Tuesday, April 6, 2021

ARC Review: The Sign of Death by Callie Hutton

The Sign of Death

Callie Hutton
Series: Victorian Book Club Mystery (Book 2)
Publication: Crooked Lane Books (April 13, 2021)

Description: USA Today bestselling author Callie Hutton returns with her second Victorian Book Club mystery, in which Lady Amy and Lord William sleuth the death of a teetotaler who took a fatal dunk in the drink.

Bath, England, 1891. Mr. James Harding was a lot of things--businessman, well-to-do, probable scoundrel--but a drinker he most assuredly was not. So when Harding is believed to have drunkenly fallen to his death into the icy River Avon, Lord William Wethington is immediately suspicious. Finding Lord William's name on a letter in the victim's pocket, the local constabulary summons William to identify the victim. Police detectives learn that William had been one of Harding's business clients--and undoubtedly not the only client the dead man had cheated.

William entreats Lady Amy Lovell, a fellow member of the Mystery Book Club of Bath, to help him deduce what really happened to the late Mr. Harding. Lady Amy, a celebrated mystery author herself, once called on William to help her solve a real-life mystery, and now she fully intends to return the favor. But it won't be easy.

Practically every one of Harding's many clients had ample reason to want to do him in. And there's precious little time to narrow down the list: William and Amy soon become prime suspects themselves when the police discover them ruffling through files in Harding's house. Lady Amy will have to be as clever as her characters if she's to save William from the gallows...and herself from Harding's real killer.

My Thoughts: In this adventure it is Lord Wethington who becomes a murder suspect. His man of business was found floating in the River Avon with Wethington's card in his pocket. William had begun to have questions about Mr. Harding's business ethics and wondering if he was cheating him.

As William and Lady Amy investigate they discover that William wasn't the only one the Mr. Harding was cheating. Other members of Bath society and even fellow members of their mystery book club had reasons to want Mr. Harding dead. 

With the police focusing on Willian, it is up to Amy and William to track down the clues and try to discover who really did murder the villainous Mr. Harding. That would be enough to keep any two people busy. But they also have to deal with William's mother moving in with him and being determined to marry her son off. Of course, Amy's father has long been very concerned about marrying her off. When the two parents get together, the pressure mounts for both William and Amy.

Both Amy and William have gradually been coming to opinion that their reservations about being married are softening. If left alone, they would likely have decided to marry soon anyway.

But Lady Amy has another problem to deal with. She writes mysteries under a male pseudonym because her father wouldn't let her sell her books under her own name. But now the publisher is demanding that she appear at a book festival in Bath which she would like to do but which her father really opposes. One thing that endears her to William is that he knows her secret and isn't at all threatened by Amy's exposure as a best-selling author. 

The story was filled with lots of characters who make good potential murderers. I liked the setting and the time period even though I could wish that women would have had more rights to their own lives.  I liked that William was determined to protect Amy despite her desire to get herself into all sorts of dangerous situations. I liked her combination of bravery and reality. She faints on her first visit to a morgue, for an example.

Fans of historical mysteries will enjoy this one for its great characters and interesting plot. 

Favorite Quote:
Her aunt cleared her throat. "Amy, love. I have always admired your -- shall we say -- spirited personality. I love your ability to create stories that people want to read and the gusto with which you conjure up fake murders and solve the gruesome tales. But even I am a bit taken aback by your enthusiasm about going to a morgue."
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I love getting comments. Let me know what you think.

This blog is now officially declared an Award Free zone! I do appreciate your kindness in thinking of me and I am humbled by your generosity.

Your comments are award enough for me. Comment away!