Saturday, June 30, 2018

ARC Review: Scandal Above Stairs by Jennifer Ashley

Scandal Above Stairs
Author: Jennifer Ashley
Series: A Below Stairs Mystery (Book 2)
Publication: Berkley (July 3, 2018)

Description: A mystery of stolen antiquities has Kat Holloway setting aside her apron once again for the intrigues of the upper echelons of Victorian London

Priceless artwork has gone missing from the home of a wealthy baronet, and his wife stands to take the blame. When Kat's employer asks for help in clearing her friend's name, Kat trades her kitchen for the homes of Mayfair's wealthiest families. Soon antiques are disappearing not only from the extravagant households of connoisseurs and collectors, but from the illustrious British Museum.

As the thefts increase in frequency, Kat calls upon her friend Daniel McAdam, who has already set himself up in a pawnshop on the Strand as a seedy receiver of stolen goods. When a man is murdered in the shop, Kat must use all of her wits to see that the thieves are caught and justice is done.

My Thoughts: Kat Holloway has to leave her kitchen and solve another mystery when Lady Cynthia asks her to help a friend clear her name when her husband is accusing her of stealing valuable paintings to pay off her gambling debts.

It doesn't take long for Kat to find out what actually happened to the paintings but that just begins her investigation. Her friend Daniel McAdam, who has been away for a couple of months without a word, has set himself up in a pawnshop as a receiver of stolen goods. Kat just happens to visit him when one of the criminals who want to sell the goods comes into the shop. Daniel hides her in a back room but she manages to hear some things which raise questions.

Daniel tells her that he is investigating the theft of Greek antiquities from back rooms of British museums. When Kat realizes that there have been a number of thefts of antiquities among upper class families, she decides to help Daniel out by investigating below stairs while Lady Cynthia and Daniel's friend Mr. Thanos handles the above stairs part of the investigations.

Meanwhile, at home, Daniel has sent a young woman named Tess to be trained up as Kat's new kitchen assistant. Tess is bright and a quick learner but she has some secrets of her own which add an interesting plot twist.

I enjoy the setting of the Kat Holloway mysteries. Victorian England is shown from the point of view of someone who works for the upper classes but isn't a member herself. Kat is a fascinating woman who has made a good career for herself as a cook which is a big jump in social class from her beginnings. She is a kind woman who helps those who need help and who is very loyal to her friends. She is also quite bright and observant. Daniel McAdam is still a man of mystery but at least some of the secrets of his past are finally being shared with Kat. I'm still really curious about who his mysterious employer is.

This was a great historical mystery and I look forward to reading more about Kat and Daniel.

Favorite Quote:
I’d tried to tell the silly girl that looking after a husband was far more difficult than being in service ever would be. Husbands didn’t pay wages, for one thing, and you never got any days out. Asking for extra pin money or an hour to oneself could send a husband into a towering rage and earn a wife a trip to the doctor, both to have her bruises seen to and so the doctor could assess whether there was something wrong with the woman’s mind. A true wife was a sacrificing angel who asked nothing for herself.
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from Penguin's First to Read program. You can buy your copy here.

1 comment:

  1. I've read a book from this series and liked it. This sounds like another good one


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