Tuesday 24 September 2019

A Lady's Guide to Gossip and Murder (Countess of Harleigh Mystery #2) by Dianne Freeman

A Lady's Guide to Gossip and Murder (A Countess of Harleigh Mystery #2)

How far will some go to safeguard a secret? In the latest novel in Dianne Freeman’s witty and delightful historical mystery series, the adventurous Countess Harleigh finds out . . .
Though American by birth, Frances Wynn, the now-widowed Countess of Harleigh, has adapted admirably to the quirks and traditions of the British aristocracy. On August twelfth each year, otherwise known as the Glorious Twelfth, most members of the upper class retire to their country estates for grouse-shooting season. Frances has little interest in hunting—for birds or a second husband—and is expecting to spend a quiet few months in London with her almost-engaged sister, Lily, until the throng returns.

Instead, she’s immersed in a shocking mystery when a friend, Mary Archer, is found murdered. Frances had hoped Mary might make a suitable bride for her cousin, Charles, but their courtship recently fizzled out. Unfortunately, this puts Charles in the spotlight—along with dozens of others. It seems Mary had countless notes hidden in her home, detailing the private indiscretions of society’s elite. Frances can hardly believe that the genteel and genial Mary was a blackmailer, yet why else would she horde such juicy tidbits?

Aided by her gallant friend and neighbor, George Hazelton, Frances begins assisting the police in this highly sensitive case, learning more about her peers than she ever wished to know. Too many suspects may be worse than none at all—but even more worrying is that the number of victims is increasing too. And unless Frances takes care, she’ll soon find herself among them . . .
    (Summary via Goodreads)

Reading a novel set in the late 1800's is so relaxing....even if it is about blackmail, fraud and murder !!  A Lady's Guide to Gossip and Murder by Dianne Freeman takes the reader back in time when life was simpler in a way....no cell phones, men were total gentlemen, and gossip was strictly frowned upon.....but it also makes things like murder and blackmail a lot harder to solve.  Although Lady Harleigh tends to make it look easy to the reader.

Lady Harleigh is trying to prevent her sister, Lily,  from making the same mistake that she made by attempting to get her to hold off from announcing her engagement to Leo.  Even though she knows that they love each other and their relationship is nothing like that of Frances and her late husband but as it is her younger sister, she feels she must look out for her.  Unfortunately when her friend, Mary Archer, is found murdered in her own home, Frances' neighbor, George, looks to her to help go through paperwork to help solve her murder.   When they find out that Mary was writing the Miss Information gossip column for the local newspaper, their list of suspects becomes quite long as they decipher some of Mary's notes.....and then when another employee of the newspaper is found murdered in the office, it becomes very important to Frances to solve both murders !!

It is so fun to read stories written when times were simplier and there was less technology and solving cases of murder were more difficult due to lack of forensics and resources.  And time was different in that you had to send a note or take a carriage to visit someone and dropping in unexpectedly was frowned upon.   I thorough enjoy the Countess of Harleigh Mystery series because of all those things and so much more.  I encourage readers to pick this book up or the first book in the series, A Lady's Guide to Etiquette and Murder, and take a journey back in time.......

Review by Missi M.

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