Murder in Postscript

A Lady of Letters Mystery

By Mary Winters

ISBN 9780593548769

Brought to you by OBS reviewer Jeanie


When one of her readers asks for advice following a suspected murder, Victorian countess Amelia Amesbury, who secretly pens the popular Lady Agony column, has no choice but to investigate in this first book in a charming new historical mystery series.

Amelia Amesbury–widow, mother, and countess–has a secret. Amelia writes for a London penny paper, doling out advice on fashion, relationships, and manners under the pen name Lady Agony. But when a lady’s maid writes Amelia to ask for advice when she believes her mistress has been murdered–and then ends up a victim herself–Amelia is determined to solve the case.

With the help of her best friend and a handsome marquis, Amelia begins to piece together the puzzle, but as each new thread of inquiry ends with a different suspect, the investigation grows ever more daunting. From London’s docks and ballrooms to grand country houses, Amelia tracks a killer, putting her reputation–and her life–on the line. (from Goodreads)


This is a solid and delightful first in a new historical mystery series, and I found it very impressive! The characters, especially Amelia, Winifred, Tabitha, and Kitty are wonderfully depicted, establishing their personalities. The mystery was intriguing and kept me guessing throughout. While there were many suspenseful moments, there was also humor. Life in London in 1860 was demonstrated well, and I found the background of Lady Amelia’s secret project fascinating.

Lady Amelia Amesbury was not always a member of the British nobility. She worked at her family’s respectable country inn where her family entertained guests with plays and musical events. She met and fell in love with Lord Edgar Amesbury before she knew he was an earl and one of the wealthier men in London. He did not tell her until she had accepted his marriage proposal. His goal in marrying was to provide an excellent mother figure for his orphaned niece, Winifred. It would only be a short time before the degenerative disease he had not yet divulged to her would take his life and he wanted someone interested in Winifred’s welfare rather than his money.

Two years after his passing, Winifred, who Amelia adored, was preparing for her first pianoforte recital. She had incredible talent, as had her late mother and other family members. Amelia had a secret nobody could know about, especially Edgar’s Aunt Tabitha, who ran the estate. Tabitha also made certain that Amelia learned and abided by every nuance of London’s high society. How well Amelia lived up to these unwritten rules would ensure – or damage – Winifred’s place in society.

Lady Amelia’s secret is that she answers readers’ questions as Lady Agony in a popular penny weekly. Society matrons would disapprove to the point it could cause harm to Winifred’s future position. Amelia loves to write, and this is the only thing she does just for herself. I enjoyed samples of letters to Lady Agony and her responses at the opening of almost every chapter. Some are amusing and her responses blunt yet kind, until she received a most unusual missive in the packet from the newspaper.

A young woman named Charlotte was despairing, having witnessed what she is certain was the murder of the woman she worked for. She wanted Lady Agony to meet her that evening to help her. She would wear a red hat so Amelia could recognize her and discuss this delicate matter. Instead, a long-time family friend, Simon, Marquis of Bainbridge, was coming to dinner. He and her late husband had grown up and served in the Royal Navy together, and Aunt Tabitha insisted on her presence.

Claiming a sudden headache during dinner, Amelia changed clothes and slipped out the back. She couldn’t find Charlotte at first, until she saw a red hat and crumpled dress floating on the water near the bench where they were to meet. Charlotte was dead. When turning to run and look for the killer, she is met by Lord Bainbridge, who is very interested in what she is doing. Before he will get a constable, she had to tell him how she knew Charlotte, if he would keep the Lady Agony persona secret. 

They discovered Charlotte’s mistress was Flora, the recently deceased daughter of Admiral Edwards, under whom Edgar and Simon served in the navy. Out of respect for Amelia’s care of Winifred, Simon told her to go home and let him handle the constable. She did so only after extracting his promise to help her get to the bottom of the young women’s deaths. Both could be considered accidental, yet Charlotte’s letter says otherwise. Against his better judgment, he will see her the next day to begin their arrangement. Amelia soon receives threatening letters by someone who figured out her true identity and wants her to stop asking questions.

The author has designed realistic, unique characters. I like Amelia the best. She thinks for herself, is caring, responsible, and funny, and willing to do all she can to be a good example to the beloved Winifred. Winifred and Simon are also favorites, and I even grew to like Aunt Tabitha. I already see growth in each of these four people and look forward to getting to know them even better.

The mystery has been plotted and executed with excellence. It is a riveting read, one that I found difficult to put down. The real killer was elusive, and I wrestled with who the killer was. I was very surprised at the reveal and satisfied with the entire novel. The next one in the series can’t come too quickly for me; I highly recommend this excellent historical mystery!