Book Notes Review A Limited Edition Murder by Lauren Elliott

Thanks to NetGalley and Kensington for a free copy of the e-book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

 

Book cover for A Limited Edition Murder

A Limited Edition Murder

Book 10 in the Beyond The Page Mystery series
by Lauren Elliott

Publisher’s Summary

While in England, a first edition of Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights leads bookstore owner Addie Greyborne to a murder on the moors . . .

Although enjoying her extended stay working at Second Chance Books and Bindery in West Yorkshire, Addie still feels adrift—far from home, her friends, and her own beloved bookstore, Beyond the Page Books and Curios. The engagement party of her dear friend, Tony, at Milton Manor promises to be a joyful distraction. But there’s an ill wind blowing at the estate: When Tony presents his fiancé with a special copy of Wuthering Heights as an engagement gift, the lord of the manor insists the book was stolen from his library . . .

Things go from troubling to tragic when Addie takes her Yorkipoo, Pippi, out for a walk on the moors and stumbles across the body of a young woman. When the police suspect Tony of foul play, Addie vows to get to the bottom of what’s going on. But it’s a twisted, treacherous path to the truth and Addie will need to watch her every step . . .

 

My Thoughts

For A Limited Edition Murder, Addie Greyborne is living in England. Moving her to England adds new characters and new settings to the series. When the book starts, Addie has been in England for a year. She’s planning on returning home to Massachusetts after the engagement party of her good friend, Tony. She’s having mixed emotions about leaving England. She has a job she enjoys, and she’s made solid friendships she isn’t sure she’s ready to leave.
It’s a conflict that carries throughout the book—does she stay in England or return to Massachusetts?
One thing that is the same. Even in England, Addie finds herself caught up in a murder. She discovers a body on the moors, and she recognizes the woman from Tony’s engagement party from the night before. The investigation brings her into contact with Detective Inspector Noah Parker, former London Metropolitan Police detective. Sparks of irritation fly as they try to solve the murder.

I loved this book. I’ve read all the books in the series, and A Limited Edition Murder is the best book yet. The new British characters are well-written. The mystery is complicated and kept me guessing. A cold case is thrown into the mix, further complicating the story. And the ending! I’m already eager to read the next book in the series.

5/5 stars.

Lauren Elliott’s website

 

Other books in the series

Publisher’s Info

Publisher: Kensington Cozies
Genre: FICTION / MYSTERY & DETECTIVE / WOMEN SLEUTHS
Pages: 320
Pub date: 5/21/24
ISBN: 9781496735195

 

 

Book Notes: Of Mystery and Manners by Anastashia Hastings

Of Hoaxes and Homicide
A Dear Miss Hermione Mystery Book 2
by Anastasia Hastings

Summary here

My Thoughts

Violet Manville is the person behind Miss Hermione, the most popular agony aunt in Britain. It is a role that has also led to a side career in solving murders. This time, Violet receives a letter from a troubled mother. Her daughter has gotten caught up in a cult, the Children of Aed. This case will also draw in Violet’s half-sister, Sephora.

Sephora is the opposite of Violet, and this relationship kept me reading even after deducing the murderer’s identity fairly early in the book.

Sephora, unlike Violet, is an heiress. (Violet and Sephora had the same father.) The important things in her life are fashion, penny dreadfuls, and the boredom she’s fighting because the social season hasn’t started yet. Sephora’s character embodies society’s expectations of young woman born to wealth and class—to marry well.
Violet, however, hasn’t inherited a fortune from her mother, and she must work for a living. Thanks to her Aunt Adelia, Violet is now England’s most popular agony aunt, (Sephora is a huge fan) Miss Hermione. Adelia, the original Miss Hermione, dropped the job on Violet when Adelia left England for the Continent with her latest paramour. Compared to the exhilaration at solving a murder, the letters are driving Violet to distraction. Until the letter from the distraught mother, her daughter in a cult, and Violet is on another case.
This time, though, Violet isn’t on her own. Sephora is determined to help Violet, even if Violet doesn’t want her help. As the case unfolds, each character learns something new about the other. The growth of each character and the unfolding of their relationship is really what kept me engaged in Of Hoaxes and Homicide.

I enjoyed reading and following the changes in Violet, Sephora, and their relationship.

Recommended.

Thanks to #NetGalley and #Minotaurbooks for providing a copy of #OfHoaxesandHomicide in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

Publishing Info
Imprint: Minotaur Books
ISBN: 9781250848581
Page Count: 304
Genre: Mystery
On Sale:01/30/2024

Book Notes The Curse of Penryth Hall

Black background with red apples, a village skyline on the bottom and The Curse of Penryth Hall centered on the cover.

The Curse of Penryth Hall
by Jess Armstrong

The Curse of Penryth Hall is a historical cozy mystery with supernatural elements and Gothic overtones.

Summary

Ruby Vaughn has vowed to never return to Penryth Hall after the marriage of her best friend Tamsyn to Sir Edward Chenowyth. But her boss, Mr. Owen, has sent her to the village of Lothiel Green to deliver a trunk full of books to a man named Ruan Kivell. Before Ruby makes her delivery, she stops at the hall and finds a much-changed Tamsyn. Tamsyn is much thinner and has a bruised face. That evening at dinner, Ruby exchanges barbs with Sir Edward, until he excuses himself from dinner when he suddenly falls ill. The next morning his mutilated body is found by the housekeeper on the estate’s grounds. She insists the curse, which killed Edward’s uncle and his wife thirty years prior, is back and has killed Edward. When Tamsin hears the news, she insists the curse is coming for her next and forces Ruby to swear she will keep Tamsyn’s young son safe. Ruby’s scientific mind refuses to believe a curse is at work. She resolves to find the murderer behind Sir Edward’s death.

My Thoughts

This is a solid mystery with all sorts of twists and turns and an ending I didn’t see coming. The atmosphere is spooky with a castle falling into ruin and gloomy weather. Ruan Kivell, the local Pellar (a role which Ruan inhabits with mixed emotions), is a man with skill at healing others and putting Ruby’s emotions in turmoil. The verbal sparring between the two is funny and one of the best parts of the novel.
Ruby’s relationship with Tamsyn is complicated. They’ve been friends since Ruby was shipped from New York City to London after being seduced by an older married man when Ruby was sixteen. Ruined for a society marriage, her father sent her to live with his old friend and his family in London so Ruby could have a new start. At some point, Ruby wanted more from the relationship than Tamsyn could give-I think-and their friendship disintegrated. This relationship felt forced to me and distracted from the mystery.

Ruby is a deeply troubled character. Forced to leave home at such a young age, she loses her parents and younger sister years later at sea. She was an ambulance driver for the Great War, moving wounded soldiers from the front lines. Her relationship with Tamsyn fell apart during this period. Once Ruby returns to Penryth Hall, those old feelings for Tamsyn return, and Ruby doesn’t handle them well. Ruby becomes a bit self-centered and that was off-putting.

Overall thoughts

This isn’t a bad book. The mystery gets lost at times, and when that happened, I forgot why I was reading the book. As far as characters go, Ruan Kivell is the most interesting character, in my opinion. As far as the villagers are concerned, he has supernatural powers and is seen as the Pellar. Ruan is conflicted about his role and the pressure he is under to have all of the answers, especially when murder and an old curse is involved.

If historical mysteries set in the twenties, old English castles, and a hint of the supernatural is your thing, then this book may be for you. It really didn’t resonate with me, and if there are more books after this one, I probably won’t be reading them.

Thanks to #NetGalley and #St. Martin’s Press for a copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

Publisher
St. Martin’s Press, Minotaur Books
Genre: Mystery
Pages: 336
Pub date: 12/05/2023

Book Notes Review A Generation of Vipers

 

A Generation of Vipers

 Book 4 in the Dr. Nell Ward mystery series

 by Sarah Yarwood-Lovett

Summary

 A killer is hiding in plain sight, like a snake in the long grass… When Dr Nell Ward stumbles across a woman’s body amongst the purple heather on Furze Heath, she was on the lookout for nests of poisonous adders. But something is lurking out here far more dangerous than vipers. A cold-blooded killer is on the loose and this is not his first victim. As DI James Clark begins to investigate, a pattern emerges pointing towards this being the work of a serial killer. Every victim shares the same physical characteristics – all of which are a match to Nell herself. As Nell is pulled into a tightly coiled mystery, she can’t help feeling someone is tracking her every move… Can she unmask the murderer before they strike again? A completely gripping and page-turning cozy mystery, perfect for fans of Richard Osman, Janice Hallett and Robert Thorogood.

My Thoughts

Before reading A Generation of Vipers, I read the first three books, A Murder of Crows, A Cast of Falcons, A Mischief of Rats, in the series. While it isn’t necessary to read the first three, I recommend it. You’ll get a better understanding of the characters, their relationships to each other, and how they change throughout the series. I also have to mention the titles—all of them use collective nouns for the specific animal in the title. In other words, a group of crows is called a murder, a group of falcons is called a cast, rats are referred to as a mischief, and vipers are a den. The next two books in the series are titled the same way. Clever, but not surprising considering Sarah Yarwood-Lovett was an ecologist for 18 years prior to becoming an author. That experience comes through in A Generation of Vipers. Yarwood-Lovett has used that experience to create strong characters, especially Dr. Nell Ward. Nell is an ecologist, working for a company that conducts surveys of potentially ecologically valuable sites for clients. This career draws on knowledge of environmental concerns, but not in an over-bearing way. But as Nell goes about her job, this time conducting surveys on a construction site, she stumbles across a body and finds herself involved in another murder investigation. A scientist, Nell is smart and has an inquisitive mind. Qualities that also serve her well in murder investigations. But in A Generation of Vipers, Nell is in the crosshairs of a murderer, and her smarts may not be enough to save her. Some of the tropes present in the story are the English countryside/village, amateur female sleuth, friendship and tension with the local constabulary, and a tight community of people she can depend on when needed. The mystery kept me guessing all the way to the reveal. Yarwood-Lovett excels at planting red herrings and misdirection. At one point, early on, I was sure I had the mystery solved. But doubts set in as I kept reading, and when the killer was finally revealed I wasn’t even close, and I’m fine with that. Her characters are well-rounded and include several members of the local police department and her co-workers. Yarwood-Lovett also included a section at the end called “The Nature of the Crime.” In this part of the book, she talks a bit about her writing process. She also draws upon her extensive experience as an ecologist, explaining more about the methods and species included in the book. I’m glad she included it because I liked reading it. I enjoyed reading all the books in the series so far, and I’m looking forward to reading the next two books.

Thanks to #NetGalley and Embla book for a copy of #AGenerationOfVipers in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own.