On Flashback Fridays I will share with you
the books I was not able to review
when they were first released that have been screaming at me
from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.
The Killing at Kaldaire House
(The Milliner Mysteries)
Setting – England
Release Date – April 2, 2018
Paperback: 318 pages
Digital ASIN: B079ZBJ935
A dying man. The painting within her reach. What’s a thief to do?
Talented London milliner Emily Gates creates amazing hats for Society ladies, but to collect from those who don’t pay her bill, she burglarizes their homes. She needs every penny to send her deaf brother to school. Late one night, she sneaks in to find Lord Kaldaire badly injured in his study. Unwilling to abandon him, she calls for help.
When Kaldaire dies without revealing who attacked him, his widow agrees to keep Emily’s secrets ― if Emily will help find her husband’s killer. A bigger danger is a Scotland Yard inspector who threatens to arrest Emily — unless she spies on her father’s family of swindlers and conmen. Worst of all are the attacks from an unknown assailant. What will Emily face first, jail or death?
This cozy mystery is set in the era of My Fair Lady and Mary Poppins, of early automobiles and aeroplanes, and of King Edward VII and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. If you enjoyed the Victorian Bookshop Mysteries, you’ll like Emily Gates and the collection of aristocrats and thieves in her world as they step into the 20th century.
Emily Gates learned to make fabulous hats as a girl from her Mum and she is now a top London milliner in London. Her hats are in demand by all the Society Ladies and she does enjoy running her shop with her uncle and her deaf brother. She is not happy when the ladies or their husbands fail to pay her for her work. She has learned a few tricks from the shadier side of her family and is not beyond burglarizing their homes and holding their prized possessions hostage until her bill is paid.
She has made some beautiful hats for Lady Kaldaire but Lord Kaldaire has not paid her. She knows there is a painting that hangs in his study that he holds very dear. She decides to sneak in late one night to abscond with the portrait but instead finds Lord Kildaire on the floor. When he moans she realizes he is still alive and she has to call for help. Unfortunately, his injuries were severe and he dies before naming his attacker. Emily gains the trust of Lady Kaldaire who vows to keep the break in a secret if Emily agrees to find the killer. That isn’t going to be easy especially with an inspector from Scotland on her tail with some demands of his own.
I am a big fan of Kate Parker. I have enjoyed both her Victorian Bookshop Mysteries and her Deadly Series, So I escaped right into this story and was taken back in time with Emily Gates. A commoner who is drawn into the world of Ladies and Lords, Princes and Princesses. To help Lady Kaldaire gets the answers she needs Emily finds herself rubbing elbows with the elite, riding in motorcars, and attending parties. Detective Inspector Russell knows her truth as well and thinks she may be working with her father and his family. The family he believes are responsible for many of the thefts on his docket.
Ms. Parker’s characters are quite dynamic. Very fleshed out with vivid detail. The clothing and especially the hats are thoroughly described as are the estates, Emily’s shop, home, and workshop, and the automobiles including the dusty roads they travel on. I could picture every place and person perfectly. Emily is a very strong independent woman, but she did bend to Lady Kaldaire’s elaborate schemes sometimes to her own peril. I enjoyed their interactions though very much. I also find Emily’s dedication to caring for her deaf brother heartwarming. Her main goal is to have enough money to send him to a special school and that is what drives her through the story.
The mystery is a bugger to solve. Emily finds herself going to her grandfather for help, something she has shunned before. She feels she is in danger of losing her business if she can’t put all the pieces together and find the killer all while trying to stay out of her family’s shenanigans. She literally travels far and wide to get answers.
As stated in the synopsis this story does have a My Fair Lady mashed with a little Mary Poppins with a dash of Sherlock Holmes feel. The author has great world building skills and has created very memorable characters. I found the story to be delightfully entertaining and a perfect escape.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Kate Parker has wanted to travel to 1930s England since she read her mother’s Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers mysteries when she was a schoolgirl. After many years of studying science, she decided a time travel machine was out of the question so she found herself limited to reading about the period and visiting historic sites. Her love of this fascinating and challenging period led her to the research from which the Deadly series grew. Eventually, she found it necessary to spend several days in the British Library reading old newspapers, which meant another trip to England. Near Christmas. A sacrifice she’d gladly make every year.
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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.”