Sometimes you just want a fun, light read so when Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours offered me the opportunity to read A Lady’s Guide to Mischief and Murder by Diane Freeman I was happy to accept a copy at no charge for my honest review. No to write that murder is fun and light …
About A Lady’s Guide to Mischief and Murder:
Publication Date: July 28, 2020
Genre: Historical Mystery
Series: A Countess of Harleigh Mystery, Book 3
In Dianne Freeman’s charming Victorian-era mystery series, Frances Wynn, the American-born Countess of Harleigh, finds her sister’s wedding threatened by a vow of vengeance.
London is known for its bustle and intrigues, but the sedate English countryside can host—or hide—any number of secrets. Frances, the widowed Countess of Harleigh, needs a venue for her sister Lily’s imminent wedding, away from prying eyes. Risings, George Hazleton’s family estate in Hampshire, is a perfect choice, and soon Frances, her beloved George, and other guests have gathered to enjoy the usual country pursuits—shooting, horse riding, and romantic interludes in secluded gardens.
But the bucolic setting harbors a menace, and it’s not simply the arrival of Frances’s socially ambitious mother. Above and below stairs, mysterious accidents befall guests and staff alike. Before long, Frances suspects these “accidents” are deliberate, and fears that the intended victim is Lily’s fiancé, Leo. Frances’s mother is unimpressed by Lily’s groom-to-be and would much prefer that Lily find an aristocratic husband, just as Frances did. But now that Frances has found happiness with George—a man who loves her for much more than her dowry—she heartily approves of Lily’s choice. If she can just keep the couple safe from villains and meddling mamas.
As Frances and George search for the culprit among the assembled family, friends, and servants, more victims fall prey to the mayhem. Mishaps become full-blooded murder, and it seems that no one is safe. And unless Frances can quickly flush out the culprit, the peal of wedding bells may give way to another funeral toll…
About the Author:
Dianne Freeman is a life-long book lover who left the world of corporate finance to pursue her passion for writing. After co-authoring the non-fiction book, Haunted Highway, The Spirits of Route 66, she realized her true love was fiction, historical mystery in particular. She also realized she didn’t like winter very much so now she and her husband pursue the endless summer by splitting their time between Michigan and Arizona. She’s been nominated for an Agatha and the prestigious Mary Higgins Clark Award, and won the 2019 Lefty Award for Best Debut Mystery.
This is the third book in the Lady’s Guide series and while they are all stand alone, as with all series type books I think you are better for having read what came before and I will admit to being a little lost at times with not knowing past events. But that being written, I did enjoy the characters and the plot. This isn’t a deep book, but it is entertaining – murder notwithstanding.
Frances, Countess of Harleigh finds herself with a family dilemma – her sister needs to have her wedding sooner rather than later and wants a small country affair rather than the large society bash their mother seeks. Her problem is solved when her fiance, George offers up his family’s estate. All seems to be going well, but the parents of the groom and the mother of the bride will needs dealing with and no one wants to do the dealing.
As the guests arrive and people start settling in, accidents start to happen and people start getting hurt. George tries to discover if the accidents are just that or if someone is being targeted. Frances will not be left out of the investigation and the two of them work together to sort through the clues to find out who is to blame.
This was a quick read – I read it in an afternoon on the deck. I didn’t want to stop reading until I knew who the culprit was! It was full of twists and turns and the story kept me guessing until the end. Ms. Freeman has created a couple that you want to root for. I would love to follow their exploits as they marry and continue on their adventures.
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