A Perilous Undertaking by Deanna Raybourn

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A Perilous Undertaking is the second book in Deanna Raybourn’s Veronica Speedwell series of Victorian era mystery. I enjoyed the first book in this series a couple of years ago, but I have only recently been able to read this book.

Readers should definitely read the first book in the series before tackling this one. Not only are there major revelations, but readers will appreciate the simmering tension between Veronica and Stoker. I will allude to some of these revelations from the first book because they are central to the second book, but I will not reveal anything outright.

Veronica finds herself tasked with another mystery to solve: Miles Ramsforth, a famous patron of the arts, has been accused of murdering his mistress. He has been convicted of the crime, and he is going to be hanged in less than a fortnight. However, someone very important- with connections to Veronica’s mysterious parentage- has reason to believe that Miles has been framed. Read more

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Suitors and Sabotage by Cindy Anstey

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Suitors and Sabotage is Cindy Anstey’s third novel. I was very excited about the opportunity to read this book because I’ve enjoyed her other books. The novels are unconnected, but they all take place in Regency England, which is one of my favorite historical eras.

Imogene Chively has just finished her first Season in London, and is looking forward to spending the summer with her family and friends as they take turns hosting each other at a series of house parties. One of her suitors has received permission to visit her; Imogene is not particularly interested in pursuing a courtship with the young man, but she doesn’t really have much of a choice in the matter. When the earnest young man- named Ernest, of course- arrives, he brings his brother Ben along as well.

Imogene discovers that she has a lot more in common with Ben. They develop a rapport quickly, and Imogene agrees to give Ben art lessons to bolster his skills as a budding architect. Read more

Jolly Foul Play by Robin Stevens

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Jolly Foul Play is a middle grade novel written by Robin Stevens. It is the fourth Wells & Wong Mystery that features Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong, the intrepid schoolgirl sleuths. I was very excited about the opportunity to read this book with my oldest daughter because I had a feeling she would like it.

Hazel and Daisy are back at Deepdean for another year, and there have been a lot of changes. Elizabeth, the new Head Girl, is very cruel to the younger girls. She and her five friends rule the school, and there are severe repercussions for the most minor of infractions. On Bonfire Night, Elizabeth is found dead on the playing field. The Headmistress insists it was an accident, but Hazel and Daisy are convinced that it is murder- especially after someone begins releasing secrets about the girls at the school. It is time for the Detective Society to reconvene and solve their fourth murder! Read more

Why Kill the Innocent by C.S. Harris

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Why Kill the Innocent is the thirteenth book in C.S. Harris’ Sebastian St. Cyr series of Regency-era historical mysteries. I was excited about the opportunity to read this book because I read the twelfth book last year and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, is thrust into yet another mystery when a well-born woman is found dead on a London street. Jane Ambrose was no ordinary woman; she was a talented musician, who was working as Princess Charlotte’s piano instructor. The palace insists that Jane’s death was merely an unfortunate accident, but Sebastian suspects that something is being covered up. As he conducts interviews, Sebastian realizes that there are multiple possibilities surrounding Jane’s murder, but he remains determined to explore all avenues in his search for justice. Read more

S.T.A.G.S. by M.A. Bennett

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S.T.A.G.S. is a young adult novel written by M.A. Bennett. This book had piqued my interest because I love boarding school stories, and I was very excited when I finally had the opportunity to read it.

Greer is a new student at St. Aidan the Great, a posh English boarding school. She doesn’t really fit in with her peers, so needless to say, she is quite surprised when she receives an invitation to spend the weekend at the country estate of the most popular boy in the school. Henry and his friends are collectively known as the Medievals, and they serve as school prefects.

Greer is enchanted by the sumptuous estate, and flattered by the attention from Henry. She’s so wrapped up in these superficial details that she fails to notice that the weekend of “Huntin’, Shootin’, and Fishin’” has taken a sinister turn. She and her fellow guests must band together if they are going to survive the weekend. Read more

Moab Is My Washpot by Stephen Fry

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Moab Is My Washpot is actor Stephen Fry’s memoir/autobiography. The title of this book is derived from a quote in a P.G Wodehouse book, which in turn is derived from a Biblical reference. I was already familiar with the fictionalized version of his turbulent adolescence in his novel The Liar, but I only discovered this memoir in the last couple of weeks.

Stephen Fry has made an illustrious career for himself, one that spans nearly four decades. This memoir, however, is limited to his first 18 years. Stephen spent most of his childhood at boarding school, where he experienced all sorts of Dickensian horrors. When things go awry at school, Stephen revolts at the plan to keep his life on track, and embarks on a crime spree. Despite his attempts to sabotage himself, Stephen manages to find a place at Cambridge. This memoir does not cover those years, but of course, fans will know that this is where Fry will fall in with lifelong friends like Hugh Laurie and Emma Thompson. Read more

A Fashionable Indulgence by K.J. Charles

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A Fashionable Indulgence is the first book in K.J Charles’ A Society of Gentlemen series of Regency-era m/m historical romance novels. I ended up reading the series in reverse order, so I was excited about finally reading the beginning.

Harry Vane spent his childhood in hiding because his parents were political agitators who had to flee the country. He is working in a printer’s shop when his grandfather tracks him down. Harry is introduced to his cousin Richard, and plans are made to turn Harry into the gentleman he was born to be.

Richard turns over responsibility for this miraculous transformation to his friend Julius, so Harry and Julius retire to Richard’s country house. Julius is an expert in the art of being a gentleman, but considering that Harry knows absolutely nothing, Julius has his work cut out for him! Read more

Murder at Half Moon Gate by Andrea Penrose

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Murder at Half Moon Gate is the second book in Andrea Penrose’s Wrexford & Sloane Regency-era historical mystery series. I enjoyed reading the first book in the series, and I was looking forward to happen next in the series.

The Earl of Wrexford stumbles upon a body in an alley, and he realizes immediately that this is not a random incident of a hapless soul wandering into a dangerous neighborhood. Wrex doesn’t intend to involve himself with another mystery so soon after the last incident, but after meeting with the man’s widow, he feels that it is his duty to look into what led up to the victim’s brutal death.

Wrex knows that he isn’t going to be able to piece the details together without the insight of his new friend Mrs. Charlotte Sloane. Together, they pore over the clues and attempt to rule out the various suspects. But someone was killed for the information at the crux of this case, and the perpetrators would certainly be willing to kill again. Read more

Lord Dashwood Missed Out by Tessa Dare

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Lord Dashwood Missed Out is a novella written by Tessa Dare. It is book 4.5 in Dare’s Spindle Cove series of Regency-era historical romance novels. I’ve only read the last book in this series, but this novella worked well because it is only tangentially related to the Spindle Cove books.

Nora Browning is traveling to Spindle Cove to participate in a dramatic reading of her writing. But when she arrives at the inn before her last leg of the journey, she discovers that the coach has already left. And if things couldn’t get any worse, she runs into the last man she expected to see- Lord Dashwood, who grew up on a neighboring estate.

This is exceptionally problematic because Nora’s famous essay is entitled Lord Ashwood Missed Out. Needless to say, Dash has questions about this allegedly fictional essay, and he agrees to transport Nora to her destination. And then if things aren’t awkward enough, the carriage breaks down, and Dash and Nora are forced to take refuge in an abandoned cabin. Will Dash ever receive an adequate explanation for what he missed out on all those years ago? Read more

Death of an Unsung Hero by Tessa Arlen

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Death of an Unsung Hero is a historical mystery by Tessa Arlen. It is the fourth book in her WWI era Lady Montfort mystery series. I have read the first book in the series, so I was excited about the opportunity to read this latest addition.

WWI has brought some changes to the Montforts- their manor house now serves as a rehabilitation center for officers affected by “neurasthenia”, more commonly known as shell-shock. Everyone seems to be making wonderful progress, but then one of the officers is found dead in the garden and all signs point to murder.

There are many in the village who think poorly of the men staying at the house; they believe they are cowards who are shirking their duty, and that diseases of the “nerves” don’t exist. Could one of them have killed the officer? Or perhaps one of the other men staying at the house imagined that he was back in the trenches and lashed out, with deadly consequences. It is up to Lady Montfort and her housekeeper Mrs. Jackson to figure out what happened before the medical board closes down the manor house. Read more