Death Below Stairs by Jennifer Ashley

January 5th, 2018 Kimberly Review 23 Comments

5th Jan
Death Below Stairs by Jennifer Ashley
Death Below Stairs
by Jennifer Ashley
Series: Kat Holloway Mysteries #1
Genres: Historical, Cozy Mystery
Source: Publisher
Purchase*: Amazon *affiliate
Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

Victorian class lines are crossed when cook Kat Holloway is drawn into a murder that reaches all the way to the throne.

Highly sought-after young cook Kat Holloway takes a position in a Mayfair mansion and soon finds herself immersed in the odd household of Lord Rankin. Kat is unbothered by the family’s eccentricities as long as they stay away from her kitchen, but trouble finds its way below stairs when her young Irish assistant is murdered.

Intent on discovering who killed the helpless kitchen maid, Kat turns to the ever-capable Daniel McAdam, who is certainly much more than the charming delivery man he pretends to be. Along with the assistance of Lord Rankin’s unconventional sister-in-law and a mathematical genius, Kat and Daniel discover that the household murder was the barest tip of a plot rife with danger and treason—one that’s a threat to Queen Victoria herself.

Book Series historical MURDERMYSTERY well written

A Victorian-era cozy mystery involving a cook. How could I resist? Death Below Stairs by Jennifer Ashley is the first in the Kat Holloway Mysteries series and offered a delightful, murder mystery with unexpected twists and a bright young heroine.

First I must tell you there is a prequel to this story. A Soupçon of Poison and while it isn’t necessary to read it, it does offer an intro to principal characters and is one I recommend. You will quickly learn that Kat has a habit of stumbling over dead bodies.

Mrs. Kat Holloway is one of the youngest cooks in London and comes highly recommended. In Death Below Stairs, she takes a position in the Mayfair district in the home of Lord Rankin. The household is quite odd, from the fragile Lady Rankin to her sister garbed in men’s attire and the quirky help. None of this phases Kat, so long as they stay out of her kitchen.  On her second morning, she enters the pantry to discover that her young assistant has been bludgeoned to death. The tale that unfolds was a captivating one as Kat sets out to solve the murder undercovers a clever scheme.

Death Below Stairs, was an amusing tale, that takes us belowstairs in a Victorian household and enlists the help of an aloof mathematical genius, Daniel’s son and Rankin’s unique and resourceful sister-in-law. The characters were well developed, and the plot delightful paced allowing me to quickly devoured the story.

The murder-mystery soon gives way to a plot to harm the crown and Ashley made it all feel rather plausible. There is an overall arc to the series that presented questions. Who is Daniel McAdam? He is a jack of all trades and moves between the classes. What are his intentions towards Kat? We learn about Kat’s past, and it further endeared me to this strong, capable cook.

Smart and captivating Death Below Stairs, is the perfect Victorian cozy to curl up with. All the sweet talk of scones, tea, and four-course meals might leave you a tad hungry. Fortunately, Ashley’s engaging whodunit will keep you occupied.  I look forward to Scandal Above Stairs, releasing in July 2018.

Death Below Stairs by Jennifer Ashley was a clever Victorian era Cozy Mystery that left me anxious for the next. Click To Tweet
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About Kimberly
Kimberly is a coffee loving book addict who reads and listens to fictional stories in all genres. Whovian, Ravenclaw, Howler and proud Nonna. She owns and manages Caffeinated PR. The coffee is always on and she is ready to chat. Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

23 Responses to “Death Below Stairs by Jennifer Ashley”

  1. Stefanie

    This book sounds good. I like how there is a young cook as opposed to the traditional, older cook. And thank you for sharing about your sock knitting friend. Does she have a blog? I wouldn’t mind checking it out.

    • Kimberly

      Hi Stefanie. Felicia @ The Geeky Book Blogger. She just launched a website for her crafts to called Mess to Best.

  2. Leona

    I’ve always been interested in cozy mysteries, so when I read the synopsis for this story I was intrigued. I think this story is on one of my lists on Goodreads, but I still have to finish two other series by Ashley before I can jump on this one lol.

  3. Stormi Johnson

    I was going to check out the prequel but I just couldn’t pay 2.99 for a really short read, now it it would have been .99 I would have…lol. I really enjoyed this one and I think Daniel is like my new book boyfriend…lol. I can’t wait for the next one too!

  4. Geybie’s Book Blog

    I started a book which sounds similar to this (historical romance) but had a hard time following the story. It’s been a while since the last time I read any historical genre. Cozy myster in a Victorian era sounds interesting, Kim. I always want to read any book you review. This year i’m planning to read more of other genres than i’m used to.

    Thanks for sharing, my friend. Awesome review, as always. ❤️

  5. Ailyn Koay

    actually it sounds more like Kat is a body magnet that … having a habit of stumbling over dead bodies. Pretty sure she didn’t actually stumble upon them, rather they were left there for her to find

  6. Greg

    This one sounds really good, I haven’t read an upstairs/ downstairs kind of mystery in a while and I love the sound of this one. Plus I haven’t read a good cozy in ages. 🙂

  7. Jo

    I love books with storylines happening in the Victorian era, this one sounds great!

  8. Sophia Rose

    I will definitely be reading this. I love historical mysteries, but I don’t think I’ve ever read one with these cool elements. I’ll make sure to snag the prequel.

    Enjoyed your review, Kimberly!

  9. Melissa

    I’ve never read this author but it sounds like a fun new cozy series. I didn’t read enough cozies last year.

  10. Debbie Haupt

    Kim first thanks for the prequel hint and I am so psyched that the fab Jenn Ashely is penning a historical cozy series, she’s one of the few historical authors i love and who could resist a Victorian Downton Abbey like cozy. Great review and I want it, I think I’ll do this one on audible if it’s available. xo Happy Friday

  11. Silvia

    Ok, I have to read at least ONE cozy mystery this year, I hear you 😉 And yes, I’m totally going to check the prequel, thank you!

  12. Berls

    Jennifer Ashley is a great author – I have so much of her stuff to read still. And it seems I’ll be looking up another book for my TBR. Thanks for the note about the prequel, it’s always helpful to know how important they are.