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What Ladies don’t do

A Lady's Guide to Mischief and Murder Book Cover A Lady's Guide to Mischief and Murder
A Countess of Harleigh Mystery Book 3
Dianne Freeman
Fiction, Historical, Mystery, Murder
Kensington Publishing
July 28, 2020
304

In Dianne Freeman's charming Victorian-era mystery series, Frances Wynn, the American-born Countess of Harleigh, finds her sister's wedding threatened by a vow of vengeance. London is known for its bustle and intrigues, but the sedate English countryside can host--or hide--any number of secrets. Frances, the widowed Countess of Harleigh, needs a venue for her sister Lily's imminent wedding, away from prying eyes. Risings, George Hazleton's family estate in Hampshire, is a perfect choice, and soon Frances, her beloved George, and other guests have gathered to enjoy the usual country pursuits--shooting, horse riding, and romantic interludes in secluded gardens. But the bucolic setting harbors a menace, and it's not simply the arrival of Frances's socially ambitious mother. Above and below stairs, mysterious accidents befall guests and staff alike. Before long, Frances suspects these "accidents" are deliberate, and fears that the intended victim is Lily's fiancé, Leo. Frances's mother is unimpressed by Lily's groom-to-be and would much prefer that Lily find an aristocratic husband, just as Frances did. But now that Frances has found happiness with George--a man who loves her for much more than her dowry--she heartily approves of Lily's choice. If she can just keep the couple safe from villains and meddling mamas. As Frances and George search for the culprit among the assembled family, friends, and servants, more victims fall prey to the mayhem. Mishaps become full-blooded murder, and it seems that no one is safe. And unless Frances can quickly flush out the culprit, the peal of wedding bells may give way to another funeral toll. . . .

I don’t know if this had a previous book and was the second in a series – it did read as though it was and there was information about Frances and George that we were missing. However, I tried to ignore the fact that I really wanted to know more about how they had met, and what, if anything, his job/occupation had to do with it, as I could quite imagine a good story that was missing, as this story was different. NB I found out later that this was book 3 in a series.

Certainly, I have never encountered a house party story with quite so many ‘accidents’. That clearly were intended for someone – but hadn’t yet quite managed to complete their intention.

It did look as though one particular person was the intended victim, but the clues were also there for yet others to be the victim – or victims.

Not a deep book nor is the story a psychological thriller, but a fun murder and mayhem type of plot that would make great dinner theatre.

I’m giving it 4 as a play rather than a novel.

Ps – the fashion as you can see is not intended for any sports – and I remember my grandmother wearing a similar corset and that might explain why she claimed an 18 inch waist on marriage! Note that Bloomers for women were similar to golfing trousers and came in as women attempted to ride a bike in their dresses and found that they couldn’t!

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Ruby not so red and shiny

Ruby Book Cover Ruby
Ladies of the Night #2
By Taylor Lee
women's adventure fiction. erotic
kindle

Ladies of the Night is “USA Today best-selling author Taylor Lee’s provocative new series. The Ladies are covert agents in a secretive, off the grid security organization. Highly trained fighters, they’re as gorgeous as they are dangerous to the evil men they’re hired to bring to justice. The only thing these formidable women are NOT is “ladies.”

Praise for The Ladies of the Night OMNIBUS Collection…

"Taylor Lee never disappoints! These books are sizzling hot and keep you guessing at every turn. The sexiest special operatives ever!J. John
“Spellbinding international thrillers that will have you on the edge of your seat. Pulse pounding action and steamy romance. A cast of unforgettable characters that will capture your heart.” Action Junkie

WARNING: Romance so HOT it singes the pages. HOT, tough, explicit. Not for the faint at heart.

The Ladies of the Night OMNIBUS Collection includes:

“Sapphire”… Book 1: Sapphire is hired to seduce and capture the leader of a lucrative international human trafficking enterprise. The only thing more challenging than the villain to the fiercely independent Sapphire is her commanding partner.

Ruby”…Book 2: Ruby is a diminutive, red-headed vixen. But don’t let her size fool you. The fierce firebrand is as accomplished with a knife and Glock 19 as she is bringing men to their feet with her womanly wiles.

“Topaz”…Book 3: Topaz is a mixed-race Zoe Saldana look-a-like. As mysterious as her heritage, a hideous incident in Topaz’s troubled past gives her a dangerous connection to the international Cartel leader at the top of the DEA’s most wanted list
“Diamond”…Book 4: Diamond founded Ladies of the Night after she was fired by the third off the grid security firm for not being a “team player”. In a deadly mix of murder, lust and politics, Diamond finds herself faced with losing her company or her heart—or both.
Love Kaylea Cross's heart pounding romantic mystery thrillers? Sylvia Day’s and Maya Banks red hot sexy heroes, feisty heroines and high adrenaline action? Fern Michael’s compelling characters? Grab Ladies of the Night and prepare to be addicted.

The 2nd Ladies of the Night operative – actually the first recruited but 2nd book. With red hair, hence the nickname for the group.

And 5 foot 8 inches is not tall for a woman, only slightly above average height – if 5 foot 6 is ideal then…

This story was reading quite well until suddenly, just like the last 5 minutes of every TV cop programme with just a 45 min (ex adverts slot), the villain is unmasked and all is settled . just like that. No real climax .

So 3 stars for the author not knowing how to end the story, and not really dealing with the romance properly. It would have benefitted from being written from Noah’s point of view occasionally as so many stories are told now.

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Brontes again? Why?

The Vanished Bride Book Cover The Vanished Bride
Bella Ellis
historical fiction, historical crime, women sleuths
Hodder and Stoughton
November 7, 2019
352

The year is 1845, and Emily, Charlotte and Anne Bronte are sat around the dining room table, laughing merrily as the rain of their Yorkshire summer falls outside. When their brother, Branwell, returns from The Bull Inn, he brings with him the most shocking revelation: that Elizabeth Chester, wife of Robert Chester and mistress of Chester Grange has gone missing - but the bloody scene found in her bedroom suggests she may have been murdered. The governess at Chester Grange is Matilda French, a close friend of Charlotte's, who resolves to pay her a visit the following day. At Chester Grange, the sisters make the acquaintance of Robert, a rumoured cruel man, who is suspected of having driven his first wife to suicide. Determined that he should be brought to justice, the sisters throw themselves into solving the case. As everyone knows, solving a murder requires sense, morals and a very good imagination - qualities which these sisters have more than enough of...

The idea of this book is great, but somehow, for me, the execution didn;t work. I found the Bronte girls 2 dimensional and the gypsy too stereotypical.

I didn’t manage to finish the book. There is one good statement however, one which many of these historical genre novels emphasise, that women were considered property and thus the authorities – who were all men, and of which there few enough, were not bothered to investigate fully, if at all. Detectives were just coming in in London at this time and not further afield.

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Flower shops again

Death and a Dozen Roses Book Cover Death and a Dozen Roses
[Rosie McKay Mystery] (The Pre-quel Flower Shop Mysteries Book 1)
By Annie Adams
Cosy, crime, Womensleuths
2017

Cupid went a little too far this Valentines Day...

Rosie thought she'd left her dangerous life behind when she opened her flower shop. But Valentine's Day turns deadly when she finds Cupid's bow and a corpse while delivering roses. She just might have to dust ​off some of her old sleuthing skills to get out of this mess.

​And she'll have to decide what to do about the handsome detective who knows too much about her past.

Here we have the [proverbial] flower shop on Valentine’s Day – busy busy busy and then things go wrong. As a result of which Rosie finds herself embroiled in murder and sets out to try and find the murderer herself – to the frustration of the local police force – especially her boyfriend  – ex? still? –  who tries to stop her interfering.

In many ways a tried and repeated formula – with a small town gal solving murders better than the police and lots of scandals coming to light as a result. These rural American small towns seem to be hotbeds of scandal – lots of fraud, corruption and sex…

Not a unique formula and thus despite the fun writing style, I have marked it down for lack of imagination.

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What Engagement?

Engaged in Trouble Book Cover Engaged in Trouble
Enchanted Events Mysteries #1
Jenny B. Jones
Sweet Pea Productions; 1 edition
(30 Mar. 2017)

When a washed-up pop star inherits a wedding planning business, it’s all bouquets and bliss until a bride turns up dead.

Paisley Sutton shot to stardom as a teenage rock sensation, but ten years later that star has fizzled out, just like her bank account. When she unexpectedly inherits her aunt’s wedding planning business, Paisley leaves the glamour of Los Angeles for a charming small town in Arkansas. Thinking she’ll arrive in Sugar Creek and liquidate the moldy property, Paisley’s shocked to find Enchanted Events has experienced a major makeover and is now the place for brides. She’s got two months to keep Enchanted Events afloat if she wants to sell and rekindle her music career with the profits.

Paisley’s tossed into a world of vows and venues, but her most difficult challenge comes in the form of one demanding bride. When this Bridezilla’s found facedown in her cake, all fingers point to Paisley as the prime murder suspect. And she does not look good in prison orange.

This former pop princess will need the help of her gun-toting, ex-CIA grandmother and her handsome neighbor, Beau Hudson, to unravel the mystery and clear her good name. As she and her unruly posse dig into Bridezilla’s life, she discovers the woman had a long list of enemies. The closer Paisley gets to the truth, the more her own life is in danger.

Love is in the air this wedding season, but before Paisley can help the ladies of Sugar Creek say, “I do,” she’s got to unveil a killer. Or find herself the next target.

Engaged in Trouble is the first book in the long-awaited Enchanted Events cozy mystery series by award-winning author Jenny B. Jones. If you like laugh-out-loud adventures, small-town romance, unforgettable, sassy characters, and a mystery to keep you guessing, then you’ll love this new page-turning series.

I started reading this and found it quite enjoyable but by chapter 20 I was wondering if we were actually getting anywhere with the story. There was no humour in the story-telling and for me, the relationship between Beau and Paisley lacked tension.

The story dragged. Chapter 27 and still only 61% through the book.. and I lost interest in finding out the ending.

For me I thought that the central part of the story needed tightening up with a lot of editing and humour would have helped the story along. I failed to find what was included funny…

3 stars – just

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