Saturday, September 28, 2019

Book Review: A Quiet Life in the Country by T. E. Kinsey

A Quiet Life in the Country
Author: T. E. Kinsey
Series: A Lady Hardcastle Mystery Book 1
Publication: Thomas & Mercer (October 4, 2016)

Description: Lady Emily Hardcastle is an eccentric widow with a secret past. Florence Armstrong, her maid and confidante, is an expert in martial arts. The year is 1908 and they’ve just moved from London to the country, hoping for a quiet life.

But it is not long before Lady Hardcastle is forced out of her self-imposed retirement. There’s a dead body in the woods, and the police are on the wrong scent. Lady Hardcastle makes some enquiries of her own, and it seems she knows a surprising amount about crime investigation…

As Lady Hardcastle and Flo delve deeper into rural rivalries and resentment, they uncover a web of intrigue that extends far beyond the village. With almost no one free from suspicion, they can be certain of only one fact: there is no such thing as a quiet life in the country.

My Thoughts: Lady Emily Hardcastle and her lady's maid/best friend Florence Armstrong have moved to what they hope is a quiet village in rural England. They have had many adventures from China to India to London and would prefer some quiet time.

But when Lady Hardcastle and Flo come upon a body in the woods, their quiet retirement is put to the test. Feeling that the police were too quick to choose and arrest a suspect, Lady Harcastle and Flo begin their own investigation. Luckily, Lady Hardcastle knows a couple of the gentry who were old India hands and friends with her parents. While she investigates above stairs, Flo is able to conduct her part of the investigation "below stairs" and with the shopkeepers in town.

When one victim becomes two and a valuable emerald is stolen, their case gets much more complex. They need to investigate the local cricket club, the ragtime band hired to play at an engagement party, and people both above and below stairs before they can solve the crime.

I liked that the story was narrated by Flo who is a practical, down-to-earth sort and who provides balance for her more flighty but intelligent employer. The 1908 setting allowed for a variety of technology from the occasional telephone to fingerprint experts. It also showed a changing social landscape where the gentry were losing their grip on their privilege and the newly wealthy were gaining a foothold. I enjoyed the relationship between Lady Hardcastle and Flo. I really want more information about the adventures they had before this first book in a series.

Favorite Quote:
"Oh, oh, we can be detectives. You can be Watson to my Holmes."

"But without the violin and the dangerous drug addiction, my lady," I said.

"As soon as the piano arrives from London that will make an admirable substitute for the violin. And I'm sure we could both have a tot of brandy from time to time to grease the old wheels."
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

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