A Ladys Guide to Mischief and Murder

by Dianne Freeman

Publishers Weekly In Agatha Award–winner Freeman’s uneven third mystery set in late Victorian England (after 2019’s A Lady’s Guide to Gossip and Murder), George Hazelton, the secret fiancÚ of widowed Frances Wynn, the Countess of Harleigh, agrees to host a discreet wedding for Frances’s pregnant sister, Lily, at his family’s country estate, Risings, in an effort to avoid scandal. Trouble arises at Risings after a footman dies from what looks like accidental arsenic poisoning, a family friend is wounded by an arrow, and Lily’s fiancÚ, Leo Kendrick, takes a bullet in the shoulder. Guessing that Leo is the real target, Frances and George probe various suspects, including Leo’s brother-in-law, who resents not making partner in the Kendrick family business. Meanwhile, Frances copes with her combative social-climbing mother and a new fear: what if George too is also in danger? The introduction of a host of secondary characters slows the opening, and the footman’s is the only death. Once the investigation gets going, however, the action builds to a strong denouement. Hopefully, Freeman will return to form next time. Agent: Melissa Edwards, Stonesong Literary. (Aug.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Publishers Weekly In Agatha Award–winner Freeman’s uneven third mystery set in late Victorian England (after 2019’s A Lady’s Guide to Gossip and Murder), George Hazelton, the secret fiancÚ of widowed Frances Wynn, the Countess of Harleigh, agrees to host a discreet wedding for Frances’s pregnant sister, Lily, at his family’s country estate, Risings, in an effort to avoid scandal. Trouble arises at Risings after a footman dies from what looks like accidental arsenic poisoning, a family friend is wounded by an arrow, and Lily’s fiancÚ, Leo Kendrick, takes a bullet in the shoulder. Guessing that Leo is the real target, Frances and George probe various suspects, including Leo’s brother-in-law, who resents not making partner in the Kendrick family business. Meanwhile, Frances copes with her combative social-climbing mother and a new fear: what if George too is also in danger? The introduction of a host of secondary characters slows the opening, and the footman’s is the only death. Once the investigation gets going, however, the action builds to a strong denouement. Hopefully, Freeman will return to form next time. Agent: Melissa Edwards, Stonesong Literary. (Aug.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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