Saturday, March 18, 2017

A Death by Any Other Name: Lady Montfort Mystery

Welcome.  I will be featuring Girl in Disguise by Greer Macallister on Tuesday, March 21 as part of a blog tour.  It is set in 1856 in the city of Chicago.  If you appreciate Amish novels, The Ebb Tide by Beverly Lewis will be out on March 28.

A Death by Any Other Name by Tessa Arlen is the third book in the Lady Montfort Mystery series.  Mrs. Edith Jackson has just returned to Iyntwood (the house where she is the housekeeper) after a ten-day vacation.  Mrs. Jackson loves her job except for Lady Montfort’s new habit of involving herself in other’s problems (and she always manages to drag Mrs. Jackson in with her).  Mrs. Jackson is told there is a woman at the backdoor requesting to speak with her.  It is Beryl Armitage, the sister of Walter, the dairyman on the estate.  Beryl needs Lady Montfort assistance with a problem.  Five months prior Beryl had been let go from her position as cook at Hyde Castle.  A guest, Mr. Bartholomew, had died unexpectedly, and it was blamed on tainted dish of kedgeree.  Beryl knows the dish was fine when she sent it up to the dining room.  She had sampled the dish herself.  Beryl would like Lady Montfort to look into the case and clear her name.  She has been unable to get a job since she was fired because she has no reference.  Mrs. Jackson feels compelled to take the case to Lady Montfort.  Clementine (Lady Montfort) wants to help Mrs. Armitage and quickly arranges a visit to Hyde Castle.  She has the perfect reason to visit with renowned flower expert, Miss Jekyll.  Mrs. Maud Haldane has created the Hyde Rose Society and the members are currently staying at Hyde Castle.  The group welcomes a chance to speak with the renowned Miss Jekyll.  Clementine, Miss Jekyll, and Mrs. Jackson head off to Hyde Castle.  Lady Montfort hopes to get the bottom of Mr. Bartholomew’s death with the help of Mrs. Jackson.  Can this duo clear Beryl Armitage’s name and bring Mr. Bartholomew’s killer to justice?

A Death by Any Other Name is the third book in the series, but can easily be read alone.  The author provides readers with the necessary details to understand and read the story.  Lady Montfort is a delightful character.  I like her spirit, intelligence, and desire to help others.  It is wonderful that her husband endorses her pursuits.  The story is set in August of 1914 just as war is about to break out in Europe.  A time of great change for England.  I appreciated the setting and time period.  The author did a good job at capturing the history and how people behaved in the big houses of England.  I give A Death by Any Other Name 3 out of 5 stars.  I did feel that the pace of the novel was lethargic and the novel was too long in length (it really needed to be shortened).  I found information about the case to be repeated throughout the story as well as a few other details.  The mystery was complex and the author provides several suspects (any one of them could have done the deed).  I liked the method of murder and how the killer achieved it.  The writing style was a little formal which made the book hard to get into and enjoy.  I believe the idea and characters have potential.  The book just needs a less stilted/stuffy writing style.  The first two books in a Lady Montfort Mystery series are Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman and Death Sits Down to Dinner.

I sincerely hope you have a lovely Saturday.  The weather has warmed up in our area so it is once again back to t-shirts and capri pants.  I will return soon to share another book review with you. Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

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