About The Author

 Alyssa Maxwell has worked in publishing as an assistant editor and a ghost writer, but knew from an early age that being a novelist was what she wanted most. Growing up in New England and traveling to Great Britain fueled a passion for history, while a love of puzzles of all kinds drew her to the mystery genre. She lives in South Florida in the current year, but confesses to spending most of her time in the Victorian, Edwardian, and post WWI eras. In addition to fantasizing about wearing Worth gowns while strolling manor house gardens, she loves to watch BBC and other period productions and sip tea in the afternoons.

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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