A Murderous Marriage
Lady and Lady’s Maid Mystery #4
By Alyssa Maxwell
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele
Lady Phoebe Renshaw and her lady’s maid, Eva Huntford, are preparing for a wedding, but it may not be the happy occasion everyone hopes for . . .
Since the Great War, some family fortunes have suffered, including those of the Renshaws. Despite being the granddaughter of an earl, Julia Renshaw is under pressure to marry for money—and has settled for Gilbert Townsend, a viscount and a wealthy industrialist. He is decades older than Julia, and it’s clear to her sister Phoebe—and to Eva, who has been like a surrogate mother to the girls—that this is not a love match. Nevertheless, the wedding takes place—and in a hurry.
At the reception aboard the groom’s yacht, there appears to be tension between Gil and several guests: his best man, a fellow veteran of the Boer War; his grouchy spinster sister; and his current heir, a nervous young cousin named Ernest. The bride is also less than pleased when she discovers that her honeymoon will be more crowded than expected—with Gil’s pretty secretary, among others, coming along.
That very night, Julia pounds on her sister’s door, brandishing a bandaged hand and reporting a hot-tempered outburst on her new husband’s part. Julia is feeling doubt and regret about her hasty decision, but returns to the boat. Then the next morning, before the yacht can depart the harbor, Gil’s body is found in the water below—and Phoebe and Eva must discover who pushed him over . . . before the Renshaws’ social standing is irreparably stained by Julia’s arrest for his murder . . . . (Goodreads)
This series is one of my favorites, and A Murderous Marriage is the best installment to date. Full of period detail, interesting characters, and a well executed mystery, it is sure to please fans of historical cozy mysteries.
A Murderous Marriage finds Lady Phoebe’s sister Julia a bride. She stoically does what she feels is the right thing for her family’s financial future and marries the very much older Viscount Annondale Gil Townsend. Things quickly go wrong on the wedding night, and Julia awakens to find her husband missing, then dead. The police think they have their killer with Julia, but Phoebe and her intrepid lady’s maid Eva know she is innocent and ferret out the truth before Julia can be tried for murder.
I enjoy the relationship between Phoebe and Eva in this series. The book takes place in 1920 when people are still coming to terms with the effects of World War I and the changing roles of the upper and lower classes so I do not find their relationship and interactions too farfetched. Phoebe is a modern thinking woman, intelligent and embracing the changing world around her, but there is enough old school in her to keep her realistic. Eva is my favorite character; she is pragmatic and loyal, brave and willing to do whatever it takes for her “family”. We see quite a bit of the Renshaw family in this book, and I enjoy Phoebe’s grandfather a great deal. Even mostly obnoxious younger brother Fox has some redeeming moments here.
The mystery is well plotted and told at a steady pace. There are enough suspects to keep readers attention but not too many to become confusing. Their motives are all valid, and each one was my prime suspect at least once throughout the tale. Even after I homed in on the killer, I had no idea of their motive until it was revealed.
I adored A Murderous Marriage and cannot wait for the next book in the series to be released. Highly recommended to any historical, cozy, or traditional mystery reader.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*