Wednesday 25 January 2023

A Fashionable Fatality (A Lady & Lady's Maid Mystery #8) by Alyssa Maxwell

A house party attended by fashion royalty becomes the backdrop for a murder that only Lady Phoebe Renshaw and her lady's maid, Eva Huntford, can untangle . . .

Amid the aftermath of the Great War and its hardships, it's no wonder that many wish to rediscover life's pleasures--parties, fashion, dancing. Still, Lady Phoebe and Eva are disconcerted when a small gathering at the home of Phoebe's sister, Julia, becomes a far larger and more glamorous affair . . .

Julia has invited her favorite French fashion designer, Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel, and Coco's current beau, the Earl of Chesterhaven. Coco has brought an entourage of her own, including two models, and intends to use the gardens as a photographic setting for her latest creations.

Madame Chanel is as outspoken as she is talented, offering a scathing critique of Phoebe's fashion sense. There is tense competition between the models as well. When one of the guests is found dead of smoke inhalation, it appears to be a tragic accident. But was a footman really to blame for mistakenly closing the fireplace flue, or is there a more sinister explanation?

Phoebe is determined to find out, despite the protestations of her sweetheart, Owen Seabright. Both above and below stairs, Phoebe and Eva uncover myriad motives--career ambition, romantic rivalries, and even deeper betrayals. For despite the surface beauty, there are ugly secrets in the world of Maison Chanel, ones that a killer will risk anything to protect.  (Summaty via Goodreads)

Fans of the Lady and Lady's Maid Mystery series by Alyssa Maxwell are going to LOVE A Fashionable Fatality  !!

A Fashionable Fatality is the eighth book in this series and if you've read the previous seven, this one will become your favorite.  In A Fashionable Fatality main characters Phoebe and her maid Eva will be leaving Foxwood Hall where they live and traveling to Allerton Place. Allerton Place is the home of Phoebe's older sister, Julia, and her new husband Theo, Marquess of Allerton.

Phoebe is very excited to be visiting her sister but soon learns that there are others visiting as well.  Mademoiselle Gabrielle Chanel, "Coco" to friends is a clothing designer and she is there with her current boyfriend but she invites members of her group to come so that she can use the gardens and surrounding areas to use as photoshoots.  Included in the group are two mannequins which in today's time are called models.  And to Phoebe's surprise Julia has invited her beau, Owen Seabright.

Phoebe is caught up in the dynamics of the whole modeling aspect and cannot get enough of the group of people...some she likes, others not so much.  And Eva is roped into working with the group to help prepare the clothing for the models.

Unfortunately one night eveyone is woken up thinking there is a fire which turns out to be just smoke and it was confined in one room....Suzette's, one of the models and she dies from smoke inhalation.  Of course Phoebe and Eva do not believe it was an accident and insist that the chimney and fireplace be inspected.  After inspection it is deemed that it was highly unlikely to have been a faulty part but the situation is still declared an accident.

This "accident" puts the two on high alert and they decide to find out everything they can about the people staying uninvited at Allerton Place.  They also soon learn that Julia will have no talk of murder and wrongdoings so they have to act fast and quietly.

Readers will be drawn into this story immediately !! You cannot help but love that fact that the story takes readers to somewhere outside of Foxwood Hall allowing you to get to know Julia and her life better.  Seeing as in previous books Julia has been a handful and unhappy, to see her now more relaxed, happy and in love is such a treat !!   

And I will tell you to forget about trying to solve the murder before Phoebe and Eva do, it is pointless.  Maxwell provides a crafty group of individuals and any one of them could be capable of murder and the reasons why will be astonishing.  Best advice I can give you is to open the book, sit back and get comfortable because you will be there for a while.  You will not want to stop reading.  And if you haven't read the previous books in this series, I highly recommend doing so......this is a series and group of people you will want to escape with !!!!

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