by Jennifer Ashley
Series: Kat Holloway #1
Published by: Penguin
Genres: Historical, Cozy Mystery
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.
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 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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