Scandal Above Stairs
Below Stairs Mystery #2
By Jennifer Ashley
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele
Priceless artwork has gone missing from the home of a wealthy baronet, and his wife stands to take the blame. When Kat’s employer asks for help in clearing her friend’s name, Kat trades her kitchen for the homes of Mayfair’s wealthiest families.
Soon antiques are disappearing not only from the extravagant households of connoisseurs and collectors, but from the illustrious British Museum. As the thefts increase in frequency, Kat calls upon her friend Daniel McAdam, who has already set himself up in a pawnshop on the Strand as a seedy receiver of stolen goods. When a man is murdered in the shop, Kat must use all of her wits to see that the thieves are caught and justice is done.(Goodreads.com)
Scandal Above Stairs, the second installment in the Below Stairs Mystery series, definitely does not suffer from a sophomore slump. Full of fabulous characters, an authentic Victorian setting, and a couple of mysteries to solve, it is a well written, entertaining escapade.
The Below Stairs Mystery series is quickly becoming a favorite historical series. This installment picks up a few weeks after the conclusion of the last book, Death Below Stairs, and cook Kat Holloway is busy with her own duties and those of the vacant housekeeper, all under the direction of a temporary master. Lord Rankin has escaped London and leaves his deceased wife’s aunt and uncle serving as chaperone to his sister-in-law Lady Cynthia. Lady Cynthia is nothing if not eccentric, preferring gentlemen’s dress and secret late night excursions, but she has become something of a friend to Kat. She asks Kat to “investigate” an art theft at her friend’s Mayfair residence. Quickly resolved, Kat is soon distracted by the ever enigmatic Daniel’s sudden appearance as a pawnbroker. It seems art is not all that is going missing as of late, historical artifacts are also being stolen from museums and private collectors. When someone is murdered, the stakes rise, and Kat finds herself involved in a twisted, baffling investigation.
The mystery here is solid, if a little light, and the characters really shine. Kat is an intelligent, practical sleuth. Lady Cynthia, Thanos, James, and new character Tess are all so different yet believable and intriguing. But, of course, it is Daniel who keeps me turning pages. He is so very secretive about his past and his employer that I found myself reading in hopes of learning something, anything, more about him. However, I wish he had been featured here more. He is pivotal to the mystery just not around much. He does appear to be a genuinely good man, and he and Kat seem like a wonderful match. Their relationship is definitely a slow burn. I enjoyed the emphasis on the antiquities, and there are a few twists and turns that kept me guessing throughout the tale. I admit it, I did not see the ending coming. I enjoy being surprised.
Scandal Above Stairs is a wonderful read. Highly recommended.