Thursday, December 8, 2016

Lady Hardcastle and Flo Are Deep in Mysteries, Again.

IN THE MARKET FOR MURDER (Lady Hardcastle # 2)
T. E. Kinsey
Thomas & Mercer
December 20, 2016

Just in time for the holidays, Lady Hardcastle and her "tiny servant", Florence Armstrong, are back with new adventures. Lady Hardcastle's injuries sustained in the first book, A Quiet Life in the Country, have been slow to heal but both ladies are ready to get back to normal life in the village of Littleton Cotterell in Gloucestershire. No longer considered "incomers" they both have the acceptance and liking of the village and a respectful relationship with Inspector Sunderland of the Bristol CID.

Their friend, Lady Farley-Stroud, persuades them both to attend Market Day in the nearby town of Chipping Bevington. Neither Lady Hardcastle nor Florence is very interested in the outing, especially in a torrential downpour. Florence, in particular, has an aversion to cows. While the three ladies are having lunch in the crowded pub, a farmer named Spencer Caradine falls over dead in his beef pie. No one is at all upset, though, as Caradine was universally disliked. Inspector Sunderland asks them to look into the matter as they have a knack for solving mysteries and can get villagers to talk who might be reticent with him. While they investigate, other mysteries pop up; a break-in at the local cricket club and a seance with an aggressive ghost. It also seems that there is a very wide field of suspects in the death of Caradine.

The Lady Hardcastle Mysteries are a delightful way to spend an afternoon or evening in a place and time that probably never really existed. The whole village of Littleton Cotterell seems bathed in a golden glow, even with the amount of mayhem going on. Lady Hardcastle is wonderfully eccentric and there is much more to Florence than meets the eye. For instance, her knowledge and practice of martial arts learned in her travels with Lady Hardcastle in India and China make her unique in 1909. Their close relationship and banter make the women more like sisters than mistress and servant. I highly recommend this series for pure enjoyment.

Thanks to Thomas & Mercer and Netgalley for an advance digital copy in return for an honest review.

RATING- 4 Stars

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