Historical Mystery Extravaganza!

Okay, maybe not that dramatic.  But I did finish two different historical mysteries this week that I adored and want to talk about!

First, via NetGalley:


Death in Kew Gardens by Jennifer Ashley

The third book in the Below Stairs Mystery series, Kat Holloway is back as the cook for fancy London house.  She stumbles, quite literally, into scholar Li Bai Chang in her neighborhood.  Accused of her neighbor’s murder, Li Bai Chang disappears into the streets of London.  Kat does not believe the kind gentleman she met would have done the henious crime and of course takes it upon herself to investigate further.  With the help of the Lady of the house, her intrepid kitchen maid Tess, and her dashing “friend” Daniel, Kat stumbles onto a scheme involving rare tea from China.

I enjoyed Kat’s steadfastness, and she provides a welome change from the bigoted members of London town.  She even starts to learn the art of chinese cooking!  And plus, Daniel…*swoon*.

The second book was one I’ve had for a while,


A Lady’s Guide to Etiquette and Murder by Dianne Freeman

First of all, you had me at the title. I’m obsessed with these kinds books.  Frances Wynn is one of the Dollar heiresses of English nobility.  She was American born to a wealthy family, and married off to an Earl of questionable distinction for her dowry.  He died.  Dramatically I might add.  So now she’s striking out on her own, much to the chagrin of her BIL and SIL who want to keep her money in the crumbling estate.  But, she carries on and moves in London.  Her mother sends her younger sister over for the season in hopes that she can snag herself someone of the nobility as well, and Frances takes her under wing.  After three suitors present themselves, Frances hires a dective in order to sniff out any fortune hunters.

She is also accused of killing her husband by an annoymous note to the police and has to work to clear her name at the same time.  Luckily she has her friends and the dashing neighbor, George Hazelton, who was also near when her husband died.

I loved this book so much.  In fact, at the Kensignton Cozy Con in Cambridge MA a few weeks ago, they were giving out the ARC of the next in the series.  I didn’t win it, so I essentialy accosted the lady who won and traded one of the other ARCS for this one.  She was so nice and let me take it!  It’s now next on my list to read!

Also, book updates:

Cover is coming soon.

Malice Domestic is next week and I’ll be on a panel that Sunday on “Murder in a Small Town”….with another author who currently lives in Mechanicsburg PA which is were I spent my formative high school years.

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We Hunt the Flame (Sands of Arawiya) by Hafsah Faizal


We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal

I was lucky enough to win an ARC of this book through a twitter contest.  I DEVOURED it in just under two days.  I loved it.  Women who have to hide who they are in a male dominated society?  Check. Broody assasins?  Check.  Humourous mystical beings?  Double Check.  Action/Adventure in magical lands?  Check.  A mysterious object that may or may not hold the fate of their world?  SUPER check.

Zafira is a woman providing for her village the best way she knows how.  She disguises herself as “The Hunter” and braves the mysterious Arz forest to help feed her famly and village.  Nasir is known as the Prince of Death.  Assasin for the Sultan (who in turn is controlled by someone else), he thinks he has to kill in order to keep his place in the world.

The two are thrown together on a quest, for very different reasons, and ultimately learn to help each other out.  Even if they do “hate” each other.  There is a death early on in the journey that darn near broke me.  But I hope there are some magical shenanigans that might restore the character in the next book.  Also, MAJOR cliffhanger at the end.  One of the best parts of the books is “missing”.  This will propel the next adventure in the book, and I can’t wait to read what adventures they have in store.

One thing I wish this version had, was a glossary/pronunciation guide.  Some of the words needed explaining to this East Coast girl.  I fully admit my ignorance in the language, and like the “City of Brass” series, I enjoy learning about new cultures and languages.  I can’t wait for more in the future!