New Year – New Series!!!
Murder Most Malicious
by Alyssa Maxwell
Murder Most Malicious
(A Lady and Lady’s Maid Mystery Book 1)
Setting – England
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Kensington (December 29, 2015)
E-Book ASIN: B00VQFKHPQ
In post–World War I England, Lady Phoebe Renshaw and her lady’s maid, Eva Huntford, step outside of their social roles and put their lives at risk to apprehend a vicious killer…
December 1918: As a difficult year draws to a close, there is much to celebrate for nineteen-year-old Phoebe Renshaw and her three siblings at their beloved family estate of Foxwood Hall. The dreadful war is finally over; eldest daughter Julia’s engagement to their houseguest, the Marquis of Allerton, appears imminent; and all have gathered to enjoy peace on earth, good will toward men.
But the peace of Foxwood Hall is shattered on the morning of Boxing Day, when the Marquis goes missing. Not entirely missing, however, as macabre evidence of foul play turns up in gift boxes given to lady’s maid Eva Huntford and a handful of others. Having overheard her sister and the Marquis in a heated exchange the night before, Lady Phoebe takes a personal interest in solving the mystery.
As the local constable suspects a footman at Foxwood Hall, Phoebe and Eva follow the clues to a different conclusion. But both young women will need to think outside the box to wrap up this case—before a cornered killer lashes out with ill will toward them…
Alyssa Maxwell has brought us a new team of sleuths, Lady Phoebe Renshaw and her maid, Eva Huntford. Christmas at Foxwood Hall has brought several guests to the hall including the Marquis of Allerton and his family. He has asked Lady Phoebe’s sister, Julia to be his wife. Phoebe happens to hear the argument that ensues when he gets a very unexpected answer. The next morning the Marquis is missing and foul play is suspected. Phoebe enlists Eva’s help when she notices the police go after an easy suspect, not necessarily the right suspect.
In this story we are given fantastic characters to love and fantastic characters to hate.
Inspector Perkins is an incompetent twit. A man with a small mind who drove me crazy. Thank goodness for Constable Brannock. He was not so sure of the inspector’s findings and was open to listen to other theories. Henry Leighton, Marquess of Allenton, was a really gem, I say that very sarcastically. He has quite a checkered past that visited his present and could be the reason he ended up dead.
I really enjoyed the other characters, both those upstairs and down. Lady Phoebe is strong willed and a great protagonist. Her lady’s maid Eva, treads lightly when necessary but she has the trust of Phoebe and the rest of the family. Phoebe, her sisters, Julia and Amelia and their brother Fox, have been raised by their grandparents, the Earl and Countess of Wroxly. Grams and Grampapa are devoted to these children/young adults and want the very best for them. There are quite a bit of staff, shopkeepers, Eva’s family and the Allenton family as well. A big number of characters to keep straight but the author makes it easy because they all bring important qualities to the story as a whole.
The story itself is created with immense precision and flowed so perfectly. I was surprised at how quickly I reached the end. It has the expected twists and turns but that final one just caught me by total surprise.
The grounds of Foxwood Hall sounded so beautiful all covered in snow. I bet the place is gorgeous in the spring, summer and fall too. The hall seemed to be a complex place with so many rooms and hallways. Plenty of places to hide for a bit a eavesdropping. I would enjoy actually visiting a place like that.
I have loved this author’s Gilded Newport Mysteries. She takes us back in time so effortlessly. I know it takes so much time for her to research each story, and it clearly shows in her writing. I am so pleased she has traveled across the pond to bring us a new captivating series.
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.”