A Lady’s Guide to Gossip and Murder

A Lady’s Guide To Gossip And MurderA Lady’s Guide To Gossip And Murder
by Dianne Freeman
Rating: ★★★½
Series: Countess of Harleigh Mystery #2
Publication Date: June 25, 2019
Pages: 277

How far will some go to safeguard a secret? In the latest novel in Dianne Freeman's witty and delightful historical mystery series, the adventurous Countess Harleigh finds out . . .

Though American by birth, Frances Wynn, the now-widowed Countess of Harleigh, has adapted admirably to the quirks and traditions of the British aristocracy. On August twelfth each year, otherwise known as the Glorious Twelfth, most members of the upper class retire to their country estates for grouse-shooting season. Frances has little interest in hunting-for birds or a second husband-and is expecting to spend a quiet few months in London with her almost-engaged sister, Lily, until the throng returns. Instead, she's immersed in a shocking mystery when a friend, Mary Archer, is found murdered. Frances had hoped Mary might make a suitable bride for her cousin, Charles, but their courtship recently fizzled out. Unfortunately, this puts Charles in the spotlight-along with dozens of others. It seems Mary had countless notes hidden in her home, detailing the private indiscretions of society's elite. Frances can hardly believe that the genteel and genial Mary was a blackmailer, yet why else would she horde such juicy tidbits? Aided by her gallant friend and neighbor, George Hazelton, Frances begins assisting the police in this highly sensitive case, learning more about her peers than she ever wished to know. Too many suspects may be worse than none at all-but even more worrying is that the number of victims is increasing too. And unless Frances takes care, she'll soon find herself among them . . .

I enjoyed this follow up to A Lady’s Guide to Etiquette and Murder, but found certain plot points in the beginning irritatingly obvious, which, in turn, had me dragging my heels to finish it. Once the characters had the ‘ah-hah’ moment I’d had almost immediately, the story become more interesting.  I liked the little twist at the end; it wasn’t totally surprising, as the story could have worked either way, but it added a bit of zing.

I look forward to the third book.

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