by Tessa Arlen
Publication Date: March 29, 2016
Hardcover & Ebook; 320 Pages
Genre: Historical Mystery
Filled with deceptions both real and imagined, Death Sits Down to Dinner is a delightful Edwardian mystery set in London.
Lady Montfort is thrilled to receive an invitation to a dinner party hosted by her close friend Hermione Kingsley, the patroness of England’s largest charity. Hermione has pulled together a select gathering to celebrate Winston Churchill’s 39th birthday. Some of the oldest families in the country have gathered to toast the dangerously ambitious and utterly charming First Lord of the Admiralty. But when the dinner ends, one of the gentlemen remains seated at the table, head down among the walnut shells littering the cloth and a knife between his ribs.
Summoned from Iyntwood, Mrs. Jackson helps her mistress trace the steps of suspects both upstairs and downstairs as Hermione’s household prepares to host a highly anticipated charity event. Determined to get to the bottom of things, Lady Montfort and Mrs. Jackson unravel the web of secrecy surrounding the bright whirlwind of London society, investigating the rich, well-connected and seeming do-gooders in a race against time to stop the murderer from striking again.
AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | INDIEBOUND | KOBO
“Despite Clementine’s luxurious lifestyle, she’s got a head on her shoulders . . .and is as cagey as she is charming. A neatly crafted whodunit dripping with diamonds, titles and scandal . . .” -Kirkus Reviews
“The close, mutually respectful partnership between Clementine and Edith will remind Dorothy Sayers’s fans of the relationship between Lord Peter Wimsey and Bunter, his manservant. Arlen does a good job of depicting a period when class distinctions have become blurred by new money and more-relaxed manners. The plot, which includes a slew of red herrings, builds to a startling denouement.” -Publisher’s Weekly
“VERDICT Real-life Edwardian personalities abound in this period historical, and the upstairs/downstairs focus delivers a clash of temperaments. This title is bound to appeal to fans of historicals set in this period and of such authors as Rhys Bowen and Ashley Weaver.” -Library Journal
Review: If you like historical mysteries and if you are a fan of Downton Abbey then this this is the book and the series for you.
This book takes place before WWI and centers around a dinner party for Winston Churchill's 39th birthday. Lord Montfort is not a fan of Churchill at all and you see that in the opening pages of the book, but he goes to the party because he loves his wife.
The murder occurs at this party. There's a wonderful mixture of fictional characters and real people in this story. (Besides Churchill, of course)
This book really made me long for the first season of Downton. I loved the feel of the book and how well the author brought the period to life and not all of it is pretty. You get the story from Lady Montfort's point of view as well as her housekeeper, Mrs Jackson's. Mrs. Jackson reminded me quite a bit of Downton's Mrs. Hughes, though Mrs. Hughes was a bit more progressive in her ways.
I loved how the two women worked to solve the mystery and I liked how things were definitely not what they seemed in many cases, especially involving the victim. You learned that there were some not so nice things going on in the charity and there was a time when I was really fearful for the Chimney Sweep Boys. I was very glad that though things weren't as rosy as they seemed my initial fear for them was unfounded.
This is a smart mystery that would definitely lead well to television, especially as the series progresses. That's a huge hint to the BBC and Masterpiece.
Definitely a must read for all of the Anglophiles out there!
Rating: 5 flowers
TESSA ARLEN, the daughter of a British diplomat, had lived in or visited her parents in Singapore, Cairo, Berlin, the Persian Gulf, Beijing, Delhi and Warsaw by the time she was sixteen. She came to the U.S. in 1980 and worked as an H.R. recruiter for the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee for the 1984 Olympic Games, where she interviewed her future husband for a job. DEATH OF A DISHONORABLE GENTLEMAN is Tessa’s first novel. She lives in Bainbridge Island, Washington.
For more information please visit Tessa Arlen's website. Read Tessa Arlen's blog at Redoubtable Edwardians. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.
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