by T.E. Kinsey
Series: Lady Hardcastle Mystery #5
Narrator: Elizabeth Knowelden
Length: 9 hours 20 minutes
Genres: Historical, Cozy Mystery
Purchase*: Amazon | Audible *affiliate
Narration: 5 cups Speed: 1.0x
January 1910. A journalist has been killed in a suspicious blaze. Everything points to a group of suffragettes, but the apparent culprit insists she is innocent.
When Lady Hardcastle receives a letter from a suffragette requesting her urgent help, the retired spy turned sleuth knows only she stands between an accused young woman and the gallows. Evidence at the scene makes Lizzie Worrel’s innocence difficult to believe, and with the police treating it as an open-and-shut case of arson, Lady Hardcastle faces a barrage of resistance as she tries to dig out the truth.
With her trusted maid and confidante, the formidable Flo, Lady Hardcastle sets off in pursuit of the truth as time runs out for the accused suffragette. Was she set up? And if so, is the real culprit a traitor to the cause—or part of a darker conspiracy?
I cannot believe it is the third Wednesday of the month, yet here we are with another guest review from Sophia Rose. Today she is sharing a historical cozy mystery, The Burning Issue of the Day by T.E. Kinsley. Enjoy!
Sophia Rose’s Review
In 1910, the Bristol News reports a suffragette has killed a newspaper man during an arson demonstration and is now up for murder. Lady Hardcastle and her intrepid lady’s maid, Florence are now on the case to prove Lizzie Worrel innocent and find the true arsonist and killer.
The Burning Issue of the Day is the fifth in the Lady Hardcastle historical cozy mysteries. There is a flow to the series, but the reader/listener could get a book out of order as there is a fresh mystery in each installment.
In this latest, the ladies leave their village for the nearby city to involve themselves in the suffragette movement, newspaper industry, and big city politics. With the help of police detective, Inspector Sutherland, who has been told to let the arrest stand and not continue investigating, the help of young, energetic suffragette leader, Georgie, and the return of cynic female reporter, Diana Cordal, they face up against a powerful group of Bristol’s leaders who they are investigating for the crime.
The Lady Hardcastle series are a fun historical cozy mystery series about a pair of retired spies that moved to the country for a rest from their former activities, but find murder investigation an engaging alternative hobby. No one suspects this pair of being more than an eccentric and entertaining widow and her maid, but Lady Emily Hardcastle has a first class brain behind her playful and sometimes vague remarks and Flo, her little Welsh maid, grew up agile and capable in the circus and is trained in the martial arts. They are an entertaining pair of friends and amateur sleuths.
I enjoy how each installment of this series focuses on a different aspect of history from that Edwardian time period. Music, car racing, moving pictures, and now women’s suffrage. The city of Bristol is brought to life and I appreciate the historical backdrop the author takes the time to paint.
The mystery in this one is slow burn as the group conducts their investigation. There was a good bit going on that could be part of it or simply a distraction. There were many players that had to be investigated, too. So, it gets along slowly. I figured out most of it ahead of time, but it’s always enjoyable to see how they work it out and bring about justice.
Elizabeth Knowelden is the narrator for this series and she is sensational at bringing the characters, including the men, various classes, and the historical tone to life. Flo is the point of view of the story and I like how she is portrayed with the more lively voices given to the others except Inspector Sunderland who tends to be the straight guy in the humor moments. I love how Knowelden’s narration brings that special shine to the stories.
All in all, this was another easy going, delightful addition to the series. Those who enjoy lighter-toned historical mysteries with a great deal of humor should give this series a try.
Lindy@ A Bookish Escape
I think it’s wonderful how each book in the series focuses on a different social aspect from the Edwardian period. That’s what I love about historical fiction; you can be entertained by as great story, while still learning about history as it comes to life.
Yes!!! Exactly, Lindy. The first one I read was old time motorcar racing, then early movies, and of course now we have the suffragettes. Always interesting things to learn while getting a good mystery.
I hate reading out of order as most people know about me. Did you have trouble with it? Did they use a bunch of backstory in here and made you feel lost? It sounds like a great book. I am adding it to my TBR list.
This is a series that it won’t hurt you getting it out of order since each book shares enough about the past so the reader has a good feel of what came before and each book showcases a new mystery.
Oh yes please ah but number 5. Should they be read in order?
I actually jumped in with book three and hopped around to four, to one and now five so…. LOL, I think you’d do alright diving in at whichever one takes your fancy. Each book always gets the reader up to speed about the past and each has a new mystery.
I read the first two books of this series and have started the third. I take breaks in between because to me it feels there is a lot in the books that could be left out and the story would still flow. Yet, I like the characters of Flo and Lady Hardcastle and how they relate to each other. Their banter makes the books worth the extraneous information.
I get to one or two a year, but I agree that there is a lot of extra tossed in to slow down the plot pace. :Love the banter between them, too. 🙂
Tyler H. Jolley
Excellent review, Sophia! I hope all is well in your neck of the woods.
Doing well! 🙂
Katherine @ I Wish I Lived in a Library
How have I never read this series? It seems like one I’d absolutely love and this looks fantastic! Definitely adding to my TBR!
Oh yay! Glad to put you onto it, Katherine. 🙂
This sounds like a thoroughly enjoyable series – thank you for sharing:).
You betcha! They make me laugh and smile. 🙂
I like the time period 😀 but the slow burn… ):
Yeah, definitely a slow one like a cozy. 🙂
Oh I love love a good during this period!
Yes, it is a neat time in history, Melliane. 🙂
So glad you enjoyed this one, Sophia. I really love the little snow-globe feel to that cover!
They are a fun and whimsical cover to match the tone of the stories.
I need to look more into this series. I really enjoy reading historical mysteries and historical fiction in general. It certainly sounds very cozy! Glad you enjoyed it! 🙂
These ones are on the lighter end of the spectrum with some humor so they are fun stuff. 🙂
I love the premise, era and the sound of this cozy. Lady Hardcastle is definitely a character that I would enjoy. Great review! Thanks for sharing.
Oh good, glad it sounds like you’d enjoy it, Cynthia!