Posted in Loved It, Mystery

Malice at the Palace

 

Author:     Rhys Bowen

Genre:       Mystery

Rating:       L

Synopsis:
From the New York Times betselling author of Queen of Hearts comes another mystery for “fans of P.G. Wodehouse looking for laughs mingled with some amateur sleuthing.” (Publishers Weekly) Lady Georgiana Rannoch won’t deny that being thirty-fifth in line for the British throne has its advantages. Unfortunately, money isn’t one of them. And sometimes making ends meet requires her to investigate a little royal wrongdoing. While my beau Darcy is off on a mysterious mission, I am once again caught between my high birth and empty purse. I am therefore relieved to receive a new assignment from the Queen—especially one that includes lodging. The King’s youngest son, George, is to wed Princess Marina of Greece, and I shall be her companion at the supposedly haunted Kensington Palace. My duties are simple: help Marina acclimate to English life, show her the best of London and, above all, dispel any rumors about George’s libertine history. Perhaps that last bit isn’t so simple. George is known for his many affairs with women as well as men—including the great songwriter Noel Coward. But things truly get complicated when I search the Palace for a supposed ghost only to encounter an actual dead person: a society beauty said to have been one of Prince George’s mistresses. Nothing spoils a royal wedding more than murder, and the Queen wants the whole matter hushed. But as the investigation unfolds—and Darcy, as always, turns up in the most unlikely of places—the investigation brings us precariously close to the prince himself.

Opinion:  I really liked the fact that this story really starts to progress the series.  I mean from the standpoint of character development.  One thing I will say about the previous books is that the characters really didn’t seem to change much.  Well, this book is completely different.  Georgie’s older brother changes in that he makes it more clear that Georgie has a home with him.  Belinda changes because she gets herself into an interesting predicament for a woman during that time; and there will be repurcussions for quite some time.  Then there is Georgie’s mother who finally takes note of the fact that her daughter is penniless and tells her to ask if she ever needs anything.  (I personally think she should just give her daughter an allowance, but that’s me).  Lastly there is Georgie and Darcy.  They’ve been playing the we-are-engaged-but-some-times-it’s-not-so-clear dance for ages.  It’s finally nice to see some closure to that.  There was an interesting supernatural element to the story that has not been present in the previous books.  What I particularly liked was the fact that most of the story took place at Kensington Palace where Prince William and Duchess Kate have the 1A apartment.  The mystery didn’t take place in that particular apartment though.  

Another great read by the author.  I cannot wait to see what she does with Darcy and Georgie in the next book.  

Posted in Loved It, Mystery, Regency

The Suspicion at Sanditon

  

Author:     Carrie Bebris

Genre:       Mystery

Rating:      L

Synopsis:

Suspicion at Sanditon, a new adventure in Carrie Bebris’s award-winning Mr.&Mrs. Darcy Mystery series takes Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth Darcy to Sanditon, the setting of Jane Austen’s final work. There, accompanied by their friend Miss Charlotte Heywood, they encounter an array of eccentric villagers and visitors. Among Sanditon’s most prominent residents: Lady Denham, a childless, twice-widowed dowager with a fortune to bequeath and a flight of distant relations circling for a place in her will.

The Darcys have scarcely settled into their lodgings when Lady Denham unexpectedly invites them to a dinner party. Thirteen guests assemble at Sanditon House-but their hostess never appears. As a violent storm rises, a search for Lady Denham begins. The Darcys, like most of their fellow attendees, speculate that one of her ladyship’s would-be heirs has grown impatient .?.?. until the guests start to vanish one by one.

Does a kidnapper lurk in the centuries-old mansion, or is a still more sinister force at work? As the night grows short, the dwelling’s population grows thin, and tales of Sanditon House’s storied past emerge, Mr. and Mrs. Darcy find themselves leading a desperate effort to discover what has happened to Lady Denham and the missing guests, before they all-perhaps even Elizabeth and Darcy themselves-disappear.

The Regency era’s answer to Nick and Nora Charles, the Darcys once again demonstrate their quick wits and signature wit as they search for the truth-universally acknowledged and otherwise.

Opinion:  Sanditon is the only novel that Jane Austen did not finish.  I have read the attempts of “Another Lady” to finish the novel.  She did an excellent job.  I thought it was quite interesting that Ms. Bebris also paired the same two characters in the original story.  

As for the story.  I really enjoyed it.  At one point, I was scratching my head because so many characters were going missing.  It didn’t occur to me that there was more than one plot afoot in this whole escapade.  One of the culprits, I should have guess based upon what I knew of the original Sanditon novel as well as Sanditon completion.  The other culprit never occurred to me. 

This was definitely an enjoyable read.  

The only question left is what will be the subject of Ms. Bebris’ next novel?  My money is on her writing a mystery about the infamous Lady Susan or perhaps she will tackle Love and Freindship.  I think Lady Susan is more likely as there is a lot more story there.  

Posted in Mystery, Rated E

A Pocket Full of Rye

Sing a song of six pence a pocket full of rye,
Four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie,
When the pie was opened the birds began to sing,
Wasn’t that a dainty dish to set before the King?
The King was in his counting house, counting all his money,
The Queen was in the parlor eating bread and honey,
The maid was in the garden hanging out the clothes
Along came a little dickey bird and nipped off her nose.

I’m sure all of use remember this little song from when we were children. In the hands of Dame Agatha Christie, this little ditty becomes a diabolical plot for murder.

Rex Fortescue, a rich businessman, is killed in his office. Oddly enough, he has a pocket full of grain. He was a right detestable fellow. The only question is why he wasn’t killed sooner!!! The police make their journey to the victim’s home at Yewtree Lodge. The suspicion falls on the usual suspects: the ultra-glam wife decades younger than him, the eldest son who was on the outs with him, a daughter who had her beau chased away by him, the disowned younger son, the unbalanced butler. Not to mention the widow and children of a man he probably left to die in Africa. The man certainly had no lack of enemies. But then there’s the question of how he was poisoned. It wasn’t in the tea, breakfast, or lunch.

The case becomes stranger still when the ultra-glam wife ends up dead in the parlor having scones and honey, and the maid is found a few hours later near the clothesline with a clothespin on her nose. The police are quite baffled. Enter Miss Marple. Miss Marple has a vested interest in finding the killer; the maid, Gladys Martin, had been an orphan Miss Marple trained to be a maid. Miss Marple and the police follow the clue of the blackbirds to find the killer.

This book was a little different from the other Miss Marple mysteries. In the other ones, Miss Marple is introduced fairly early on in the book. Most of the story is told from Miss Marple’s perspective. In this story, Miss Marple wasn’t introduced until the middle of the story. Most of the story is told from Inspector Neele’s perspective with moments of Miss Marple thrown in.
The ending surprised me a great deal. This story, like Cat Among the Pigeons, had more than one criminal plot going on. What was really interesting is that if Miss Marple had waited a day or two before going to Yewtree Lodge, she would have known who the murderer was from the beginning. It was ironic. Anyway, this is definitely one you should get from Barnes & Noble.