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Murder Most Malicious

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In post–World War I England, Lady Phoebe Renshaw and her lady's maid, Eva Huntford, step outside of their social roles and put their lives at risk to apprehend a vicious killer. . . December 1918: As a difficult year draws to a close, there is much to celebrate for nineteen-year-old Phoebe Renshaw and her three siblings at their beloved family estate of Foxwood Hall. The dr In post–World War I England, Lady Phoebe Renshaw and her lady's maid, Eva Huntford, step outside of their social roles and put their lives at risk to apprehend a vicious killer. . . December 1918: As a difficult year draws to a close, there is much to celebrate for nineteen-year-old Phoebe Renshaw and her three siblings at their beloved family estate of Foxwood Hall. The dreadful war is finally over; eldest daughter Julia's engagement to their houseguest, the Marquis of Allerton, appears imminent; and all have gathered to enjoy peace on earth, good will toward men. But the peace of Foxwood Hall is shattered on the morning of Boxing Day, when the Marquis goes missing. Not entirely missing, however, as macabre evidence of foul play turns up in gift boxes given to lady's maid Eva Huntford and a handful of others. Having overheard her sister and the Marquis in a heated exchange the night before, Lady Phoebe takes a personal interest in solving the mystery. As the local constable suspects a footman at Foxwood Hall, Phoebe and Eva follow the clues to a different conclusion. But both young women will need to think outside the box to wrap up this case--before a cornered killer lashes out with ill will toward them. . .


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In post–World War I England, Lady Phoebe Renshaw and her lady's maid, Eva Huntford, step outside of their social roles and put their lives at risk to apprehend a vicious killer. . . December 1918: As a difficult year draws to a close, there is much to celebrate for nineteen-year-old Phoebe Renshaw and her three siblings at their beloved family estate of Foxwood Hall. The dr In post–World War I England, Lady Phoebe Renshaw and her lady's maid, Eva Huntford, step outside of their social roles and put their lives at risk to apprehend a vicious killer. . . December 1918: As a difficult year draws to a close, there is much to celebrate for nineteen-year-old Phoebe Renshaw and her three siblings at their beloved family estate of Foxwood Hall. The dreadful war is finally over; eldest daughter Julia's engagement to their houseguest, the Marquis of Allerton, appears imminent; and all have gathered to enjoy peace on earth, good will toward men. But the peace of Foxwood Hall is shattered on the morning of Boxing Day, when the Marquis goes missing. Not entirely missing, however, as macabre evidence of foul play turns up in gift boxes given to lady's maid Eva Huntford and a handful of others. Having overheard her sister and the Marquis in a heated exchange the night before, Lady Phoebe takes a personal interest in solving the mystery. As the local constable suspects a footman at Foxwood Hall, Phoebe and Eva follow the clues to a different conclusion. But both young women will need to think outside the box to wrap up this case--before a cornered killer lashes out with ill will toward them. . .

30 review for Murder Most Malicious

  1. 5 out of 5

    Angie

    3.5-4 stars... This is what I would call an "upstairs-downstairs" historical mystery novel, most likely the setting inspired by the ever popular Downton Abbey tv series. Time period is just after the end of WWI, (1918). I was delighted that it just after Christmas which is about when I started reading it:) Our main sleuths are Phoebe, granddaughter of Foxwood Hall and Eva, Lady's Maid to Phoebe and her 2 sisters. Their friendship seems forged from a desire to correctly solve the mystery as much a 3.5-4 stars... This is what I would call an "upstairs-downstairs" historical mystery novel, most likely the setting inspired by the ever popular Downton Abbey tv series. Time period is just after the end of WWI, (1918). I was delighted that it just after Christmas which is about when I started reading it:) Our main sleuths are Phoebe, granddaughter of Foxwood Hall and Eva, Lady's Maid to Phoebe and her 2 sisters. Their friendship seems forged from a desire to correctly solve the mystery as much as anything else. A guest in the home for Christmas holidays goes missing mysteriously and certain things found lead them to believe he might not be still alive. Oh heavens!! A valet is arrested, but many wonder if he's really the culprit. There's many options for who might have a done it, and why. It's light reading for the most part, but I enjoyed it. It wasn't terribly hard to figure out the whodunnit, but it kept me interested and wanting to read on! If you are looking for suspense and an intricate plot, this book is probably not for you, though. I am excited to see what happens next and where future books take all the characters. I would definitely read others in the series and look forward to checking out the Newport mysteries also written by Alyssa Maxwell. **Many thanks to NetGalley & Kensington Publishers for an advance reader's copy for review purposes**

  2. 4 out of 5

    Hilary

    There were some interesting historical details, as well as some good reminders of the overlooked sacrifices and effects of WWI, but these were balanced by a few inaccuracies and anachronisms. (view spoiler)[It would be highly unlikely for a murder trial to be successful without a body and with so little evidence, for example, and I'm fairly certain a lady would have worn more underwear than was suggested. (hide spoiler)] In addition, the copious number of tropes took it from a potentially fresh There were some interesting historical details, as well as some good reminders of the overlooked sacrifices and effects of WWI, but these were balanced by a few inaccuracies and anachronisms. (view spoiler)[It would be highly unlikely for a murder trial to be successful without a body and with so little evidence, for example, and I'm fairly certain a lady would have worn more underwear than was suggested. (hide spoiler)] In addition, the copious number of tropes took it from a potentially fresh look to yet another Downton Abbey-style mystery. (view spoiler)[Just to name a few, there was the old bat, the kind and overly thoughtful daughter, the selfish daughter, and the blinkered policeman unwilling to consider another view. (hide spoiler)] So this was good as a one-off read, if you're looking for something slightly unusual and less fluffy than many, but I can't see myself reading it again, or any others. Disclaimer: I received a free copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Trish

    I had high hopes for Murder Most Malicious and was delighted to find that this historical mystery not only met, but exceeded, my expectations. This novel is a wonderful read for anyone who loves Downton Abbey or Upstairs, Downstairs. It has a great cast of characters both upstairs and down. The story takes place after the end of World War II. The period details are perfect, and sure to delight fans of historical fiction. Murder Most Malicious is also a cozy mystery. I loved the way that Lady Phoeb I had high hopes for Murder Most Malicious and was delighted to find that this historical mystery not only met, but exceeded, my expectations. This novel is a wonderful read for anyone who loves Downton Abbey or Upstairs, Downstairs. It has a great cast of characters both upstairs and down. The story takes place after the end of World War II. The period details are perfect, and sure to delight fans of historical fiction. Murder Most Malicious is also a cozy mystery. I loved the way that Lady Phoebe and her lady's maid Eva became involved in the mystery and worked together to solve it. I found the mystery kept me guessing until the end. The characters are well drawn, and the dialogue moves both characterization and plot along. I especially enjoyed all the scenes with Phoebe and Eva. This is a lovely, leisurely read for a winter weekend ... perfect to enjoy with a pot of tea. Very highly recommended!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Linda Baker

    I was delighted to receive a copy of Allyssa Maxwell's new mystery set in England in the immediate aftermath of WWI. I had greatly enjoyed her series set in Gilded Age Newport, RI Murder at the Breakers, Murder at Marble House, Murder at Beechwood). They seemed to me well-researched and were populated with fully formed and believable characters. I wish I could say the same for Murder Most Malicious. Set in the large country house of Lord Wroxley, the story takes place at Christmas in the immediat I was delighted to receive a copy of Allyssa Maxwell's new mystery set in England in the immediate aftermath of WWI. I had greatly enjoyed her series set in Gilded Age Newport, RI Murder at the Breakers, Murder at Marble House, Murder at Beechwood). They seemed to me well-researched and were populated with fully formed and believable characters. I wish I could say the same for Murder Most Malicious. Set in the large country house of Lord Wroxley, the story takes place at Christmas in the immediate aftermath of WWI. Lady Phoebe, 19-year-old second granddaughter of the house, overhears a heated argument between her icy older sister, Lady Julia, and a houseguest, Lord Allerton. It is clear that Lord Allerton is a cad and the expected engagement between the two will never happen. The next morning, Boxing Day, dawns with the discovery that Lord Allerton is missing from the house. Later in the day, some very unpleasant inclusions are found in the Christmas boxes of several servants and villagers. The search for the body of Lord Allerton is unsuccessful, but it appears that he must be dead. When a footman falls under suspicion, Lay Phoebe and her maid, Eva, join forces to clear his name. I found it very difficult to keep the large cast of characters sorted and kept putting the book down in sheer frustration. All the country house mystery tropes were trotted out; the bumbling village policeman, the eccentric houseguests, the rakish valet and the martinet housekeeper. This was an uncorrected proof, which I usually take into account when reviewing. Hopefully, errors get corrected before publication, but there were a couple in the early part of the book that seemed to betray a lack of knowledge and research that I couldn't overlook. Finishing the book was a struggle. I don't require a mystery that keeps me guessing, but I do need characters that seem real. Other than Lady Phoebe and Eva, such characters are not present. I wish I could recommend Murder Most Malicious. It was a great disappointment to me, especially after Maxwell's earlier Gilded Age mysteries. Those I do recommend highly to fans of historical mysteries. Thanks to Kensington and NetGalley for an advance digital copy in return for an honest review. RATING-1 1/2 Stars

  5. 4 out of 5

    Reading Reindeer Cobwebbed

    Review: MURDER MOST MALICIOUS by Alyssa Maxwell (A Lady and Lady's Maid Mystery Book 1) MURDER MOST MALICIOUS is an enterprising historical cozy mystery, set in rural England in December 1918, the first peacetime Christmas for Western Europe since the First World War. Life at Foxwood has somewhat settled, until Christmas night, when nineteen-year-old Lady Phoebe overhears, then interrupts, a nasty and uncivil argument between her sister, Lady Julia, and the generally expected fiance to be, Lord A Review: MURDER MOST MALICIOUS by Alyssa Maxwell (A Lady and Lady's Maid Mystery Book 1) MURDER MOST MALICIOUS is an enterprising historical cozy mystery, set in rural England in December 1918, the first peacetime Christmas for Western Europe since the First World War. Life at Foxwood has somewhat settled, until Christmas night, when nineteen-year-old Lady Phoebe overhears, then interrupts, a nasty and uncivil argument between her sister, Lady Julia, and the generally expected fiance to be, Lord Allerton. Next morning, Boxing Day holiday, he is nowhere to be found; until the family servants, and a few village shopkeepers, open their presents from the manor house, only to discover "gifts" they neither expected nor wished. A nefarious and clever killer is at large, and independent-thinking Lady Phoebe bends her keen intellect to discovery.

  6. 5 out of 5

    LORI (Dollycas) CASWELL

    Dollycas’s Thoughts Alyssa Maxwell has brought us a new team of sleuths, Lady Phoebe Renshaw and her maid, Eva Huntford. Christmas at Foxwood Hall has brought several guests to the hall including the Marquis of Allerton and his family. He has asked Lady Phoebe’s sister, Julia to be his wife. Phoebe happens to hear the argument that ensues when he gets a very unexpected answer. The next morning the Marquis is missing and foul play is suspected. Phoebe enlists Eva’s help when she notices the police Dollycas’s Thoughts Alyssa Maxwell has brought us a new team of sleuths, Lady Phoebe Renshaw and her maid, Eva Huntford. Christmas at Foxwood Hall has brought several guests to the hall including the Marquis of Allerton and his family. He has asked Lady Phoebe’s sister, Julia to be his wife. Phoebe happens to hear the argument that ensues when he gets a very unexpected answer. The next morning the Marquis is missing and foul play is suspected. Phoebe enlists Eva’s help when she notices the police go after an easy suspect, not necessarily the right suspect. In this story we are given fantastic characters to love and fantastic characters to hate. Inspector Perkins is an incompetent twit. A man with a small mind who drove me crazy. Thank goodness for Constable Brannock. He was not so sure of the inspector’s findings and was open to listen to other theories. Henry Leighton, Marquess of Allenton, was a really gem, I say that very sarcastically. He has quite a checkered past that visited his present and could be the reason he ended up dead. I really enjoyed the other characters, both those upstairs and down. Lady Phoebe is strong willed and a great protagonist. Her lady’s maid Eva, treads lightly when necessary but she has the trust of Phoebe and the rest of the family. Phoebe, her sisters, Julia and Amelia and their brother Fox, have been raised by their grandparents, the Earl and Countess of Wroxly. Grams and Grampapa are devoted to these children/young adults and want the very best for them. There are quite a bit of staff, shopkeepers, Eva’s family and the Allenton family as well. A big number of characters to keep straight but the author makes it easy because they all bring important qualities to the story as a whole. The story itself is created with immense precision and flowed so perfectly. I was surprised at how quickly I reached the end. It has the expected twists and turns but that final one just caught me by total surprise. The grounds of Foxwood Hall sounded so beautiful all covered in snow. I bet the place is gorgeous in the spring, summer and fall too. The hall seemed to be a complex place with so many rooms and hallways. Plenty of places to hide for a bit a eavesdropping. I would enjoy actually visiting a place like that. I have loved this author’s Gilded Newport Mysteries. She takes us back in time so effortlessly. I know it takes so much time for her to research each story, and it clearly shows in her writing. I am so pleased she has traveled across the pond to bring us a new captivating series.

  7. 5 out of 5

    FangirlNation

    It is Christmas 1918 in Murder Most Malicious by Alyssa Maxwell, and the Renshaws and their neighbors the Allertons have gathered together to celebrate the new peace. Julia Renshaw is all but engaged to Lord Henry Allerton, but on Christmas, her younger sister Phoebe overhears Julia breaking things off with him. In anger and a sense of ownership of Julia, Lord Allerton threatens the woman and grabs her tightly enough to cause massive bruises. Read the rest of this review and other fun, geeky arti It is Christmas 1918 in Murder Most Malicious by Alyssa Maxwell, and the Renshaws and their neighbors the Allertons have gathered together to celebrate the new peace. Julia Renshaw is all but engaged to Lord Henry Allerton, but on Christmas, her younger sister Phoebe overhears Julia breaking things off with him. In anger and a sense of ownership of Julia, Lord Allerton threatens the woman and grabs her tightly enough to cause massive bruises. Read the rest of this review and other fun, geeky articles at Fangirl Nation

  8. 4 out of 5

    QNPoohBear

    Lady Phoebe Renshaw feels frustrated that even though the war is over and their lives have changed forever, her grandparents go on as they did in the old days. They are desperate to marry off Phoebe's older sister Julia and have invited her latest suitor, Henry Leiton, the Marquis of Allerton; his younger brother Lord Theodore; their mother and great-aunt to Christmas along with Lord Owen, Phoebe's crush. Phoebe overhears Julia fighting with Henry and witness a difficult scene but Julia won't co Lady Phoebe Renshaw feels frustrated that even though the war is over and their lives have changed forever, her grandparents go on as they did in the old days. They are desperate to marry off Phoebe's older sister Julia and have invited her latest suitor, Henry Leiton, the Marquis of Allerton; his younger brother Lord Theodore; their mother and great-aunt to Christmas along with Lord Owen, Phoebe's crush. Phoebe overhears Julia fighting with Henry and witness a difficult scene but Julia won't confide in Phoebe. Phoebe's best friend and confident is their maid Eva Huntford. When Eva receives a nasty shock on Boxing Day and the Marquis of Allerton goes missing, the police are called in. The local inspector is quick to make an arrest but Phoebe and Eva are convinced that person is innocent. They team up to find out what really happened to the Marquis and why. Eva also has to deal with the attentions of her old childhood friend, Nick Hensley, she isn't sure she wants. Can they solve the mystery before an innocent man goes to his death? This story has many of the same old elements that appear in stories set at this time. Think Downton Abbey and Upstairs, Downstairs. Thankfully the author restrained herself and didn't include ALL the cliches. The writing is good but not stellar. The dialogue especially is a little clunky in parts and I had a hard time telling who was speaking without paying careful attention. I liked the English country manor house setting but it wasn't as descriptive or interesting as the Newport mansions in Alyssa Maxwell's other mysteries. What this story has going for it is an engaging mystery. I could NOT figure out who the murderer was. Actually I did have my suspicions but I thought it was too obvious a choice and also I couldn't figure out a motive. I didn't want it to be that person. I didn't stay up all night reading this but I did nothing productive all afternoon while I finished the book. I also really liked the characters. Though I couldn't tell who was speaking at times, I felt the characters have the potential to become more three-dimensional in future books. I especially liked Phoebe and could relate to her feelings of wanting more than the dull life her grandparents expect of her. She wants to be more than a pretty ornament or a wife and I admire that. She's spunky but not too modern for the period. Eva, the co-heroine, is kind and motherly towards Phoebe and her sisters. She would give her life for them. She's very sensible without being stuffy and disapproving. She knows when Phoebe is crossing the line and when to get help. I liked how she was a co-heroine and how she was content with her position. Lady Amelia, Phoebe's younger sister, reminded me of Beth in Little Women. She's sweet, kind and wants everyone to be happy. She has a little more depth to her than is first realized. I found Julia seriously annoying for many of the same reasons Phoebe did and because she comes across as an awful snob. However, as with most characters in this book, there's more to her than meets the eye. The slightly roguish Miles Brannock, the constable, is a charming and intelligent constable who is more likable than his superior, which is typical for this sort of mystery. I couldn't figure out at first whose love interest he was meant to be but it becomes a little more clear at the end. He doesn't get involved in a romance in this book. Nick is a young man returned from the war who wants to pick up where he left off with his friendship with Eva. I liked him a lot and wanted him to be happy. I also liked Theo, despite Phoebe's mistrust of him. He is brooding but has a good reason to be and I didn't suspect him the way Phoebe did. I didn't trust Lord Owen at all. Usually, the girl's first crush isn't worthy of the heroine's respect. I won't spoil the plot but I was surprised at what happened. I also really liked Lady Cecily, Henry's maiden aunt. She's an eccentric more because she seems to have dementia than for shock value. I didn't want her to be a murderer. The butler and housekeeper are pretty typical stuffy snobby types who rule the household with strict decorum. They're stuffier than Phoebe's grandparents who are pretty soft and easy going for nobles of their day. I liked this book but not as much as the Newport mysteries. I will read another book in the series to see what happens next.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Aaron

    World War I has come to a close and the world has been ravaged by the Spanish Flu. Whether lord or servant, everyone in England has been touched by the recent events. The hope is that a new world has begun and the festivities of Christmas 1918 seem like a perfect way to start. The residents of Foxwood Hall are about to find out that not everything has started to look up. Lady Phoebe Renshaw and her three siblings have much to celebrate with the holiday. While they lost their mother, father, and a World War I has come to a close and the world has been ravaged by the Spanish Flu. Whether lord or servant, everyone in England has been touched by the recent events. The hope is that a new world has begun and the festivities of Christmas 1918 seem like a perfect way to start. The residents of Foxwood Hall are about to find out that not everything has started to look up. Lady Phoebe Renshaw and her three siblings have much to celebrate with the holiday. While they lost their mother, father, and a brother to the war and illness, the grandparents have done much to care for them. He older sister is even likely to find herself coming out of the holiday season with an engagement to son of a wealthy family and neighbor, the Marguis of Allerton. As everyone is waking up on Boxing Day. The servants have been given the day off for their own holiday celebrations. At first no one notices that someone is missing, but six different household servants and residents of the village find boxes of gifts from the family that hold grisly surprises. Inside is a finger of a man with a personal object of great value inside. One of the servents is Phoebe's own lady's maid Eva Huntford. It is not long after that it is clear that the fingers belonged to the marquis. The previous night, Phoebe had seen her older sister Julia arguing with the marquis because she didn't want to accept the engagement proposal. He claimed he had a secret that he would tell that would force her to do so. Out of fear that her sister might become a suspect once the police arrive, Phoebe and Eva find themselves looking into things, particularly after one of the other servants is arrested. They know there is no way he could have harmed the marquis. I have been a big fan of Maxwell's Gilded Newport Mysteries and thought it would be a good idea to give this series a go. This series seems to have a lot in common with that series. The characters are interesting and cozy even if the setting is different. There is also a fun touch of Downton Abbey with the location as readers get a chance to experience events through both the noble and the servants. I am definitely looking forward to future books in the series.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Mave

    I really enjoyed this cozy mystery, hooked me from the first page. Excellent idea to choose as "detective" two young women from two different social classes, it was fun to see them interact and it was possible to see the lives of the aristocratic class and that of people who work "downstairs". Lady Phoebe belongs to the British aristocratic class and lives in Foxwood Hall with her two sisters, her brother and her grandparents. She lost her mother many years ago and her father was killed in the wa I really enjoyed this cozy mystery, hooked me from the first page. Excellent idea to choose as "detective" two young women from two different social classes, it was fun to see them interact and it was possible to see the lives of the aristocratic class and that of people who work "downstairs". Lady Phoebe belongs to the British aristocratic class and lives in Foxwood Hall with her two sisters, her brother and her grandparents. She lost her mother many years ago and her father was killed in the war. The morning of Boxing Day Henry, Marquess of Allenton, one of their guests, has disappeared. Unfortunately his fingers are found in various gifts received by households. The police arrest a footman but Phoebe doesn't believe that he is the culprit. The evening before his death Henry had quarreled with her sister Julia and was blackmailing her. In her investigation she is helped by Eva, her personal maid. So they can investigate anywhere without arousing suspicion, in this historical period women are not free to do what they want and people of a certain social class could not enter certain places. Will they find the real culprit? I like the choice of the historical period and setting. I love this English estate covered with snow. It's the first Christmas after the end of the World War I and everyone is still shocked by the horrors of war. Many families have lost members and are trying to move forward. Excellent historical reconstruction, we see that the author did careful research. Murder Most Malicious is the first chance I have had to read anything by Alyssa Maxwell. It most certainly will not be my last. This is a wonderful mystery with charming characters, strong and captivating storyline. The plot flows effortlessly and will keep the reader turning pages. Great debut for this new series, I hope to read soon the sequel. I recommend it to those who love historical cozy mystery set in England in the early 1900s. I received an advance reader edition of this book via NetGalley for the purpose of providing an honest review.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Judy Lesley

    This was a somewhat pleasant reading experience, but definitely not a challenge when it came to knowing who the murderer was going to turn out to be. With such a few suspects to choose from, it really didn't leave a lot of room for suspense. This is a novel which pairs an "upstairs" young woman (Phoebe, middle granddaughter of the Earl of Wroxly) and the "below stairs" ladies maid to all three granddaughters, (Evie). Except I just couldn't seem to find the chemistry that should have existed betwe This was a somewhat pleasant reading experience, but definitely not a challenge when it came to knowing who the murderer was going to turn out to be. With such a few suspects to choose from, it really didn't leave a lot of room for suspense. This is a novel which pairs an "upstairs" young woman (Phoebe, middle granddaughter of the Earl of Wroxly) and the "below stairs" ladies maid to all three granddaughters, (Evie). Except I just couldn't seem to find the chemistry that should have existed between these two young women to make them partners in investigating the very strange occurrence with the December 26th gift boxes for the staff of Foxwood. The time is the end of 1918 and the author was able to work in a few technical advances such as the motor car and telephone but they don't seem to have made that much of an impact on the story. I got the impression of the author just skimming the surface of this story without adding much depth. Phoebe and Evie are not actually friends, indeed they don't appear to even be especially close to one another. The author might have meant for them to appear close, but I was not convinced. There is still a sharp distinction between their places in the social order. The shock factor added to the Christmas boxes was completely unnecessary because the second item included fit more with the overall feeling of the story and would have led directly to the missing person. Why then include something which didn't fit into the feel of the story? I read the entire novel and suffered through seeing just about every cliché possible in a mystery novel. From my perspective as someone who reads a high number of mystery novels, with the historical being my favorite, I have to say this one didn't make the best impression. I received an e-ARC of this novel through NetGalley.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Lorraine

    This new mystery series by Alyssa Maxwell has possibilities. Book 1 Murder Most Malicious by Alyssa Maxwell appears to be befuddled - not clear as what characters are playing good characters and which ones are bad. Also I do not know if I am sold on the premise of 'a lady and a lady's maid' as a good team to solve mysteries. It just does not seem to sit well with me, but this is just book 1. Let's see what book 2 brings to this new series.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Anna Loan-Wilsey

    What a wonderful read. Reminiscent of both Downton Abbey and Agatha Christie, this story is rich in historical details, characters you would love (and hate) to have tea with and a plot that keeps you guessing. Highly recommended.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Janet Robel

    The first book in a new series is delightful. Phoebe Renshaw is a sweet amateur sleuth. This starts off on Christmas day of 1918 and will appeal to many mystery readers.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Mindy Greiling

    I loved this delightful mystery written as if I were reading Downton Abbey. I couldn't guess the ending until practically the end.

  16. 4 out of 5

    outis

    Easy plane reading. Downton Abbey meets Midsomer Murders post-WWI.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Lia Marcoux

    Overall I liked this. It was refreshing to read a mystery in the shadow of WWI where the lady detective didn't have a secret husband in a sanatorium (9 out of 10 lady tecs of that era have secret sanatorium husbands). The romance was a little dopey but the friendships/family relationships were strong! However, and I know this is nitpick-y but still, Eton was misspelled as Eaton every time. In an otherwise sweet and seemingly well-researched novel, it was like accidentally biting tin foil. Blegh!

  18. 5 out of 5

    BRNTerri

    GRADE: B-/borderline C This sounded very interesting and indeed parts were, like the foul ‘gift’ included in several gift boxes for several of the employees of Foxwood Hall. The whole story was very ordinary, slow-paced, and not a whole lot went on. It certainly isn’t action-packed. This was a very mild mystery that seemed like it was for young adults. There were entirely too many characters to keep track of and I have about 1 1/2 pages of names written down in my notes so I could keep up with eve GRADE: B-/borderline C This sounded very interesting and indeed parts were, like the foul ‘gift’ included in several gift boxes for several of the employees of Foxwood Hall. The whole story was very ordinary, slow-paced, and not a whole lot went on. It certainly isn’t action-packed. This was a very mild mystery that seemed like it was for young adults. There were entirely too many characters to keep track of and I have about 1 1/2 pages of names written down in my notes so I could keep up with everyone…and still had trouble remembering who’s who. I think some of them were added just to help fill pages. There’s no depth to the story or characters. I like Eva a lot and would have liked to have gotten some background information on her. Julia, Phoebe’s older sister, is very unfriendly, even to Phoebe, and I didn’t get to find out why, or much else about her. I’m not happy with who the culprit was, his reasons for doing what he did and passing out the ‘gifts’ he did though I loved what the author chose for him to do. Not original but imaginative. I’m sick and tired of authors’ having the culprit confess to at least one person, usually his next potential victim, right at the end of the story, then he/they’re captured and the story is wrapped up with a pretty bow. That doesn’t happen in real life. Though my review is mostly critical I still enjoyed the story. It was slightly boring because of the pace and I did wish it would move along faster throughout most of it but it still held my interest. I liked both lead characters, Phoebe and Eva. Not quite thirty pages into the story is when the mystery began, and for that I’m happy. I’m impatient so I appreciated not having to get halfway through the story before anything big happened. I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Rosemary Marcellino

    I must admit that the first sentence in the book put me off, "Henry, don't you dare ignore me!" It sounded like such a cliche and I thought oh no, here comes a stinker. But the book was actually pleasant to read, I would classify it as a beach book, light reading but very little plot depth or character development. It is about as light as a book can get, but I did enjoy parts of it. I was disappointed about the lack of character development, so much more could have been described, i.e. the beaut I must admit that the first sentence in the book put me off, "Henry, don't you dare ignore me!" It sounded like such a cliche and I thought oh no, here comes a stinker. But the book was actually pleasant to read, I would classify it as a beach book, light reading but very little plot depth or character development. It is about as light as a book can get, but I did enjoy parts of it. I was disappointed about the lack of character development, so much more could have been described, i.e. the beautiful dresses that were worn during that time, to the love relationship between the main character. If this was a movie I would say wait until it came out in video. If you can get it from the library it would be worth it to read. I hope the author works a little more on style, plot and character development, the book had good structure but nothing to really hold it up.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kristen

    This was okay, but I didn't love it. The story was good, and the sense of place was very well done. The pacing was good to keep the reader's attention. Where this fell down for me was Phoebe as the sleuth. She was just not believeable to me as someone capable of getting information, and getting the murderer unmasked. She came across for me as incredibly naive and inexperienced. She felt like what she was - a well-born young British woman. That means she was not exposed to any of the ugly in life, This was okay, but I didn't love it. The story was good, and the sense of place was very well done. The pacing was good to keep the reader's attention. Where this fell down for me was Phoebe as the sleuth. She was just not believeable to me as someone capable of getting information, and getting the murderer unmasked. She came across for me as incredibly naive and inexperienced. She felt like what she was - a well-born young British woman. That means she was not exposed to any of the ugly in life, and was sheltered and coddled but not taught to be incisive and savvy. She just was not someone I could buy as being capable of what she did based on some of the things she said and did. I didn't hate this, and I finished it, but I wouldn't read others in the series. I needed a more believeable main character and investigator of murder. Phoebe just wasn't that for me.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Dolores

    What a great first book I the series! This mystery takes place in England just after the first world war over Christmas. Lord Allerton and Julia are overhead having an argument Christmas eve. The next day, he goes missing. Eva, Phoebe's maid, along with all the servants are given gifts from their masters, except some also had very disturbing items in them as well. This brings in police and an investigation into the missing and very dead Lord Allerton. When a fellow servant is arresred, Eva and P What a great first book I the series! This mystery takes place in England just after the first world war over Christmas. Lord Allerton and Julia are overhead having an argument Christmas eve. The next day, he goes missing. Eva, Phoebe's maid, along with all the servants are given gifts from their masters, except some also had very disturbing items in them as well. This brings in police and an investigation into the missing and very dead Lord Allerton. When a fellow servant is arresred, Eva and Phoebe take it upon themselves to ask questions and conduct their own investigation. I loved every part of this story. It had me guessing to the end.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    Phoebe, middle granddaughter of Lord Wroxley, and Eva, maid to the three girls, have both suffered losses in the Great War, but it's Christmas now, and time to celebrate. But Eva and some of the other servants find unwelcome surprises in their Christmas boxes--in Eva's case, a signet ring with a finger still in it. And the Marquis of Allerton, one of the guests, is missing. The local policeman arrests one of the footmen, but Phoebe and Eva are sure he's innocent, and impetuous Phoebe decides to Phoebe, middle granddaughter of Lord Wroxley, and Eva, maid to the three girls, have both suffered losses in the Great War, but it's Christmas now, and time to celebrate. But Eva and some of the other servants find unwelcome surprises in their Christmas boxes--in Eva's case, a signet ring with a finger still in it. And the Marquis of Allerton, one of the guests, is missing. The local policeman arrests one of the footmen, but Phoebe and Eva are sure he's innocent, and impetuous Phoebe decides to investigate.

  23. 4 out of 5

    nikkia neil

    Thanks Kensington Books and netgalley for this ARC. The different personalities and characters boldly adhere to their time period and station in life toward the world and each other. Sometimes this is stifling and hard to read from a modern view, but I like the way Alyssa Maxwell writes. There are so many ways this series can be expanded and taken in different directions, and I can't wait to see what happens next.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kelley

    What a wonderful debut! Even though I knew who the murderer was from their introduction into the story, it didn't detract from the story. I loved reading about the whole Upstairs/Downstairs relationships and goings on below stairs. Lady Phoebe and her lady's maid, Eva make for a great detective pairing, and I hope to see more of them soon.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Homerun2

    3.75 stars I received an ARC of this novel through NetGalley. The opinions expressed are my own. This was an interesting historical mystery, featuring an unlikely upstairs-downstairs lady and maid sleuthing combo. Wonderful behind the scene glimpses of life after the Great War. Lots of great period detail and well-thought out and appealing characters.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sharon

    This mystery takes place during the same time period as Downton Abbey. It is Boxing Day, right after the end of World War I but when the servants find pieces of Lord Allerton in with their presents, things are far from jolly. I was totally surprised by the ending - I suspected everyone but the actual murderer.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sharon Huether

    I won this Free book from Goodreads First reads. It was after WWI in England, a who done it mystery. During Christmas different household members received a box witha horriable thing inside. Who sent it? The Marquis Allerton was missing. It was up to Phoebe and Eva to solve the mystery.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie Mohler

    Not that great, all I could picture was a bad episode of Downton Abby when I was reading this book.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Samantha

    Murder Most Malicious is the first novel in the Lady and Lady's Maid Mystery series by Alyssa Maxwell. It's easy to read, full of loyal characters that make the novel entertaining, and the ending does not disappoint. Lady Phoebe Renshaw and her three siblings live with her grandparents, having been orphaned with the death of her father during WWI. It's Christmas, and although many of the usual family members have been lost or changed by the war that ended last year, the Renshaws are trying to mai Murder Most Malicious is the first novel in the Lady and Lady's Maid Mystery series by Alyssa Maxwell. It's easy to read, full of loyal characters that make the novel entertaining, and the ending does not disappoint. Lady Phoebe Renshaw and her three siblings live with her grandparents, having been orphaned with the death of her father during WWI. It's Christmas, and although many of the usual family members have been lost or changed by the war that ended last year, the Renshaws are trying to maintain tradition. Per tradition, servants are given gifts by their employers, and the Renshaw servants are happy to receive theirs - until severed fingers turn up in some of their boxes. One of the guests has gone missing, and a household footman is arrested for the crime. However, Lady Phoebe and her maid, Eva Huntford, don't think the footman is the culprit. Together, they try and prove the footman's innocence. I thought this was a good novel, if the characters a bit simplistic. But, they have strong personalities, which really help build the story. I would definitely put this series in the cozy mystery category, as it's a pleasant read that won't leave you afraid to finish it in the dark. The story flows well, it builds upon itself, and I finished the book feeling satisfied. Read my full review at samiamreadingandreviewing.wordpress.com.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ashley Cate

    I have been a fan of Alyssa Maxwell's Gilded Newport mystery series for quite some time and finally got the chance to read the first book in her Lady & Lady's Maid mystery series. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Historical mysteries are fascinating to me and Alyssa Maxwell did a fantastic job of incorporating period details, facts, and the thoughts/emotions that both servants and the aristocratic class were struggling with once World War I ended. I enjoyed reading about Lady Phoebe Renshaw and h I have been a fan of Alyssa Maxwell's Gilded Newport mystery series for quite some time and finally got the chance to read the first book in her Lady & Lady's Maid mystery series. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Historical mysteries are fascinating to me and Alyssa Maxwell did a fantastic job of incorporating period details, facts, and the thoughts/emotions that both servants and the aristocratic class were struggling with once World War I ended. I enjoyed reading about Lady Phoebe Renshaw and her relationship with her Lady's Maid Eva Huntford. I thoroughly enjoyed the friendship and closeness that Lady Phoebe and Eva shared. In addition to this, author Maxwell did a superb job of weaving together an intricate mystery. I had no idea who the murderer was until Lady Phoebe figured it out. All in all this was a satisfying story and I would definitely recommend the book to anyone that enjoys a well crafted historical mystery. I look forward to reading the next book in the series.

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