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Lady Montfort has been planning her annual summer costume ball for months, and with scrupulous care. Pulling together the food, flowers and a thousand other details for one of the most significant social occasions of the year is her happily accepted responsibility. But when her husband's degenerate nephew is found murdered, it's more than the ball that is ruined. In fact, Lady Montfort fears that the official police enquiry, driven by petty snobbery and class prejudice, is pointing towards her son as a potential suspect.
Taking matters into her own hands, the rather over-imaginative countess enlists the help of her pragmatic housekeeper, Mrs. Jackson, to investigate the case, track down the women that vanished the night of the murder, and clear her son's name. As the two women search for a runaway housemaid and a headstrong young woman, they unearth the hidden lives of Lady Montfort's close friends, servants and family and discover the identity of a murderer hiding in plain sight.
In this enchanting debut sure to appeal to fans of Downton Abbey, Tessa Arlen draws readers into a world exclusively enjoyed by the rich, privileged classes and suffered by the men and women who serve them. Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman is an elegant mystery filled with intriguing characters and fascinating descriptions of Edwardian life—a superb treat for those who love British novels.
Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman by Tessa Arlen is the first book in a delightful historical mystery series. I’m a big fan of Downton Abbey, and when I heard of the Lady Montfort Mystery series, I knew I would enjoy it. Arlen does an incredible job of painting the picture of Edwardian life. The dynamics between upstairs and below stairs, the characters, the settings…it all felt authentic.
I felt there were some parts that felt a little long in dialogue about 2/3 of the way through the book. It seemed to slow the pace down a little bit. Overall, I really enjoyed the story. Lady Montfort and Mrs. Jackson make a smashing team. I couldn’t wait to read more in the series.
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