Tuesday, May 5, 2020

ARC Review: A Study in Murder by Callie Hutton

A Study in Murder
Author: Callie Hutton
Publication: Crooked Lane Books (June 9, 2020)

Description: A mystery author is charged with murder--and the plot thickens faster than anyone can turn the pages--in USA Today bestselling author Callie Hutton's new series debut, perfect for fans of Rhys Bowen and Ellery Adams.

Bath, England, 1890. Mystery author Lady Amy Lovell receives an anonymous letter containing shocking news: her fiancé, Mr. Ronald St. Vincent, has been dabbling in something illegal, which causes her to promptly break their engagement.

Two evenings later, as Lady Amy awaits a visit from Lord William Wethington, fellow member of the Bath Mystery Book Club, her former fiancé makes an unexpected and most unwelcome appearance at her house. She promptly sends him to the library to cool his heels but later discovers the room seemingly empty--until she stumbles upon a dead Mr. St. Vincent with a knife in his chest.

Lord Wethington arrives to find Lady Amy screaming and sends for the police, but the Bobbies immediately assume that she is the killer. Desperate to clear her name, Lady Amy and Lord Wethington launch their own investigation--and stir up a hornet's nest of suspects, from the gardener who served time in prison for murder to a vengeful woman who was spurned by St. Vincent before he proposed to Lady Amy.

Can they close the book on the case before the real killer gets away with murder?

My Thoughts: This mystery stars Lady Amy Lovell who is secretly an author of mystery books. She's proud of her achievement but her father bullies her into keeping her career secret. He wants her married and doesn't think her career makes her an eligible spouse. In fact, he bullies her into an engagement with Mr. St. Vincent.

When Amy learns that St. Vincent has some involvement in the opium trade, she takes that as an excuse to break the engagement she never wanted in the first place. But when he turns up dead in her house a couple of days later, she finds herself the primary, and only, suspect in his murder.

Amy decides that her skill as an author of mysteries makes her the perfect person to solve the case of who really killed her unwanted fiance. She is assisted by Lord Wethington who is a long-time acquaintance and fellow member of the Bath Mystery Book Club. Together they uncover a number of suspects and more information about her former fiance.

There is a running joke through the book. Every time someone refers to St. Vincent as her fiance she quickly corrects them by calling him her ex-fiance. This happens quite frequently throughout the story. When finally, near the end of the story, she refers to St. Vincent as her fiance, everyone in earshot - the police, Lord Wethington, her maid, and the butler standing near the door - all chime in with "ex-fiance."

I liked the story in that Amy is not some sort of superhero. She faints when she discovers St. Vincent's body in her father's library. But she is smart and determined to solve the crime. Lord Wethington is sort of a mysterious character. Amy has known him for quite a while but actually knows very little about him. He isn't quick to answer questions about himself. I like the way their relationship deepens during the story and becomes a romance by the end.

The ending telegraphs that another adventure for Lady Amy and Lord Wethington is planned and I can't wait to read it.

Favorite Quote:
Detective Carson continued while Marsh scribbled answers."Why would Mr. St. Vincent return after you already broke your engagement?"

"Reading others' minds has never been one of my talents, sir, so I could not tell you why he would return."
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

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