Tuesday 24 July 2018

A Lady's Guide to Etiquette and Murder (A Countess of Harleigh Mystery #1) by Dianne Freeman

A Lady's Guide to Etiquette and Murder (A Countess of Harleigh Mystery, #1)
In this exciting historical mystery debut set in Victorian England, a wealthy young widow encounters the pleasures—and scandalous pitfalls—of a London social season . . .

Frances Wynn, the American-born Countess of Harleigh, enjoys more freedom as a widow than she did as a wife. After an obligatory year spent mourning her philandering husband, Reggie, she puts aside her drab black gowns, leaving the countryside and her money-grubbing in-laws behind. With her young daughter in tow, Frances rents a home in Belgravia and prepares to welcome her sister, Lily, arriving from New York—for her first London season.

No sooner has Frances begun her new life than the ghosts of her old one make an unwelcome appearance. The Metropolitan police receive an anonymous letter implicating Frances in her husband’s death. Frances assures Inspector Delaney of her innocence, but she’s also keen to keep him from learning the scandalous circumstances of Reggie’s demise. As fate would have it, her dashing new neighbor, George Hazelton, is one of only two other people aware of the full story.

While busy with social engagements on Lily’s behalf, and worrying if Reggie really was murdered, Frances learns of mysterious burglaries plaguing London’s elite. The investigation brings death to her doorstep, and Frances rallies her wits, a circle of gossips, and the ever-chivalrous Mr. Hazelton to uncover the truth. A killer is in their midst, perhaps even among her sister’s suitors. And Frances must unmask the villain before Lily’s season—and their lives—come to a most unseemly end . . .  (Summary via Goodreads)

A Lady's Guide to Etiquette & Murder......what a title !!  A title of a book is the most important first step in getting a readers attention.  If the title captures your eye, just imagine what the story will do.  And if you're still unsure after reading the title, turn the book over and you'll read....

"In this exciting historical mystery debut set in Victorian England, a wealthy young widow encounters the pleasures -- and scandalous pitfalls -- of a London social season...."

I am a huge fan of historical mysteries as well as books set in England so I could not wait to dive into this debut book by Dianne Freeman.

A Lady's Guide to Etiquette & Murder introduces you to Frances Price-Wynn who is at the end of the mourning period for her husband, Reggie.  Frances not only cannot stand to wear black any more but she cannot bear to live in the Harleigh Manor with her husband's brother and family any longer.

Before she can get completely comfortable in her new home, she finds out her new neighbor is her best friend Fiona's brother, George.  As this may seem good news, the two of them have a dark moment in their past surrounding her husbands death.  As they renew their friendship, Francis' sister, Lily, comes to stay with her to enjoy the London Season.  This means a lot of parties, dinners, and hopefully, courting by a wealthy suitor.

The London Season should be everything fun and exciting, unfortunately for Frances it is everything but.  While secretly investigating the three men interested in her sister, she unfolds a bigger secret people are willing to kill for.

Dianne Freeman sets the stage quite nicely in this debut book and with an ending that will open the door for many more adventures for Frances and her trusty crew.  I look forward to the next installment.

Review by Missi S.

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