Tag Archives: historical mystery fiction

Top 10 Tuesday — Mysteries I Still Haven’t Read

17 May

It is not a mystery why I have not read the books on my list yet. I cannot resist a shiny new book, even if I have a stack of others ahead of it. I refuse to believe that I have more books than time, though, so I continue to buy more and more. One day cannot get here fast enough. 😉 The books that I have chosen to confess are all mysteries — my very favorite genre. They at least have a fighting chance of being read. My list contains classic mysteries, cozy mysteries, historical mysteries — I read them all. And in the spirit of honesty, this list is just the tip of the iceberg. Let me know if you have read any. I need some motivation!

For more confessions, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Mysteries I Haven’t Read Yet

( though they reside on my shelves)

The Boy Who Followed Ripley by Patricia Highsmith

The Cairo Brief by Fiona Veitch Smith

The Cat’s Pajamas by Gilbert Morris

The Club Dumas by Arturo Perez-Reverte

Enemy Action by Mike Hollow

Jane And The Twelve Days of Christmas by Stephanie Barron

The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler

Sidney Chambers And The Shadow of Death by James Runcie

The Sweetness at The Bottom of The Pie by Alan Bradley

The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett

Book Review: The Murder of Mr. Wickham

5 May

  • Title: The Murder of Mr. Wickham
  • Author: Claudia Gray
  • Genre: Historical Mystery, Cozy Mystery, Austenesque
  • Publisher: ‎Vintage (May 3, 2022)
  • Length: (400) pages
  • Format: Trade paperback, eBook, & audiobook 
  • ISBN: 978-0593313817

A summer house party turns into a thrilling whodunit when Jane Austen’s Mr. Wickham—one of literature’s most notorious villains—meets a sudden and suspicious end in this brilliantly imagined mystery featuring Austen’s leading literary characters.

The happily married Mr. Knightley and Emma are throwing a party at their country estate, bringing together distant relatives and new acquaintances—characters beloved by Jane Austen fans. Definitely not invited is Mr. Wickham, whose latest financial scheme has netted him an even broader array of enemies. As tempers flare and secrets are revealed, it’s clear that everyone would be happier if Mr. Wickham got his comeuppance. Yet they’re all shocked when Wickham turns up murdered—except, of course, for the killer hidden in their midst.

Nearly everyone at the house party is a suspect, so it falls to the party’s two youngest guests to solve the mystery: Juliet Tilney, the smart and resourceful daughter of Catherine and Henry, eager for adventure beyond Northanger Abbey; and Jonathan Darcy, the Darcys’ eldest son, whose adherence to propriety makes his father seem almost relaxed. In this tantalizing fusion of Austen and Christie, from New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray, the unlikely pair must put aside their own poor first impressions and uncover the guilty party—before an innocent person is sentenced to hang. 

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Claudia Gray is the pseudonym of Amy Vincent. She is the writer of multiple young adult novels, including the Evernight series, the Firebird trilogy, and the Constellation trilogy. In addition, she’s written several Star Wars novels, such as Lost Stars and Bloodline. She makes her home in New Orleans with her husband Paul and assorted small dogs. 

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MY IMPRESSIONS:

For Jane Austen fans, The Murder of Mr. Wickham by Claudia Gray is a must read. Not only because one of the most odious of all literary characters meets his end, but because Gray gives the reader a credible look at what might have happened to Austen’s main characters after the curtain is drawn on their stories. Gray explores the what-ifs of Darcy and Elizabeth, Fanny and Edmund, Emma and Knightley, Marianne and Colonel Brandon, Anne and Captain Wentworth, as well as two original characters in Juliet Tilney and Jonathan Darcy. While the murder mystery is interesting with sufficient twists, turns, and surprises, the beyond-the-wedding stuff is great. However, the most interesting character of all is Jonathan Darcy, eldest son of Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth Darcy. I won’t disclose too much, but he decidedly does not fit into the standards of Regency England. His characterization is fascinating, especially through a Regency lens. Gray keeps her writing style true to Austen’s too. You will feel you are right back in Highbury with all your favorites.

Clever imagining of the later lives of the Austen characters all with Mr. Wickham’s murder — what more could a Janeite want? 😉 The Murder of Mr. Wickham is a recommended read.

Recommended.

Audience: Adults.

(Thanks to AustenProse for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

First Line Friday — The Murder of Mr. Wickham

15 Apr

I am a sucker for Jane Austen knock-offs or variations, as they are often called. When I found out there was a murder mystery with Mr. Wickham as the victim, I said yes, please! Claudia Gray has included a number of Austen’s characters from across her novels in The Murder of Mr. Wickham , and I cannot wait!

Here’s the first line:

The marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Knightley of Donwell Abbey had been a surprise to those who knew them best and not in the least surprising to those who knew them hardly at all.

A summer house party turns into a thrilling whodunit when Jane Austen’s Mr. Wickham—one of literature’s most notorious villains—meets a sudden and suspicious end in this brilliantly imagined mystery featuring Austen’s leading literary characters.

The happily married Mr. Knightley and Emma are throwing a party at their country estate, bringing together distant relatives and new acquaintances—characters beloved by Jane Austen fans. Definitely not invited is Mr. Wickham, whose latest financial scheme has netted him an even broader array of enemies. As tempers flare and secrets are revealed, it’s clear that everyone would be happier if Mr. Wickham got his comeuppance. Yet they’re all shocked when Wickham turns up murdered—except, of course, for the killer hidden in their midst. 

Nearly everyone at the house party is a suspect, so it falls to the party’s two youngest guests to solve the mystery: Juliet Tilney, the smart and resourceful daughter of Catherine and Henry, eager for adventure beyond Northanger Abbey; and Jonathan Darcy, the Darcys’ eldest son, whose adherence to propriety makes his father seem almost relaxed. In this tantalizing fusion of Austen and Christie, from New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray, the unlikely pair must put aside their own poor first impressions and uncover the guilty party—before an innocent person is sentenced to hang. 

Book Review: Jane And The Year Without A Summer

17 Feb

May 1816: Jane Austen is feeling unwell, with an uneasy stomach, constant fatigue, rashes, fevers and aches. She attributes her poor condition to the stress of family burdens, which even the drafting of her latest manuscript—about a baronet’s daughter nursing a broken heart for a daring naval captain—cannot alleviate. Her apothecary recommends a trial of the curative waters at Cheltenham Spa, in Gloucestershire. Jane decides to use some of the profits earned from her last novel, Emma, and treat herself to a period of rest and reflection at the spa, in the company of her sister, Cassandra.
 
Cheltenham Spa hardly turns out to be the relaxing sojourn Jane and Cassandra envisaged, however. It is immediately obvious that other boarders at the guest house where the Misses Austen are staying have come to Cheltenham with stresses of their own—some of them deadly. But perhaps with Jane’s interference a terrible crime might be prevented. Set during the Year without a Summer, when the eruption of Mount Tambora in the South Pacific caused a volcanic winter that shrouded the entire planet for sixteen months, this fourteenth installment in Stephanie Barron’s critically acclaimed series brings a forgotten moment of Regency history to life.

Advance Praise

“Outstanding…Barron fans will hope Jane, who died in 1817, will be back for one more mystery.”— Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“No one conjures Austen’s voice like Stephanie Barron, and Jane and the Year Without a Summer is utterly pitch-perfect.”— Deanna Raybourn, bestselling author of the Veronica Speedwell Mysteries

“…a page-turning story, imbued with fascinating historical detail, a cast of beautifully realized characters, a pitch-perfect Jane Austen, and an intriguing mystery. Highly recommended.”— Syrie James, bestselling author of The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen 

“Jane and the Year Without a Summer is absolute perfection. Stephanie Barron expertly weaves fact and fiction, crafting a story that is authentically Austen in its elegance, charm, and wit. The characters and setting will enchant you, and the mystery will keep you guessing to the last page. This Regency-set gem is truly a diamond of the first water.”— Mimi Matthews, USA Today bestselling author of The Siren of Sussex

PURCHASE LINKS

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Francine Mathews was born in Binghamton, New York, the last of six girls. She attended Princeton and Stanford Universities, where she studied history, before going on to work as an intelligence analyst at the CIA. She wrote her first book in 1992 and left the Agency a year later. Since then, she has written twenty-five books, including five novels in the Merry Folger series (Death in the Off-Season, Death in Rough Water, Death in a Mood Indigo, Death in a Cold Hard Light, and Death on Nantucket) as well as the nationally bestselling Being a Jane Austen mystery series, which she writes under the penname, Stephanie Barron. She lives and works in Denver, Colorado.

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GOODREADS

My Impressions:

It has been a while since I have read one of Stephanie Barron’s Regency mysteries featuring the intrepid Jane Austen as primary sleuth. What have I been waiting for? After reading Jane And The Year Without A Summer I have now successfully added many more books to my towering TBR pile. This mystery is excellent. The book finds Jane in her final years of life. Not a spoiler — anyone can read her biography. Feeling unwell, she and her sister Cassandra journey to the spa town of Cheltenham to take the waters. Upon taking rooms at a boarding house, Jane is privy to all kinds of inside knowledge about her fellow lodgers. With her keen observations, along with the help of a former acquaintance, Jane finds out whodunit. Barron really does capture Austen. The book is told in Jane’s first person voice and contains many of the phrases and references that Austen-philes will recognize. The culture of the watering hole of the day, with its visits to the theater, pump rooms, and assembly room is spot on. I felt like I was on the streets and in the sitting rooms of early 1880s England. The mystery kept me guessing until the end. It was a real treat to read a book that combines excellent storytelling with a credible portrayal of a beloved author. The book is a bit poignant for fans of Barron and Austen — it is evident that Jane’s adventures in crime-solving may soon come to an end. But with all the books I have yet to read, I know that I have many more pleasurable hours ahead of me.

Barron does Jane Austen justice — any one who loves Austen and the many variations of her works will enjoy Jane And The Year Without A Summer. I loved it and heartily recommend it!

Highly Recommended.

Audience: adults.

(Thanks to the publisher for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Book Review: Shadows of Swanford Abbey

24 Jan

I love a good mystery and I love a good romance set in Regency England. I got both in Shadows of Swanford Abbey by Julie Klassen. This book kept me guessing until the very end — another plus! Recommended.

Agatha Christie meets Jane Austen in this atmospheric Regency tale brimming with mystery, intrigue, and romance.

When Miss Rebecca Lane returns to her home village after a few years away, her brother begs for a favor: go to nearby Swanford Abbey and deliver his manuscript to an author staying there who could help him get published. Feeling responsible for her brother’s desperate state, she reluctantly agrees.

The medieval monastery turned grand hotel is rumored to be haunted. Once there, Rebecca begins noticing strange things, including a figure in a hooded black gown gliding silently through the abbey’s cloisters. For all its renovations and veneer of luxury, the ancient foundations seem to echo with whispers of the past–including her own. For there she encounters Sir Frederick–magistrate, widower, and former neighbor–who long ago broke her heart.

When the famous author is found murdered in the abbey, Sir Frederick begins questioning staff and guests and quickly discovers that several people held grudges against the man, including Miss Lane and her brother. Haunted by a painful betrayal in his past, Sir Frederick searches for answers but is torn between his growing feelings for Rebecca and his pursuit of the truth. For Miss Lane is clearly hiding something. . . .

Julie Klassen loves all things Jane—Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. She worked in publishing for sixteen years and now writes full time. Three of her novels have won the Christy Award for Historical Romance. She has also won the Minnesota Book Award, the Midwest Book Award, and Christian Retailing’s BEST Award. Julie is a graduate of the University of Illinois. She and her husband have two sons and live in St. Paul, Minnesota. Visit http://www.julieklassen.com and talesfromivyhill.com for more information.

My Impressions:

With nods to Agatha Christie and Jane Austen and other notable classic writers, Shadows of Swanford Abbey is a page-turning historical novel that has its own unique blend of mystery and romance. Julie Klassen has penned a very enjoyable book! The mystery, that I kept guessing at until the end, was what hooked me, but I loved the atmospheric setting and the likable characters. For Rebecca Lane, the return to her home village is filled with memories, mostly poignant, as she longs for better times and circumstances. A brother with issues keeps her on edge, while an old crush brings back feelings long buried. There is a great tension in this book, both in the romantic relationships and in the twisting mystery. I felt an urgency to find out whodunit and if Rebecca would get her happily-ever-after. This kept me reading and reading! Characters are not all they seem — enhancing the plot and giving readers some things to think about. There are themes of forgiveness, lost chances, and personal responsibility. Fans of the Regency era will enjoy the historical details. I especially liked learning about the legal rules of the day and the treatment of those with mental illness. Swanford Abbey provided its own character with hidden passages and ghosts — a great place to stage a murder. 😉 And for book nerds like me, the references to classic lit were fun.

Shadows of Swanford Abbey should appeal to a variety of readers with its historical, romantic, and mysterious plot threads. I heartily recommend it.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

(Thanks to Bethany House Publishers for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Top 10 Tuesday — Most Recent Additions

11 Jan

2022 is in full swing and I have some new books that have hit my shelves! The following books are the newest to take up residence. Many are review books — NetGalley copies and ARCs, so you’ll see my impressions in the coming weeks. I have also included 2 cookbook/entertaining books that I received for Christmas and am having so much fun with! Yes, I do have interests outside of reading fiction. 😉 Hope you find one that piques your interest.

For more bloggers’ recent acquisitions, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Newly Acquired Books

A Heart Adrift by Laura Frantz

Jane And The Year Without Summer by Stephanie Barron

The Lady of Galway Manor by Jennifer Deibel

Life Flight by Lynette Eason

Malicious Intent by Lynn H. Blackburn

Medical Mystery by Richard Fabry

Shadows of Swanford Abbey by Julie Klassen

The Siren of Sussex by Mimi Matthews

Sunrise by Susan May Warren

Baker Bettie’s Better Baking Book by Kristen Hoffman

Spectacular Spreads by Maegan Brown

Book Review: The Debutante’s Code

13 Dec

Regency-era novel, The Debutante’s Code by Erica Vetsch is all about mystery and intrigue — think spies! There are two great main characters from different classes who feel the tug of attraction. Will they solve the crime(s) and discover love? You’ll just have to read the book!

Jane Austen meets Sherlock Holmes in this new Regency mystery series
 
Newly returned from finishing school, Lady Juliette Thorndike is ready to debut in London society. Due to her years away, she hasn’t spent much time with her parents, and sees them only as the flighty, dilettante couple the other nobles love.But when they disappear, she discovers she never really knew them at all. They’ve been living double lives as government spies–and they’re only the latest in a long history of espionage that is the family’s legacy.
 
Now Lady Juliette is determined to continue their work. Mentored by her uncle, she plunges into the dangerous world of spies. From the glittering ballrooms of London to the fox hunts, regattas, and soirees of country high society, she must chase down hidden clues, solve the mysterious code her parents left behind, and stay out of danger. All the while, she has to keep her endeavors a secret from her best friend and her suitors–not to mention the nosy, irritatingly handsome Bow Street runner, who suspects her of a daring theft.
 
Can Lady Juliette outwit her enemies and complete her parents’ last mission?
 
Best-selling author Erica Vetsch is back with a rollicking, exciting new series destined to be a hit with Regency readers who enjoy a touch of mystery in their love stories. Fans of Julie Klassen, Sarah Ladd, and Anne Perry will love the wit, action, and romance.
 
Click here to read an excerpt.

Erica Vetsch is a New York Times best-selling and ACFW Carol Award–winning author. She is a transplanted Kansan now living in Minnesota with her husband, who she claims is both her total opposite and soul mate.
 
Vetsch is the author of many novellas and novels, including the popular Serendipity & Secrets Regency series and the new Thorndike & Swann Regency Mystery series
 
Vetsch loves Jesus, history, romance, and sports. When she’s not writing fiction, she’s planning her next trip to a history museum and cheering on her Kansas Jayhawks and New Zealand All Blacks.
 
Learn more about Erica Vetsch and her books at www.ericavetsch.com. She can also be found on Facebook (@EricaVetschAuthor)Instagram (@EricaVetsch) and Pinterest (Erica Vetsch).

My Impressions:

I love a good mystery, and the Regency-era novel, The Debutante’s Code was a great reading choice. The book takes the reader from the ballrooms of the gentry to the seedy back alleys of the rookery, all while leading the characters on a merry chase to find out who the bad guys really are. The reader soon discovers there really are two avenues of investigation: the official police inquiry of stolen art work and murder led by Daniel Swann, and the shadowy world of international espionage which has reeled in Lady Juliette Thorndyke. The two cases are parallel and overlapping and include disguises, midnight break-ins, and more. I thoroughly enjoyed the mystery and the historical details that brought the era to life. Lady Juliette struggles with lies and truth, while Mr. Swann seeks to overcome feelings of abandonment on the eve of losing the patronage of his mysterious benefactor. The book is full of danger and adventure, and I suspected just about everyone. The case is solved, but the fates of the two main characters are left unfinished — more books to come. Yay!

For fans of the Regency time period and mystery fiction, The Debutante’s Code is perfect. Recommended!

Recommended.

Audience: Adults.

(Thanks to Kregel for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

GIVEAWAY!

The winner will receive a Pride and Prejudice throw blanket from Litographs and a copy of The Debutante’s Code.  To enter the giveaway, click HERE.

Top 10 Tuesday — Historical Mystery Series

7 Dec

Today’s Top 10 Tuesday is a Freebie! Since I am reading the first book in a historical mystery series, I thought I would highlight it and a few other mysteries set in the past. One of the things I love about historical mysteries is the main character’s reliance on wit and intuition, rather than high tech forensics. If you are a fan of mysteries, I hope you find a book or two to love.

For more Top Ten Tuesday fun, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Historical Mystery Series

Middle Ages

The Chronicles of Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon by Mel Starr (14 books in the series!)

Hugh of Singleton, fourth son of a minor knight, has been educated as a clerk, usually a prelude to taking holy orders.

However, feeling no certain calling despite a lively faith, he turns to the profession of surgeon, training in Paris and then hanging out his sign in Oxford. A local lord asks him to track the killer of a young woman whose bones have been found in the castle cess pit. She is identified as the impetuous missing daughter of a local blacksmith, and her young man, whom she had provoked very publicly, is in due course arrested and sentenced at the Oxford assizes.

From there the tale unfolds, with graphic medical procedures, droll medieval wit, misdirection, ambition, romantic distractions and a consistent underlying Christian compassion.

Regency England

Thorndyke And Swann Regency Mysteries by Erica Vetsch (1 book so far)

Jane Austen meets Sherlock Holmes in this new Regency mystery series

Newly returned from finishing school, Lady Juliette Thorndike is ready to debut in London society. Due to her years away, she hasn’t spent much time with her parents, and sees them only as the flighty, dilettante couple the other nobles love. But when they disappear, she discovers she never really knew them at all. They’ve been living double lives as government spies–and they’re only the latest in a long history of espionage that is the family’s legacy.

Now Lady Juliette is determined to continue their work. Mentored by her uncle, she plunges into the dangerous world of spy craft. From the glittering ballrooms of London to the fox hunts, regattas, and soirees of country high society, she must chase down hidden clues, solve the mysterious code her parents left behind, and stay out of danger. All the while, she has to keep her endeavors a secret from her best friend and her suitors–not to mention nosy, irritatingly handsome Bow Street runner Daniel Swann, who suspects her of a daring theft.

Can Lady Juliette outwit her enemies and complete her parents’ last mission? Or will it lead her to a terrible end?

Best-selling author Erica Vetsch is back with a rollicking, exciting new series destined to be a hit with Regency readers who enjoy a touch of mystery in their love stories. Fans of Julie Klassen, Sarah Ladd, and Anne Perry will love the wit, action, and romance.

Edwardian Canada

Herringford And Watts Mysteries by Rachel McMillan (3 books)

In 1910 Toronto, while other bachelor girls perfect their domestic skills and find husbands, two friends perfect their sleuthing skills and find a murderer.

Inspired by their fascination with all things Sherlock Holmes, best friends and flatmates Merinda and Jem launch a consulting detective business. The deaths of young Irish women lead Merinda and Jem deeper into the mire of the city’s underbelly, where the high hopes of those dreaming to make a new life in Canada are met with prejudice and squalor.

While searching for answers, donning disguises, and sneaking around where no proper ladies would ever go, they pair with Jasper Forth, a police constable, and Ray DeLuca, a reporter in whom Jem takes a more than professional interest. Merinda could well be Toronto’s premiere consulting detective, and Jem may just find a way to put her bachelor girlhood behind her forever—if they can stay alive long enough to do so.

Roaring Twenties

Poppy Denby Investigates by Fiona Veitch Smith (6 books)

It is 1920. Twenty-two year old Poppy Denby moves from Northumberland to live with her paraplegic aunt in London. Aunt Dot, a suffragette, was injured in battles with the police in 1910. Her contacts prove invaluable. Poppy lands a position as an editorial assistant at the Daily Globe. Poppy has always wanted to be a journalist and laps up the atmosphere of the news room. Then one of the paper’s hacks dies suddenly and dramatically. His story was going to be the morning lead, but he hasn’t finished writing it. Poppy finds his notes and completes the story, which is a sensation. The editor, realising her valuable suffragette contacts, invites her to dig deeper. Poppy starts sifting through the dead man’s files and unearths a major mystery which takes her to France – and into danger. By the end of the story Poppy is a fixture on the paper, and is being courted by a photographer. Further mysteries lie ahead.

Depression/Pre-WWII

Drew Farthering Mystery series by Julianna Deering (6 books)

Downton Abbey Meets Agatha Christie in This Sparkling Mystery (6 books)

Introducing Drew Farthing. From the tip of his black Homburg hat to the crease in his cheviot trousers, he’s the epitome of a stylish 1930s English gentleman. His only problem? The body he just discovered. Drew Farthering loves a good mystery, although he generally expects to find it in the pages of a novel, not on the grounds of his country estate. With the help of beautiful and whip-smart Madeline Parker, a guest from America, Drew proposes to use the lessons he’s learned reading his mysteries to solve the crime. Before long, he realizes this is no lark, and no one at Farthering Place is who he or she appears to be — not the blackmailer, not the adulterer, not the embezzler and not even Drew himself. Trying hard to remain one step ahead of the killer — and trying harder to impress Madeline — Drew must decide how far to take this dangerous game.

Van Buren And DeLuca Mystery series by Rachel McMillan (2 books)

“Maybe it was time to land straight in the middle of the adventure…”

Hamish DeLuca has spent most of his life trying to hide the anxiety that appears at the most inopportune times — including during his first real court case as a new lawyer. Determined to rise above his father’s expectations, Hamish runs away to Boston where his cousin, Luca Valari, is opening a fashionable nightclub in Scollay Square.  When he meets his cousin’s “right hand man” Reggie, Hamish wonders if his dreams for a more normal life might be at hand. 

Regina “Reggie” Van Buren, heir to a New Haven fortune, has fled fine china, small talk, and the man her parents expect her to marry. Determined to make a life as the self-sufficient city girl she’s seen in her favorite Jean Arthur and Katharine Hepburn pictures, Reggie runs away to Boston, where she finds an easy secretarial job with the suave Luca Valari. But as she and Hamish work together in Luca’s glittering world, they discover a darker side to the smashing Flamingo nightclub.

When a corpse is discovered at the Flamingo, Reggie and Hamish quickly learn there is a vast chasm between the haves and the have-nots in 1937 Boston—and that there’s an underworld that feeds on them both. As Hamish is forced to choose between his conscience and loyalty to his beloved cousin, the unlikely sleuthing duo work to expose a murder before the darkness destroys everything they’ve worked to build. 

WWII

Blitz Detective by Mike Hollow (6 books)

Saturday 7th September, 1940. The sun is shining, and in the midst of the good weather Londoners could be mistaken for forgetting their country was at war – until the familiar wail of the air-raid sirens heralds an enemy attack. The Blitz has started, and normal life has abruptly ended – but crime has not.
That night a man’s body is discovered in an unmarked van in the back streets of West Ham. When Detective Inspector John Jago is called to the scene, he recognises the victim: local Justice of the Peace, Charles Villiers. The death looks suspicious, but then a German bomb obliterates all evidence. War or no war, murder is still murder, and it’s Jago’s job to find the truth.

First Line Friday — The Debutante’s Code

3 Dec

This weekend I have a historical mystery on the agenda. The Debutante’s Code is a Regency-era novel by Erica Vetsch. I look forward to some great reading. What are you reading this weekend?

Here’s the first line:

“If you lean out any farther, you’ll wind up in the drink.”

Jane Austen meets Sherlock Holmes in this new Regency mystery series

Newly returned from finishing school, Lady Juliette Thorndike is ready to debut in London society. Due to her years away, she hasn’t spent much time with her parents, and sees them only as the flighty, dilettante couple the other nobles love. But when they disappear, she discovers she never really knew them at all. They’ve been living double lives as government spies–and they’re only the latest in a long history of espionage that is the family’s legacy.

Now Lady Juliette is determined to continue their work. Mentored by her uncle, she plunges into the dangerous world of spy craft. From the glittering ballrooms of London to the fox hunts, regattas, and soirees of country high society, she must chase down hidden clues, solve the mysterious code her parents left behind, and stay out of danger. All the while, she has to keep her endeavors a secret from her best friend and her suitors–not to mention nosy, irritatingly handsome Bow Street runner Daniel Swann, who suspects her of a daring theft.

Can Lady Juliette outwit her enemies and complete her parents’ last mission? Or will it lead her to a terrible end?

Best-selling author Erica Vetsch is back with a rollicking, exciting new series destined to be a hit with Regency readers who enjoy a touch of mystery in their love stories. Fans of Julie Klassen, Sarah Ladd, and Anne Perry will love the wit, action, and romance. 

Best-selling, award-winning author Erica Vetsch loves Jesus, history, romance, and sports. She’s a transplanted Kansan now living in Minnesota, and she married her total opposite and soul mate! When she’s not writing fiction, she’s planning her next trip to a history museum and cheering on her Kansas Jayhawks and New Zealand All Blacks. You can connect with her at her website, http://www.ericavetsch.com where you can read about her books and sign up for her newsletter, and you can find her online at https://www.facebook.com/EricaVetschAuthor/ where she spends way too much time!

Audiobook Mini-Review: Girl Waits with Gun

16 Nov

My book club, the IWBC (interesting women’s book club 😉 ) read Girl Waits with Gun by Amy Stewart this month. This book is based on the Kopp sisters, and in particular Constance Kopp, one of the first female deputy sheriffs in America. Set in the early years of the 20th century, it is a good look into the role of women. The story revolves around a horse and buggy/automobile accident that the Kopp sisters were involved in. Their suit to receive damages from the accident turns violent with threats from the ones who ran into them. The book has a sub-thread that focuses on what women had to endure when they found themselves pregnant outside of marriage. That and other historical elements make this an interesting read. I especially liked the discourse on the media of the time — it seems not much has changed in 100+ years. 😉 The characters are fun and quirky as the book leans toward a cozy mystery vibe. I really liked this book, and as it happens I can get more of the Kopp sisters. There are 7 books available in the series.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

(I downloaded the audiobook from my local library via Libby. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)


Constance Kopp doesn’t quite fit the mold. She towers over most men, has no interest in marriage or domestic affairs, and has been isolated from the world since a family secret sent her and her sisters into hiding fifteen years ago. One day a belligerent and powerful silk factory owner runs down their buggy, and a dispute over damages turns into a war of bricks, bullets, and threats as he unleashes his gang on their family farm. When the sheriff enlists her help in convicting the men, Constance is forced to confront her past and defend her family — and she does it in a way that few women of 1914 would have dared.

Amy Stewart is the New York Times bestselling author of over a dozen books, including the new Kopp Sisters series, which began with Girl Waits With Gun. The series is based on the true story of three remarkable sisters who lived in New Jersey a hundred years ago.

Amy has also written six nonfiction books on the perils and pleasures of the natural world, including the New York Times bestsellers The Drunken Botanist, Wicked Bugs, Wicked Plants, and Flower Confidential. 

She lives in Portland with her husband Scott Brown, a rare book dealer. When she isn’t writing, she’s making art, which you can see on Instagram, or teaching art and writing classes online.