This Chick Read: Death at the Crystal Palace (A Below Stairs Mystery #5) by Jennifer Ashley

While attending an exhibit at the Crystal Palace, cook and amateur investigator, Kat Holloway is approached by the Duchess of Covington who has heard of her reputation for solving crimes. The Duchess believes that someone is poisoning her and she’d like Kat to solve the mystery. As Kat steps in to negotiate, she calls on her friends to help. She sets up her friend Cynthia as a houseguest with Lady Covington to determine the dynamics of the household and receives police information from the beau of her assistant. At the same time she is drawn into another mystery by her friend and almost boyfriend Daniel to help him with a possible terrorist. When does Kat have time to cook?!!

I love these below stairs mysteries. Kat Holloway, although in service as a cook seems to have gained a reputation as a person who can solve crimes in different levels of society. Her place as a respected cook allows her to gain access below stairs while at the same time finding out all manners of things by the people living upstairs. It’s a fascinating look at the different levels of historical London society.

Her relationship with Daniel seems to have evolved emotionally yet Kat, being a single mother, is hesitant to allow anything untoward to happen. She is not the most trusting woman and Daniel’s predilection to going undercover as some sort of spy keeps her from going all in in her relationship with him. He, on the other hand, seems to be head over heels. Isn’t it nice when the man is more involved emotionally than the woman? She can take her time figuring out what she wants to do with her heart.

I’m not sure how this author switches gears from writing shifter romances to historical whodunnit’s but this series is very effective. It has charm, mystery, and a hint of romance that keeps me entertained and coming back for more. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

I received a copy of this book through NetGalley and the publisher for my honest review and it was honest.

Click this link to purchase!* Death at the Crystal Palace (A Below Stairs Mystery)

Copyright 2021 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate- if you purchase this book through the above link I’ll receive a small stipend.

This Chick Read: Murder in the East End (Kat Holloway #4) by Jennifer Ashley

Head cook, Kat Holloway, can’t resist helping those in need and when she finds out some children have gone missing from London’s Foundling Hospital she decides to investigate. As a single mother whose daughter is growing up with another family, Kat is aware of how quickly her daughters circumstances could change. Helped by her friends she quickly delves into the mystery and despairs over finding the children unharmed.

This series takes us downstairs from the society folk Kat serves and gives us a behind the scenes look at what the lower levels of society in Victorian London may face. Each novel in the series ensnares the reader in the mystery while captivating our minds and hearts with the strength of Kat’s character as well as those of the staff and friends around her. What could be a simple tale ends up having many layers and gives depth to these simple people who are just trying to work to survive a harsh landscape. Kat Holloway navigates these various levels of society never forgetting her circumstances and how a wrong word can affect she and her daughters survival. Murder in the East End laid bare the fine line she walks as well as the emotional balance she strikes between her friendship and love, no matter the level of society those people reside in.

What did I think of Murder in the East End? I enjoyed not only the resolution to the mystery but also how Kat’s relationship with Daniel moved to the next step emotionally. After being betrayed by her husband Kat is very careful with her feelings but Murder in the East End revealed secrets that allowed Kat to give Daniel her trust, and hopefully her heart will follow. I’ll admit to being fascinated with the Victorian era as well. Society is filled with rules and yet below stairs their lives are much more base. The contrast between the two makes the division between classes even more apparent which makes novels riveting reading. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

I received a copy of the ARC from the publisher through NetGalley for my honest review and it was honest.

Click this link to purchase!* Murder in the East End (A Below Stairs Mystery)

Copyright 2020 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate- if you should purchase this book through the above link I’ll receive a small stipend.

This Chick Read: Death in Kew Gardens (A Below Stairs Mystery #3) by Jennifer Ashley

Kat and her cooks assistant Tess run out on errands for the evenings meal and run into a Chinese man in the street. Literally. Picking up their various packages, Mr. Li and Kat strike up a brief friendship that grows stronger when he gives her the gift of a fabulous blend of tea. When her next door neighbor is murdered and a “chinese man” is the main suspect, Kat is determined to clear Mr. Li, convinced that this nice man would not harm her neighbor. With the help of her usual casts of characters including the enigmatic handyman Daniel she finds herself enmeshed in another whodunnit that reveals as much about her as the other characters in this novel, including our killer.

I’m a sucker for a great historical mystery and the Below Stairs Mysteries have not yet disappointed. This is the third novel in the series and as each mystery is solved the reader learns more about Kat, Daniel, Tess and the other characters in these books. These tidbits have helped keep my interest making me eager to read the next novel to see what new bit of knowledge will be revealed. Daniel is the biggest mystery still unsolved. He’s a handyman, yet is also a bit of a gentleman making the reader feel as if he’s trying on parts for each investigation. Which is the real man and once that mystery is resolved how will he and Kat’s relationship play out? I will definitely keep reading to find out.

The mystery in this novel was just a little lackluster for me. I enjoyed the new cultural references and found the history of tea to be really interesting, however, I wasn’t as invested in some of the new characters as I had been in the first two books of the series. Not to say it was bad, it really wasn’t! I enjoyed the interaction between Kat, Cynthia, Thanos and Daniel more than I did the mystery and sped through the investigation to get to the meat of their relationships. I’m sure it’s because I’m such a huge fan of romance novels, so I focused on that part of the book more than the mystery.

Do you like historical mysteries with a hint of romance? If so, then this novel and series should be added to your TBR. Each book can be read as a stand alone but they’re so much more enjoyable if you have some back story for the main characters. I’d recommend reading the other novels before picking this one up. Once you do, you’ll really enjoy your trips to Jennifer Ashley’s historical London.

❤️❤️❤️❤️

I received a free copy of the ARC through NetGalley for my honest review and it was honest!

Opinions from around the Blogosphere

“Death in Kew Gardens reminded me of both Downton Abbey and Grand Hotel, with a touch of Agatha Christie. I will definitely be reading the forerunners in this series and anxiously await for book number four.” A Wondrous Bookshelf

Click this link to purchase!* Death in Kew Gardens (A Below Stairs Mystery)

Copyright 2019 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate

This Chick Read: Scandal Above Stairs (A Below Stairs Mystery #2) by Jennifer Ashley

When Kat’s employer asks for her help in solving the disappearance of some artwork from her friends home, Kat discovers there are a series of thefts occuring in the upper echelons of society. While investigating she is surprised to find her friend (and love interest) Daniel McAdams ensconced in a pawn shop fencing stolen goods. When a man turns up dead in his shop Kat ends up investigating more than stolen goods and once again finds herself in the drawing rooms of the elite, when all she wants is to be quietly cooking in her kitchen.

This series takes place at the turn of the century in London, in a time where upstairs downstairs lines are drawn severely. As the head cook responsible for feeding not only the family that lives there, but the 20 or so servants who work in that house, I am amazed that Kat can find the time to investigate the crimes she finds herself embroiled in. A couple of months have passed since the previous novel and she has not heard a word from Daniel. When she finds him at the center of her investigation, she’s pretty relieved and we see how much she is starting to care for him. The mystery that is Daniel McAdams is slowly being unveiled, but we still don’t know exactly who he is working for, but I’ll admit to loving his roguish charm and the twinkle in his eye as he makes Kat forget she’s mad at him.

This mystery was very well plotted out, but it’s the characters that keep me coming back to these novels. As I learn more about them, I care more about how their lives are enmeshed and I’ll admit that I find it fascinating to read about the lives of the servants in a big London house. It’s very Mansfield Park, although not as boring. LOL.

If you love historical mysteries and haven’t read the first novel Death Below Stairs, please read it! These are not lively books, but the mysteries are very good and Jennifer Ashley really knows how to write great characters. I know you’ll get caught up in their daily lives and will want to see how all of the relationships will pan out- oh, and you’ll also help catch a killer or two. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Death Below Stairs

Click this link to purchase!* Scandal Above Stairs (A Below Stairs Mystery)

Copyright 2018 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate

This Chick Read: Death Below Stairs (A Below Stairs mystery) by Jennifer Ashley

Kat Holloway has taken a new post as Cook for Lord Rankin an eccentric gentleman, when her kitchen maid turns up murdered in her pantry. With the help of sometime deliveryman Daniel McAdam Kat investigates and finds herself embroiled in a treasonous plot against the crown. Death Below Stairs while providing an entertaining mystery, also unveils aspects of the working class in historical London that gives the novel depth and heart.

This novel was set up previously in a novella, A Soupcon of Poison, which I immediately read upon finishing Death Below Stairs. Kat was not necessarily happy to see Daniel show up on Lord Rankin’s doorstep, this time disguised as a gentleman. When the maid turned up dead, Kat begrudgingly turned to Daniel for help, implying something had happened in their past that put him in the doghouse. The fact that Daniel was a chameleon, changing roles in her life, created a mystery within the mystery, giving their relationship a little tension adding depth to the danger of the mystery.

If you like light mysteries, Death Below Stairs will be right up your alley. As a heroine, Kat is very easy to like, and the light romance between she and Daniel added an element of romantic suspense to the already mysterious plot. An added bonus is you won’t have a long wait for the next mystery, as it comes out in July. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

I was given a copy of this ARC for my honest review and it was honest!

Death Below Stairs Click the link to purchase! Death Below Stairs (A Below Stairs Mystery) Copyright 2017 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

This Chick Read: Guardian’s Mate (Shifters Unbound #9) by Jennifer Ashley

Rae Lyall has been chosen by the Goddess to be the first female Guardian which pisses off a lot of  elder shifters.  They claim her choosing was  engineered by her father, the leader of the Montana shifter town. Continue reading “This Chick Read: Guardian’s Mate (Shifters Unbound #9) by Jennifer Ashley”