MYSTERY AND MAYHEM!! Yes, please! Also, yes, I did it again. I read the third book in the series before reading the first two. When will I learn?! But with A Lady’s Guide to Mischief and Murder, everything is pretty clear on the page so you can infer what happened in the past. I’d still like to read the first two books to see what happened, but this book can stand on it’s own.
Besides that, it has arrows in the butt (I literally laughed out loud), a very quick wedding, and did I mention MURDER!! Alright, leet’s get to the post. As you scroll through, make sure to check out the synopsis, my review, a little about the author, and of course, A GIVEAWAY!
A LADY’S GUIDE TO MISCHIEF AND MURDER
BY DIANNE FREEMAN
Publication Date: July 28, 2020
Genre: Historical Mystery
Series: A Countess of Harleigh Mystery, Book 3
In Dianne Freeman’s charming Victorian-era mystery series, Frances Wynn, the American-born Countess of Harleigh, finds her sister’s wedding threatened by a vow of vengeance.
London is known for its bustle and intrigues, but the sedate English countryside can host—or hide—any number of secrets. Frances, the widowed Countess of Harleigh, needs a venue for her sister Lily’s imminent wedding, away from prying eyes. Risings, George Hazleton’s family estate in Hampshire, is a perfect choice, and soon Frances, her beloved George, and other guests have gathered to enjoy the usual country pursuits—shooting, horse riding, and romantic interludes in secluded gardens.
But the bucolic setting harbors a menace, and it’s not simply the arrival of Frances’s socially ambitious mother. Above and below stairs, mysterious accidents befall guests and staff alike. Before long, Frances suspects these “accidents” are deliberate, and fears that the intended victim is Lily’s fiancé, Leo. Frances’s mother is unimpressed by Lily’s groom-to-be and would much prefer that Lily find an aristocratic husband, just as Frances did. But now that Frances has found happiness with George—a man who loves her for much more than her dowry—she heartily approves of Lily’s choice. If she can just keep the couple safe from villains and meddling mamas.
As Frances and George search for the culprit among the assembled family, friends, and servants, more victims fall prey to the mayhem. Mishaps become full-blooded murder, and it seems that no one is safe. And unless Frances can quickly flush out the culprit, the peal of wedding bells may give way to another funeral toll…
What happens when you get pregnant before your wedding in Victorian England?? You move up the date of the wedding! DUH. That’s the case that Frances’s sister, Lily, finds herself in at the beginning of the book. The problem is: where are they going to hold the wedding?
Luckily, Frances’s dude, George is lovely and offers his brother’s home for the wedding (his brother isn’t home, thank goodness). So off they go to Risings. The group includes Frances, Lily, her future husband, Leo, his sisters, his best man, and his brother-in-law. The parents are coming but they’ll arrive later. And let’s just say….Frances and Lily’s mother…makes an ARRIVAL.
So everything is good and fine and they are in the country and isn’t it calming and nice and picturesque and then BOOM! “Accidents” start happening. Or are they accidents? The more strange things happen, the more Frances thinks there’s something sinister going on.
Ok, let’s talk about these “accidents.” My favorite “accident” is when the group are having an archery competition (can we bring these back? you can do archery and social-distance, right?) and one of the men (I’m not giving it away because it’s too good) gets shot with an arrow in the ass. I laughed for five minutes. It reminds me of something that would happen in Emma (probably to Mr. Elton lol) or Mansfield Park. It’s perfect.
But besides the light moments, there are plenty of dark ones as well. At first, Frances and George believe someone is trying to murder Leo. They don’t have a solid reason why but he’s in the vicinity at each of the “accidents”. Is someone jealous of him? Or does someone not want him to marry Lily?!
It turns out that something much bigger and more sinister is going on and it has nothing to do with Leo. NO SPOILERS!
Ok, here are the things I loved: the archery scene (obviously), Frances’s brother (omg I hope he gets a book or something), Frances’s mother (LORD HAVE MERCY) (she does something at the end that made me love her so much), and Frances verbally slapping George for keeping secrets from her. *smirks*
I could’ve done without George questioning Frances’s skills or why she thought the accidents were more than what they appeared to be. I’m guessing they worked together in the last two books. She’s proven herself. BELIEVE HER, DUDE! I also wanted the stakes to be a little higher before the murderer was revealed. But the scene with the fire…I was like “FRANCES GET YOUR BUTT OUT OF THERE!” so maybe I’m just being picky. Or maybe I wanted to feel more immersed in the fire. idk *shrugs*
Overall, I really liked A Lady’s Guide to Mayhem and Murder by Dianne Freeman. It was fancy and funny and I had no idea who the murderer was until the very end. I’m giving it 3.5 out of 5 stars. If you like historical fiction and/or mysteries, you should definitely check this out!
About the Author
Dianne Freeman is a life-long book lover who left the world of corporate finance to pursue her passion for writing. After co-authoring the non-fiction book, Haunted Highway, The Spirits of Route 66, she realized her true love was fiction, historical mystery in particular. She also realized she didn’t like winter very much so now she and her husband pursue the endless summer by splitting their time between Michigan and Arizona. She’s been nominated for an Agatha and the prestigious Mary Higgins Clark Award, and won the 2019 Lefty Award for Best Debut Mystery.
During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a copy of A Lady’s Guide to Mischief and Murder + a $10 Amazon Gift Card! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.
The giveaway is open to US residents only and ends on August 21st. You must be 18 or older to enter.
Blog Tour Schedule
Monday, August 3
Review & Excerpt at Probably at the Library
Tuesday, August 4
Interview at Chicks, Rogues, and Scandals
Wednesday, August 5
Review at Books, Cooks, Looks
Thursday, August 6
Feature at The Lit Bitch
Friday, August 7
Review at Bookish Rantings
Monday, August 10
Review at History from a Woman’s Perspective
Wednesday, August 12
Review at Hallie Reads
Thursday, August 13
Review at Book Bustle
Friday, August 14
Review & Excerpt at Gwendalyn’s Books
Monday, August 17
Review & Interview at Jorie Loves A Story
Tuesday, August 18
Review at YA, It’s Lit
Wednesday, August 19
Review at Books and Zebras
Thursday, August 20
Feature at I’m Into Books
Friday, August 21
Review at Passages to the Past