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In the Market for Murder

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Revised edition: Previously published as The Spirit is Willing, this edition of In The Market For Murder includes editorial revisions. Spring, 1909, and Lady Hardcastle, amateur sleuth and all-round eccentric, is enjoying a well-deserved rest. But a week after a trip to the cattle market, Spencer Caradine, a local farmer, turns up dead in the pub, face-down in his beef Revised edition: Previously published as The Spirit is Willing, this edition of In The Market For Murder includes editorial revisions. Spring, 1909, and Lady Hardcastle, amateur sleuth and all-round eccentric, is enjoying a well-deserved rest. But a week after a trip to the cattle market, Spencer Caradine, a local farmer, turns up dead in the pub, face-down in his beef and mushroom pie. Once again, it is up to Lady Hardcastle and her maid, Florence, to solve the case. Armed with wit and whimsy, not to mention Florence’s mean right hook, the pair set out to discover what really happened and why. Was it poison or just ill luck? As they delve further into their investigation, they encounter a theft where nothing is stolen, a séance with a troubled ghost and an ever-increasing number of Spencer’s family and friends who might just have motive for murder. One thing’s for sure: Lady Hardcastle has a mystery on her hands.


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Revised edition: Previously published as The Spirit is Willing, this edition of In The Market For Murder includes editorial revisions. Spring, 1909, and Lady Hardcastle, amateur sleuth and all-round eccentric, is enjoying a well-deserved rest. But a week after a trip to the cattle market, Spencer Caradine, a local farmer, turns up dead in the pub, face-down in his beef Revised edition: Previously published as The Spirit is Willing, this edition of In The Market For Murder includes editorial revisions. Spring, 1909, and Lady Hardcastle, amateur sleuth and all-round eccentric, is enjoying a well-deserved rest. But a week after a trip to the cattle market, Spencer Caradine, a local farmer, turns up dead in the pub, face-down in his beef and mushroom pie. Once again, it is up to Lady Hardcastle and her maid, Florence, to solve the case. Armed with wit and whimsy, not to mention Florence’s mean right hook, the pair set out to discover what really happened and why. Was it poison or just ill luck? As they delve further into their investigation, they encounter a theft where nothing is stolen, a séance with a troubled ghost and an ever-increasing number of Spencer’s family and friends who might just have motive for murder. One thing’s for sure: Lady Hardcastle has a mystery on her hands.

30 review for In the Market for Murder

  1. 4 out of 5

    Phrynne

    This is a really fun series and I am loving it! Lady Hardcastle is like a slightly higher class Miss Marple and with her off sider, maid Florence Armstrong, she goes around solving crimes on behalf of a bumbling police force. The Lady and her maid have a wonderful relationship which enables Flo to go almost everywhere in society. I loved it every time Lady Hardcastle called her "tiny servant". They are able to be incredibly rude to each other and find it all good fun. In the end the two of them a This is a really fun series and I am loving it! Lady Hardcastle is like a slightly higher class Miss Marple and with her off sider, maid Florence Armstrong, she goes around solving crimes on behalf of a bumbling police force. The Lady and her maid have a wonderful relationship which enables Flo to go almost everywhere in society. I loved it every time Lady Hardcastle called her "tiny servant". They are able to be incredibly rude to each other and find it all good fun. In the end the two of them are attempting to solve three mysteries which of course finally come together due to the brilliance of our two leading ladies. I enjoyed every moment and look forward to more of their stories.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Brenda

    Going to the cattle market wasn’t something Florence Armstrong, maid to Lady Hardcastle was interested in. But go they did. It was a week later that the local farmer Spencer Caradine, who’d purchased their friend, Lady Farley-Stroud’s cattle, collapsed and died in the pub. Lady Hardcastle and Florence were requested to set their skills to the test to discover if he was murdered – and if so, by whom… As they worked, mystery upon mystery descended on the village. The club’s trophies vanished, and t Going to the cattle market wasn’t something Florence Armstrong, maid to Lady Hardcastle was interested in. But go they did. It was a week later that the local farmer Spencer Caradine, who’d purchased their friend, Lady Farley-Stroud’s cattle, collapsed and died in the pub. Lady Hardcastle and Florence were requested to set their skills to the test to discover if he was murdered – and if so, by whom… As they worked, mystery upon mystery descended on the village. The club’s trophies vanished, and the visiting clairvoyant seemed not quite what she seemed to the suspicious Flo. Would the two sleuths discover the who-dunnits to all three problems? In the Market for Murder is the 2nd in the Lady Hardcastle cosy mystery series by T.E. Kinsey and as much fun as the first. Light, entertaining and laugh out loud funny in places, I thoroughly enjoy Lady Hardcastle and the dry character of Flo; have no hesitation in highly recommending it and look forward to reading the next in the series.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Montzalee Wittmann

    In the Market for Murder (A Lady Hardcastle Mystery Book 2) by T E Kinsey Another great mystery for Lady H and her maid Flo. A murder, a robber, a mystic is all something to solve. I enjoy the style of writing and the social aspects of that time. Fun read!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ivonne Rovira

    Hear! Hear! Retired spy Emily, Lady Hardcastle, and her intrepid if impudent maid Florence “Flo” Armstrong return in this fun and intriguing sequel to the boffo debut A Quiet Life in the Country. This time the duo tackle three mysteries: the poisoning death of a poisonous curmudgeon/farmer, an inexplicable break-in at Littleton Cotterell’s rugby clubhouse in which the burglar eschews Scotch and cash but nabs a trophy and some rubbish, and a séance at Littleton Cotterell’s pub the Dog and Duck wh Hear! Hear! Retired spy Emily, Lady Hardcastle, and her intrepid if impudent maid Florence “Flo” Armstrong return in this fun and intriguing sequel to the boffo debut A Quiet Life in the Country. This time the duo tackle three mysteries: the poisoning death of a poisonous curmudgeon/farmer, an inexplicable break-in at Littleton Cotterell’s rugby clubhouse in which the burglar eschews Scotch and cash but nabs a trophy and some rubbish, and a séance at Littleton Cotterell’s pub the Dog and Duck where an apparition accuses a newcomer to the village of murder. Opening in the spring of 1909, In the Market for Murder proves as amusing and clever as its predecessor. Lady Hardcastle and Armstrong maintain the same lively banter and methodically undertake whatever puzzles the open-minded police throw their way. Fans of Kerry Greenwood’s Phryne Fisher, Rhys Bowen’s Lady Georgiana, Linda L. Richards’ Kitty Pangborn, or Amy Myers’ Chef Nell Drury have the opportunity to find a new series to relish. Highly recommended.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Judy

    This series is continuing to grow on me. I really am starting to like the main characters, Lady Hardcastle and her ladies maid Flo. Their interaction is entertaining as are many of the peripheral characters. The mysteries (there always seem to be several) seem to be getting better plotted also. I'll probably keep following this series. 3.5 stars This series is continuing to grow on me. I really am starting to like the main characters, Lady Hardcastle and her ladies maid Flo. Their interaction is entertaining as are many of the peripheral characters. The mysteries (there always seem to be several) seem to be getting better plotted also. I'll probably keep following this series. 3.5 stars

  6. 4 out of 5

    HBalikov

    The time is 1909. Emily, Lady Hardcastle and her personal maid, Florence Armstrong, have resettled in Gloustershire a year ago, abandoning the night lights of London. At the instigation of the local constabulary and with the indulgence of C.I.D. Inspector Sunderland, the two have solved several mysteries and already become local heroines. As you can see above, the title of the only version I could find on Goodreads differs from my Kindle copy, titled In the Market for Murder. The descriptions se The time is 1909. Emily, Lady Hardcastle and her personal maid, Florence Armstrong, have resettled in Gloustershire a year ago, abandoning the night lights of London. At the instigation of the local constabulary and with the indulgence of C.I.D. Inspector Sunderland, the two have solved several mysteries and already become local heroines. As you can see above, the title of the only version I could find on Goodreads differs from my Kindle copy, titled In the Market for Murder. The descriptions seem to match so my guess is this is where my review should be located. In this novel our gals encounter a murder, a "bunco" swindle, a robbery, and a fraud. The usual characters are there including Sir Hector and his wife (the Farley-Strouds); their "help", the aforementioned Sunderland, the police, shopkeepers and citizens of Littleton Cotterell, and assorted relations. The mysteries are quite interesting enough (with only one potential hole that I won't discuss). Yet, you will like this because of the characters and the repartee or you will not like it at all. There is nothing is this novel that is less than in the first, A Quiet Life in the Country, so I will give it (a bit reluctantly the same number of stars). I guess it is a sense of foreboding that this will become formulaic. Life before Littleton Cotterell seems much more interesting when these two were acting as secret agents in Europe and Asia. Perhaps, Kinsey will get around to that eventually. Until then, I am going on to other authors.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Erth

    Oh how I love these books. Not sure why, no gory details, no sex but pure fun. The main characters are a hoot, the diminutive lady's maid who is an expert in martial arts, the refined lady who totes a gun in her hat and a level of light hearted repartee between them all combine to make an amusing read which occasionally made me laugh out loud. I suppose Lady Hardcastle is the female equivalent of Lord Peter Whimsey but she is more entertaining. Not a book for lovers of serious fiction but a pleasa Oh how I love these books. Not sure why, no gory details, no sex but pure fun. The main characters are a hoot, the diminutive lady's maid who is an expert in martial arts, the refined lady who totes a gun in her hat and a level of light hearted repartee between them all combine to make an amusing read which occasionally made me laugh out loud. I suppose Lady Hardcastle is the female equivalent of Lord Peter Whimsey but she is more entertaining. Not a book for lovers of serious fiction but a pleasant interlude. When is someone going to make a TV series based on these stories? Sure wish more of them were available in audio.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Gary Sundell

    This series is so much fun. If you can get the audio books those are very well done.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Clare O'Beara

    This is tremendous fun as widowed Lady Hardcastle and determined Florence, a lady's maid of many talents, come home to England from the East and settle to village life. The year is 1909 and with gradual modernisation - motor cars, for the rich, and telephones, though not in the country yet, we see older ways. Farmers are dour and scrape a living even in Somerset. One such farmer dies after the cattle market and Lady Hardcastle makes enquiries. I was not sure of the source of the rumour that the This is tremendous fun as widowed Lady Hardcastle and determined Florence, a lady's maid of many talents, come home to England from the East and settle to village life. The year is 1909 and with gradual modernisation - motor cars, for the rich, and telephones, though not in the country yet, we see older ways. Farmers are dour and scrape a living even in Somerset. One such farmer dies after the cattle market and Lady Hardcastle makes enquiries. I was not sure of the source of the rumour that the man was poisoned. No reason was given and this is the only trip-up I can see. I admit to skipping lightly through the séance as these don't interest me, and there was plenty of activity in other directions. The constant references to India and China mean that the book is not trying to be ultra-English village like many others, but is the better for it, while Lady Hardcastle is more enlightened than her peers and regards her maid as a good friend and almost her equal. Enjoy. I downloaded an ARC from Net Galley. This is an unbiased review.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Luce

    5 STARS for the audiobook. 4 Stars for the book itself plus 1 star for the excellent narrator. First off, I'm not sure if I would have enjoyed this series as much as I do, if I were reading it myself and not listening to the audiobook. The narrator, Elizabeth Knoweldon is one of the best I've heard. She gives each character (especially the mains and reoccurring characters) unique voices. Each relative to their station in society and their various regional accents. I am certainly no expert at all 5 STARS for the audiobook. 4 Stars for the book itself plus 1 star for the excellent narrator. First off, I'm not sure if I would have enjoyed this series as much as I do, if I were reading it myself and not listening to the audiobook. The narrator, Elizabeth Knoweldon is one of the best I've heard. She gives each character (especially the mains and reoccurring characters) unique voices. Each relative to their station in society and their various regional accents. I am certainly no expert at all - but Lady Emily Hardcastle has the upper crust voice and her personal maid and best friend, Florence Armstrong, Has I assume a hint of a Welsh accent? She even sang a line Florence sings. The book takes place in 1909, mostly in a small village near Bristol. In this second book of the series, Lady Hardcastle and Flo investigate a possible murder by poison of a hated local farmer, a theft, and a seance complete with a ghost. But really, the reason I enjoy this series is Emily and Flo's amusing banter and unusual friendship. Flo is still her maid, serving her and taking care of all her needs but they dine, play cards, insult each other and take walks together as companions. It is also interesting that the reader only get snippets of information of their interesting pasts. The negative to this book is the ending. It is a bit of a mess. As a mystery the reader likes to try to solve the mystery along with the "detective" but Tinsey holds back too many clues that only Lady Hardcastle knows and shares during the final requisite revealing. And IMO too convoluted. Ending -1 star. Nevertheless I love Lady Emily, Flo and company so much that I immediately started listening to book 3, Death around the Bend.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Cherie

    I didn't enjoy this one as much as the previous one of this series. The banter I enjoyed in the first novel irritated me in this one. Plus we had 3 separate mysteries intertwined, so it felt one mystery was being forgotten. Perhaps though it was just me, I rushed straight from the first novel into the second. I will take a break and try book 3 later. I didn't enjoy this one as much as the previous one of this series. The banter I enjoyed in the first novel irritated me in this one. Plus we had 3 separate mysteries intertwined, so it felt one mystery was being forgotten. Perhaps though it was just me, I rushed straight from the first novel into the second. I will take a break and try book 3 later.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sophia

    Charming and eccentric, Lady Hardcastle and her intrepid maid, Flo, have settled into village life, but that doesn't mean life has settled down when a death, a theft, and a vengeful ghost provide them with three new mysteries to solve. In the Market For Murder is the second of the Lady Hardcastle series of standalones. Just on the heels of their previous amateur sleuthing efforts, Lady Hardcastle is recovering from a gunshot wound and ready to shake off her convalescence so she and Flo accept an i Charming and eccentric, Lady Hardcastle and her intrepid maid, Flo, have settled into village life, but that doesn't mean life has settled down when a death, a theft, and a vengeful ghost provide them with three new mysteries to solve. In the Market For Murder is the second of the Lady Hardcastle series of standalones. Just on the heels of their previous amateur sleuthing efforts, Lady Hardcastle is recovering from a gunshot wound and ready to shake off her convalescence so she and Flo accept an invitation from Lady Farley-Stroud to attend the local market day at another nearby village. Aside from Flo's fear of cows, they enjoy a day of browsing, shopping, and a drop in to the local pub where all the farmers take their meal and the meat pie and ale are to die for- literally. A spiteful farmer who no one likes not even his wife and son drops face first into his beef and mushroom pie. Inspector Sunderland is hard pressed on a different case in Bristol and asks Lady Hardcastle and Florence to assist the local constabulary. The locals also get their help on a missing rugby trophy and an odd result of a seance. With chipper wit and dogged investigation, they take on one and all. These are mostly light and fun capers which I find highly entertaining. There is an engaging historical backdrop with activities and events for the time- 1909- including women's place, the novelty of the house telephone and motor cars as well as life in an English farming village. I might roll my eyes a bit at the 'what ho's and 'toodlely pips', but I find the colorful characters quaint and fun, too. The mysteries are partly easy and also have a few difficult moments. I like that Flo got to show off her martial art skills once again when things get suspenseful. The narration work is sensational and a great match of Elizabeth Knowelden for the series that is narrated from Flo's wry, observant perspective. She does well at the whole cast from the older Farley-Strouds, to gruff farmer accents, to young Daisy in the village. All in all, I enjoyed this light historical cozy which was the last of the series I needed to catch up before left waiting patiently for the latest release. I can recommend it for those who enjoy amusing historical murder mysteries.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Nicola Michelle

    I am rapidly falling in love with these books! The dynamic duo of Lady Hardcastle and Armstrong is my favourite thing ever and their crime solving dramas are wonderful to read. I love a good who-dunnit mystery and these exactly and perfectly fit that description. I foresee a binge of more of this series books in my future !!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Renee

    Entertaining! I enjoy the ladies' banter & interactions with their quirky neighbors. Sometimes I lose track of the mystery they're solving--especially when the make me laugh. 😂 Entertaining! I enjoy the ladies' banter & interactions with their quirky neighbors. Sometimes I lose track of the mystery they're solving--especially when the make me laugh. 😂

  15. 5 out of 5

    KBookblogger

    This is the second book in the Lady Hardcastle murder mystery series by T.E.Kinsey and it was just as enjoyable as the first! Can't wait to read or listen to Book #3 :) This is the second book in the Lady Hardcastle murder mystery series by T.E.Kinsey and it was just as enjoyable as the first! Can't wait to read or listen to Book #3 :)

  16. 4 out of 5

    Lorraine

    In T. E. Kinsey’s In the Market for Murder (sic) Lady Hardcastle and her trusty maid, ‘Armstrong’ are asked by the local police to assist in a investigation of the death of a local totally disliked farmer. Lady Hardcastle and Miss Armstrong are thrilled. Setting is England, a village near Bristol, Spring 1909. I enjoyed the characters, especially L H. And Armstrong, and the mystery had all of the markings of a good one. The 31/4 stars is a reaction to being bogged down as Lady Hardcastle wraps u In T. E. Kinsey’s In the Market for Murder (sic) Lady Hardcastle and her trusty maid, ‘Armstrong’ are asked by the local police to assist in a investigation of the death of a local totally disliked farmer. Lady Hardcastle and Miss Armstrong are thrilled. Setting is England, a village near Bristol, Spring 1909. I enjoyed the characters, especially L H. And Armstrong, and the mystery had all of the markings of a good one. The 31/4 stars is a reaction to being bogged down as Lady Hardcastle wraps up the mysteries, but even before that happened, I felt ‘bogged down’. I believe that the author attempted to present a wide scope for the reader to enjoy, but unfortunately for me, the book/mystery became too wordy, to unfocused, and basically unrealistic, but I truly like the premise of the series and the characters. Thus, I am looking forward to #3, Death around the Bend.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Anima Miejska

    A splendid entertainment, especially when one needs some respite from more gruesome stories. Next installments get a regular place on my to-read shelf 🙂

  18. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    Super fun cosy mystery - Lady Hardcastle & Flo strike again!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Cynthia Pratt

    I thought I would like this book a lot more than I did. It had a number of very good reviews. Now I think those that were disappointed just didn't write a review. First I became exasperated with Lady Hardcastle calling every one 'dear' whether a close friend or a new acquaintance. Also there is a lot of time spent on essentially nothing but proving that the two central women are unusual. By the time the mysteries wrapped up, I no longer cared and could hardly remember what the mystery was. I thought I would like this book a lot more than I did. It had a number of very good reviews. Now I think those that were disappointed just didn't write a review. First I became exasperated with Lady Hardcastle calling every one 'dear' whether a close friend or a new acquaintance. Also there is a lot of time spent on essentially nothing but proving that the two central women are unusual. By the time the mysteries wrapped up, I no longer cared and could hardly remember what the mystery was.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Deanna

    3.5 stars I’m enjoying these lighthearted English mysteries. Charming stories that put a smile on my face, from the point of view of an outspoken lady’s maid and her clever friend/mistress. Excellent palate cleansers between heavier reads or a string of frustrating ones.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Gloria Piper

    1909, a British cozy. Well and jolly good, what? Lady Newcastle has an interesting hobby...solving mysteries. She and her maid, Florence Armstrong, have become well known for their abilities, to the extent where the local police often ask for their help. The incidents occur through Armstrong's point of view. Most of her and the lady's time seem spent trading humorous insults, when they are not drinking tea or brandy with friends. And there are the British slangy remarks--pip-pip and what not. The 1909, a British cozy. Well and jolly good, what? Lady Newcastle has an interesting hobby...solving mysteries. She and her maid, Florence Armstrong, have become well known for their abilities, to the extent where the local police often ask for their help. The incidents occur through Armstrong's point of view. Most of her and the lady's time seem spent trading humorous insults, when they are not drinking tea or brandy with friends. And there are the British slangy remarks--pip-pip and what not. The Lady Newcastle is on the edge of boredom, when she is rescued by a mystery to be solved. A farmer falls dead in his beef and mushroom pie. The game is afoot. And then another mystery develops when a ghost accuses another farmer of murder. Finally someone has stolen a trophy from the local rugby clubhouse. Certain skills arm the two women for their pursuit of solutions. Newcastle is adept at sketching, and Armstrong has skills gained from a background in the circus. The reader may ask why the story provides three disparate cases for the women to solve, but a clever answer comes as we peel away each page. Here is light reading, to take your mind off troubles. It took me awhile to get into the novel because I wasn't sure where the wisecracking was leading us. Eventually I saw a story of delight. We don't delve deeply into characters and their development. The story is more like a bobble of spun sugar. Armstrong and Newcastle are having fun as they spurn limitations on women of that era, socialize with their friends, and drink their tea. Toodle pop and all that, what.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Evelyn

    I read the first Lady Hardcastle mystery last summer. I finally got around to book no.2. I really enjoy the repartee between Lady Hardcastle and Armstrong, her more than a servant. Florence doesn't let her lady's quirkiness get to her and gives as good as she gets. Yet they work together well at solving mysteries, big and small. I'm looking forward to book no.3. I don't think I'll wait as long this time to continue the series. I read the first Lady Hardcastle mystery last summer. I finally got around to book no.2. I really enjoy the repartee between Lady Hardcastle and Armstrong, her more than a servant. Florence doesn't let her lady's quirkiness get to her and gives as good as she gets. Yet they work together well at solving mysteries, big and small. I'm looking forward to book no.3. I don't think I'll wait as long this time to continue the series.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Stacie Haden

    Delightful and clever "cozy". Delightful and clever "cozy".

  24. 4 out of 5

    Linda Baker

    Just in time for the holidays, Lady Hardcastle and her "tiny servant", Florence Armstrong, are back with new adventures. Lady Hardcastle's injuries sustained in the first book, A Quiet Life in the Country, have been slow to heal but both ladies are ready to get back to normal life in the village of Littleton Cotterell in Gloucestershire. No longer considered "incomers" they both have the acceptance and liking of the village and a respectful relationship with Inspector Sunderland of the Bristol C Just in time for the holidays, Lady Hardcastle and her "tiny servant", Florence Armstrong, are back with new adventures. Lady Hardcastle's injuries sustained in the first book, A Quiet Life in the Country, have been slow to heal but both ladies are ready to get back to normal life in the village of Littleton Cotterell in Gloucestershire. No longer considered "incomers" they both have the acceptance and liking of the village and a respectful relationship with Inspector Sunderland of the Bristol CID. Their friend, Lady Farley-Stroud, persuades them both to attend Market Day in the nearby town of Chipping Bevington. Neither Lady Hardcastle nor Florence is very interested in the outing, especially in a torrential downpour. Florence, in particular, has an aversion to cows. While the three ladies are having lunch in the crowded pub, a farmer named Spencer Caradine falls over dead in his beef pie. No one is at all upset, though, as Caradine was universally disliked. Inspector Sunderland asks them to look into the matter as they have a knack for solving mysteries and can get villagers to talk who might be reticent with him. While they investigate, other mysteries pop up; a break-in at the local cricket club and a seance with an aggressive ghost. It also seems that there is a very wide field of suspects in the death of Caradine. The Lady Hardcastle Mysteries are a delightful way to spend an afternoon or evening in a place and time that probably never really existed. The whole village of Littleton Cotterell seems bathed in a golden glow, even with the amount of mayhem going on. Lady Hardcastle is wonderfully eccentric and there is much more to Florence than meets the eye. For instance, her knowledge and practice of martial arts learned in her travels with Lady Hardcastle in India and China make her unique in 1909. Their close relationship and banter make the women more like sisters than mistress and servant. I highly recommend this series for pure enjoyment. Thanks to Thomas & Mercer and Netgalley for an advance digital copy in return for an honest review. RATING- 4 Stars

  25. 5 out of 5

    Diana

    Book received from NetGalley. This is a cozy historical mystery set in Edwardian Britain. The many mystery solvers are a Lady and her maid. The upper-class lady doesn't act like she's expected to, she's very no-nonsense and has a mind of her own. Her ladies maid is the same way and they both encourage each other to set the locals gossiping. This is the second book in the series and while I really want to read the first one it's not necessary to read this book. They have solved crimes before and t Book received from NetGalley. This is a cozy historical mystery set in Edwardian Britain. The many mystery solvers are a Lady and her maid. The upper-class lady doesn't act like she's expected to, she's very no-nonsense and has a mind of her own. Her ladies maid is the same way and they both encourage each other to set the locals gossiping. This is the second book in the series and while I really want to read the first one it's not necessary to read this book. They have solved crimes before and the local police actually call them in for help when they're spread too thin. There is the main mystery of a local farmer, who wasn't well liked by his neighbors, possibly being murdered. As well as a spiritualist medium who could be a charlatan, and the local rugby club being robbed of its trophies. There were some very funny exchanges between the main character and her ladies maid, and it was interesting to see the servant being treated as almost an equal. Fans of Downton Abbey may like this series.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Cathy Cole

    I love the camaraderie and dialogue between Lady Hardcastle and Flo. The two have had a very interesting history together of which readers are only allowed fascinating glimpses. In addition, they definitely keep up with the times: Lady Hardcastle purchases a motor car, and a telephone is soon to be installed. These two most decidedly have little to do with antimacassars and aspidistras! (I don't think their needlework is up to snuff either.) Occasionally my rational brain reminds me that the men I love the camaraderie and dialogue between Lady Hardcastle and Flo. The two have had a very interesting history together of which readers are only allowed fascinating glimpses. In addition, they definitely keep up with the times: Lady Hardcastle purchases a motor car, and a telephone is soon to be installed. These two most decidedly have little to do with antimacassars and aspidistras! (I don't think their needlework is up to snuff either.) Occasionally my rational brain reminds me that the men in 1909 would not be willing to leave such investigations to mere females, then I remember that these books are meant to be fun. Thankfully there's not much in the book to be picked apart. How two characters can be so avant-garde yet the book give such a true sense of the times, I don't know, but I'm enjoying this series to bits! It's fun to smile the entire time I'm reading a book.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Gina

    Didn't like this one quite as much as the first one, but Flo and Lady H are as funny as ever. The story seemed to slog in points and I felt myself wandering as I listened, despite the narrator's lively tone. Secondary characters weren't as interesting in this book but it wasn't a terrible read either. Just "ok." Didn't like this one quite as much as the first one, but Flo and Lady H are as funny as ever. The story seemed to slog in points and I felt myself wandering as I listened, despite the narrator's lively tone. Secondary characters weren't as interesting in this book but it wasn't a terrible read either. Just "ok."

  28. 4 out of 5

    Alice 🌙

    4/5 ⭐️ I enjoyed the mystery in this as well as the humor. I hope there’s more paranormal goings on in the series!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Noco

    Having enjoyed the first book tremendously, I began this book with high expectation. However, the second book in the Lady Hardcastle Mystery seriesturned out an okay read for me. I did enjoy the fun banter and the cosy rapport between Lady Hardcastle and her maid, Florence, just as immensely as I did the last time. The diction is reminiscent of classical literature, and the glimpse of humour and affinity between them well-represented the strong bond they have supposedly forged in their previous a Having enjoyed the first book tremendously, I began this book with high expectation. However, the second book in the Lady Hardcastle Mystery seriesturned out an okay read for me. I did enjoy the fun banter and the cosy rapport between Lady Hardcastle and her maid, Florence, just as immensely as I did the last time. The diction is reminiscent of classical literature, and the glimpse of humour and affinity between them well-represented the strong bond they have supposedly forged in their previous adventures. That being said though, I found this book is a bit more slow-paced than the previous book, and the complexity of the mystery plot which involves multiple cases just didn't work as well as I would have liked. I haven't read many historical cosy mysteries thus I don't really know such slow-paced plots are the norm in this genre, but a bit of suspense and thrills could have made this book more engaging as far as I am concerned. Simply put, it was a bit too cosy even for me. Having multiple strands of mysteries is all well and fine. Everything in this book is eventually connected in the end, but the entire “spirit” episode seemed like almost irrelevant when I was in the thick of it. The very laid-back style towards the investigation also grated on my nerves a little bit. Being a Lady and her maid, they don’t run around and comb the evidence as hard as one would imagine. They enjoy some luxurious lunch and tea, and swoosh into the crime scene or do some sleuthing in their spare time. I tell you this is NOT the way the story is actually portrayed, but it did feel that way with this book – at least for me, that is. I also feel a bit disgruntled by the way the culprit reveal is handled; I would say the approach is Agatha Christie-ish, and all the hints and clues are connected and revealed in one go in the end. It's supposedly an established technique, yet I couldn't help feeling a bit left behind. I would have liked to solve the mystery together with Lady Hardcastle; she could have let in on a little bit more so that we can reach the goal at the same time. She kept the juiciest part to herself and gushed it out in the end. This may work just fine with some readers, but alas, not with me. All in all, the aftertaste of this book was not as favourable as the previous book. I still enjoyed this book for the most part, but the ending frustrated me a little bit. Ambivalent 3.5 stars go to this book and I'll ponder whether to continue reading this book or not.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Tony Hisgett

    I really enjoyed the relationship between Emily and Florence in the first book, but I found the mystery part a bit simplistic and the ending was just a shambles. However, I thought I would give the series another chance and I am pleased I did. There are still too many faults with the story but the main characters are brilliant. The rapport between Emily and Florence is even better in this book and I would have been happy just to read about their quirky relationship. The mysteries have become a lit I really enjoyed the relationship between Emily and Florence in the first book, but I found the mystery part a bit simplistic and the ending was just a shambles. However, I thought I would give the series another chance and I am pleased I did. There are still too many faults with the story but the main characters are brilliant. The rapport between Emily and Florence is even better in this book and I would have been happy just to read about their quirky relationship. The mysteries have become a little less silly although I still find the way Emily suddenly finds a solution a little annoying. I like to follow how a case is solved but often Emily just gets an idea, which she keeps to herself, then there are either secret meetings or a flurry of telegrams and she comes up with a culprit. Sometimes I can guess ‘who did it’ but it’s not the same as being able to analyse the clues. Unfortunately the end of the book was again disappointing. I really like my heroines to be a bit more ruthless. I was quite annoyed with the way the author constructed what was, a very unsatisfactory ending. This series has the potential to become one of my all time favourites. My problem is the author has decided there has to be an ongoing arch villain who always escapes no matter how easily he should have been eliminated at the end of each book. I could put up with the recurring baddie but not the farce that keeps accompanying his escape. It means that even though I enjoy the books the ending always leaves me annoyed.

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