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A Matter of Loyalty

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January 1954. Mists cover the hills around Selchester. Someone at the research facility known as the Atomic is leaking secrets to Soviet Russia, and when nuclear scientist Bruno Rothesay goes missing, the British Intelligence Services are convinced he’s the mole. Hugo Hawksworth isn’t so sure. Then a body turns up, and Hugo’s instincts are proven correct. But if Rothesay w January 1954. Mists cover the hills around Selchester. Someone at the research facility known as the Atomic is leaking secrets to Soviet Russia, and when nuclear scientist Bruno Rothesay goes missing, the British Intelligence Services are convinced he’s the mole. Hugo Hawksworth isn’t so sure. Then a body turns up, and Hugo’s instincts are proven correct. But if Rothesay wasn’t selling secrets to the Soviets, who is? As Hugo digs deeper into buried connections and unlikely coincidences, he knows there’s more to this case than his London superiors believe. But following his instincts will pit him against the Establishment—and tangle him once again in the poisonous legacy of the late Lord Selchester. As he closes in on the truth, Hugo finds himself confronted by an adversary who will stop at nothing, in a case that will prove the most personal of his career. With a touch of Downton Abbey, a whisper of Agatha Christie and a nod to John Le Carré, A Matter Of Loyalty is the third and final book in this delightfully classic and witty murder-mystery series.


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January 1954. Mists cover the hills around Selchester. Someone at the research facility known as the Atomic is leaking secrets to Soviet Russia, and when nuclear scientist Bruno Rothesay goes missing, the British Intelligence Services are convinced he’s the mole. Hugo Hawksworth isn’t so sure. Then a body turns up, and Hugo’s instincts are proven correct. But if Rothesay w January 1954. Mists cover the hills around Selchester. Someone at the research facility known as the Atomic is leaking secrets to Soviet Russia, and when nuclear scientist Bruno Rothesay goes missing, the British Intelligence Services are convinced he’s the mole. Hugo Hawksworth isn’t so sure. Then a body turns up, and Hugo’s instincts are proven correct. But if Rothesay wasn’t selling secrets to the Soviets, who is? As Hugo digs deeper into buried connections and unlikely coincidences, he knows there’s more to this case than his London superiors believe. But following his instincts will pit him against the Establishment—and tangle him once again in the poisonous legacy of the late Lord Selchester. As he closes in on the truth, Hugo finds himself confronted by an adversary who will stop at nothing, in a case that will prove the most personal of his career. With a touch of Downton Abbey, a whisper of Agatha Christie and a nod to John Le Carré, A Matter Of Loyalty is the third and final book in this delightfully classic and witty murder-mystery series.

30 review for A Matter of Loyalty

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lee

    Although I would definitely recommend reading the first two in this series before picking up A Matter of Loyalty to fully understand the background of the characters, I would perhaps suggest you don’t read all three in a row because, unfortunately, I did, and I think it took away some of my enjoyment for the series. Yes, by book three I was finding the plot lines a bit weak and the characters flat. The repetition of certain aspects of the book (Freya's secret writing life; everyone knowing that H Although I would definitely recommend reading the first two in this series before picking up A Matter of Loyalty to fully understand the background of the characters, I would perhaps suggest you don’t read all three in a row because, unfortunately, I did, and I think it took away some of my enjoyment for the series. Yes, by book three I was finding the plot lines a bit weak and the characters flat. The repetition of certain aspects of the book (Freya's secret writing life; everyone knowing that Hugo and his colleagues aren't really statisticians; Georgia's tragic backstory) also might not have been as annoying if you'd only read about them once ever couple of months. Yes, this book again has spy, Hugo, and writer, Freya, trying to solve a mystery. They’re joined again by Hugo’s sister, Georgia, Hugo’s priest Uncle Leo, the new earl, Gus, and his two daughters (who are related to Freya), the old Earl’s daughter, the old Earl’s sister, Sonia (also all related to Freya), the housekeeper, Hugo’s social climbing girlfriend, the men who run the coffee shop, the famous actress, the local policeman, the mayor (or something, IDEK) and his daughter, the bookstore owner and Gus's potential love interest (the most boring character evah!), and Hugo’s countless work colleagues.  When a nuclear scientist goes missing in the area, and then later is found dead, we are introduced to even more characters. There’s the married couple who give lectures and practise witchcraft (or something, IDEK), the scientist’s feisty wife, the annoying investigator (or something IDEK) from the city , a Hungarian scientist looking to defect (this character/storyline made zero sense and was only used as a device for characters to have thinky thoughts out loud, and perhaps to help out the reader who hasn't read the previous books), some more work colleagues of Hugo’s, another spy friend of Hugo’s who happens to be sleeping with Sonia, another spy type who is framed for the murder, and probably quite a few I’ve forgotten! Yes, this book had the same issue as the first and second being that there are just too many characters.  Hugo is still a bit of a crap spy, despite every character constantly stating otherwise. Three books in and I still don’t think he’s solved anything. If you solved the mystery, I congratulate you, but let’s face it, you were guessing. There is no way you could solve or follow that why-he-was-killed plot. Also, frustratingly Hugo and Freya have still not resolved any of their sexual tension. (Actually, they haven’t even shown signs of sexual tension, which is even more frustrating! LOL) Oddly, despite all this, I still found I liked this book and have developed an affection for its characters. Their creator, Elizabeth Edmondson, unfortunately passed away and this installment was actually written by her son, Anselm Audley. Audley, it must be said, replicates his mother’s style perfectly. You would never know another writer had taken over. (It brought back contrasting memories of how much I disliked Jill Paton Walsh’s attempt at Dorothy Sayers.) Audley’s author notes at the end were heartbreaking and, though he claims he will not ever write another book in this series, I seriously hope he changes his mind. (Or allows someone else to continue to write the series - hey, Anselm, call me!) I think there’s quite a lot more you could do with the series and the characters (after all, there’s enough of them to choose from!).  And, even though I said I shouldn’t have read them all books in such quick succession, I will really miss them and the series. 3 and ½ out of 5 

  2. 5 out of 5

    Ivonne Rovira

    In the third novel — and, sadly, last — in the series featuring spy Hugo Hawksworth and his family and friends, an atomic physicist has disappeared from near their village of Selchester. A brash zealot from Special Branch has come down from London to look into the disappearance, convinced that Dr. Bruno Rothesay has defected to the Soviet Union and that the local intelligence agents are at fault. The arrogant Inspector Jarrett (the allusion to Javert is all too obvious) will cause plenty of upse In the third novel — and, sadly, last — in the series featuring spy Hugo Hawksworth and his family and friends, an atomic physicist has disappeared from near their village of Selchester. A brash zealot from Special Branch has come down from London to look into the disappearance, convinced that Dr. Bruno Rothesay has defected to the Soviet Union and that the local intelligence agents are at fault. The arrogant Inspector Jarrett (the allusion to Javert is all too obvious) will cause plenty of upset before Hugo, with the aid of his free-spirited friend Freya Wryton, settles the matter. Author Elizabeth Edmondson died in 2016 before she had finished the novel, and I was dubious whether her son, Anselm Audley, would be up to the task. (His usual oeuvre is sci-fi fantasy novels.) But Audley did his mother proud in his handling of the series that debuted with A Man of Some Repute. A Matter of Loyalty was as suspenseful and intriguing as the books that Edmondson wrote all by herself. I loved every single minute! But Audley’s triumph proves bittersweet: He says there won’t be any further adventures for Hugo and Freya and Georgia and their delightful family and friends. This will be the last Selchester book, and the last book of her career…. I knew enough of this one to write almost the book she intended, but I can’t do justice to the remaining books in the series. They should exist as her creations, or not at all. So there you have it. A worthy end to a marvelous series. Thank you, Mr. Audley, for this final gift from your mother. In the interest of full disclosure, I received this book from NetGalley and Thomas & Mercer in exchange for an honest review.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Lexxi Kitty

    Book received from both Netgalley and Thomas & Mercer for an honest review I do not recall why I initially tried the first book in this series. I hadn’t read the author before. I’m not 100% certain now if I even know if the book would be a romance, or a spy book, or a mystery, or possibly all three. I do recall that I liked that book and liked the sequel. So we come to this third book in the series. It’s not a spoiler to note that the author never intended this to be a three book series, but then Book received from both Netgalley and Thomas & Mercer for an honest review I do not recall why I initially tried the first book in this series. I hadn’t read the author before. I’m not 100% certain now if I even know if the book would be a romance, or a spy book, or a mystery, or possibly all three. I do recall that I liked that book and liked the sequel. So we come to this third book in the series. It’s not a spoiler to note that the author never intended this to be a three book series, but then that author also didn’t intend to die in between book two and three without even a first draft written. Nor is it a spoiler to note that the author who took over the third book, after his mother’s death, has no intention of continuing the series beyond this one additional book. But there are reasons for that – he had worked on the previous two books, and worked on this book before his mother’s death. He may or may not know where the series was intended to go, but only had the outline for this book. So, to the best of his ability, he completed the book for his mother. This was a difficult book to enter. There seemed to be an amazingly large number of people bouncing around in it, several plot lines that didn’t seem necessarily interesting . . . etc. etc. But then, somewhere along the line, something ‘clicked’ in me and everything became quite interesting. Good solid plot, interesting spy mystery, and the separate plots, that I thought were more of an A/B/C etc. story on a television show (which do not have to intersect), actually turned out to have more connections than I had expected. It was still a large cast, though, and I still occasionally misplaced who exactly specific people were. There’s one specific section, I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit, wherein someone was talked to, talked with, was a large part of the scene and . . . I still haven’t a clue who that individual is/was/could be. I believe his name was Richard. Right, so, what can I say about the book? It is an historical fiction set in a smallish village in England during the 1950s, and involves a mix of people – high class, mid-class, low-class; a mix of story lines (some mystery, some family-issues related, some spy related). The stories, for the most part, focus on those people, if you’ve followed the series up to now, already meet – those people who live in that old castle in that fictional small village in England called Selchester. There’s Hugo and Georgia (or was that Georgina? Pfft, I forget now) Hawksworth who are brother and sister, though of vastly different ages (Hugo’s more like 30 something while Georgia is more like 12) and one, Hugo, is the guardian of the other, Georgia, because of the impact of World War II (father’s ship sank; mother was killed in the same bombing in London that trapped Georgia under debris). Hugo is and had been a spy – is/had been because he had been an active field agent until he was shot, and now works as an investigator. Georgia is a kid going to school. Both of those roles come up and are followed in this book. Also present in the book is a Special Branch investigator, Jarret, who has come to the area to investigate a believed Soviet spy (which quickly becomes a murder investigation), though he isn’t one of the characters who has a point of view. Soo . . . there’s Gus and Polly, the Americans who are now the Earl, and whatever you call the daughter of an Earl, in Selchester. And Freya, she has a point of view, she’s a ‘bodice-ripper’ author, though tells everyone she’s currently writing a history of her family (she’s related to the Selchester Earl, the previous one, though since Gus is the son of that previous one, also related, somehow, to the present Earl). And, um, Vivian, who is putting on a play, and Saul, who is opening a gallery, and Emerson, who is a friend of Saul’s and had been ‘in the Service’ with Hugo, and Sonia, who is Freya’s cousin (and Sonia is the daughter of the previous Earl, though only step-sister to present Earl; different mothers), and . . and . . . well, I did say there were a ton of characters. I’ve barely scratched the surface. I’ve not even tracked down and reported on everyone who has a point of view in the book. Though everyone I’ve mentioned, so far, has previously appeared in the series. Oh, I’ll also note that Uncle Leo, the priest, also turns up (Hugo and Georgia’s uncle), and that Hugo’s girlfriend, Valerie, also makes several appearances. Despite the massive crowd of characters, and the difficulty ‘getting into’ the book, this was a rather enjoyable book. Quite curious where the story might have gone from here, though, the readers will never know (unless some previously unknown notebook of notes is found, or something like that, though that seems quite unlikely (for reasons – mostly for the reason that the author, Anselm Audley, had noted that they didn’t have enough information to continue the series beyond this book)). This is/was a good book in terms of a spy novel, a mystery, and a historical fiction novel. If I was to attempt to note things I found ‘negative’, I’d only really come up with three things: there really are way too many characters to follow, who have their own point of views present (and the afterword notes that some of the intended characters were cut); I never really understood the point of Valerie, and she always seemed to be held up as a negative . . . though I never could see why – because she preferred the city? Because . . . um . . . *shrugs*, though I always felt that way about the character, not just in this book; something about how the book was difficult to ‘get into’ though, other than bluntly stating that, I’m not sure how to word things. So, good solid book. Enjoyable. Glad I was able to read it. And no it wasn’t a capital R romance. Rating: 4.33 October 10 2017

  4. 5 out of 5

    Cindy Rollins

    Delightful light reading. I am sad Elizabeth Edmundsen died before writing more of these. I will look at more of her writing.

  5. 4 out of 5

    FangirlNation

    In A Matter of Loyalty by Anselm Audley and Elizabeth Edmondson, Hugo and his sister, Georgia, have now lived in Selchester for four months, and it is now January 1954, with another serious mystery facing Hugo. In the midst of being debriefed, a Hungarian defector who spent years in a nuclear plant in Siberia casually mentions knowledge of an accident in an experimental nuclear plant near Selchester, an accident that no one is supposed to know about. It appears they have a spy in their midst. Hu In A Matter of Loyalty by Anselm Audley and Elizabeth Edmondson, Hugo and his sister, Georgia, have now lived in Selchester for four months, and it is now January 1954, with another serious mystery facing Hugo. In the midst of being debriefed, a Hungarian defector who spent years in a nuclear plant in Siberia casually mentions knowledge of an accident in an experimental nuclear plant near Selchester, an accident that no one is supposed to know about. It appears they have a spy in their midst. Hugo investigates the case, but then Bruno Rothesay, one of the suspects disappears, making him seem the obvious mole. That is, he seems that way until Georgia and Polly, the daughter of the Earl of Selchester, spot a body in the river on their way to school, and it proves to be that of Rothesay. Hugo now has two different issues to investigate, but could they be two parts of the same problem? Could the true mole have murdered Rothesay? Read the rest of this review and other fun, geeky articles at Fangirl Nation

  6. 5 out of 5

    Voirrey

    I was so pleased to see that Anselm Audley had written this from his mother's notes and outline after her sad death. I think his mother would certainly have approved - it is so similar in style to the previous two books in the series that the move between authors was practically seamless. As he says himself, in a note at the end, his mother had planned more than three books in the series but he feels it should end here with the last book of which she had written anything. And he does bring many of I was so pleased to see that Anselm Audley had written this from his mother's notes and outline after her sad death. I think his mother would certainly have approved - it is so similar in style to the previous two books in the series that the move between authors was practically seamless. As he says himself, in a note at the end, his mother had planned more than three books in the series but he feels it should end here with the last book of which she had written anything. And he does bring many of the threads together so that there is a sense of satisfaction and the wrapping up of some of those threads. It is also clear that, had she lived, his mother would have had woven even more of them together in future books. But I, for one, am so pleased that Mr Audley took up the baton to write this so well, and round off the series rather than leaving it hanging in mid-air where his mother had, so tragically, left things.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    Another satisfying visit to Selchester. I've thoroughly enjoyed these cosy mysteries and was saddened to hear of Edmondson's death. Her son did an admirable job finishing the book, and whilst I understand his reasons for not continuing the series, his familiarity with her style and her characters would have made him the perfect person to keep the series alive. I hope he reconsiders, one day, and that Freya, Hugo, Georgia, Leo, and Mrs P get to continue their adventures. The audiobooks were adeptl Another satisfying visit to Selchester. I've thoroughly enjoyed these cosy mysteries and was saddened to hear of Edmondson's death. Her son did an admirable job finishing the book, and whilst I understand his reasons for not continuing the series, his familiarity with her style and her characters would have made him the perfect person to keep the series alive. I hope he reconsiders, one day, and that Freya, Hugo, Georgia, Leo, and Mrs P get to continue their adventures. The audiobooks were adeptly narrated, in a style very well suited to the books, and there was enough resolution given to the broader story arcs for the trilogy to be worthy of recommendation despite its premature end.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Josefine

    I'm so fond of these characters, I'll miss them and their untold stories 😥

  9. 4 out of 5

    Linda Baker

    It's January 1954, and there have been leaks of research done at "The Atomic" facility; leaks that have ended up in the hands of Soviet Russia. British Intelligence Agent Hugo Hawkesworth, who works at the center is assigned the task of finding out who is the source. When a nuclear scientist, Bruno Rothesay, goes missing British Intelligence is sure that he must be the mole. When Rothesay's body turns up, Hugo isn't so sure. The scientist was an arrogant serial adulterer who had plenty of enemie It's January 1954, and there have been leaks of research done at "The Atomic" facility; leaks that have ended up in the hands of Soviet Russia. British Intelligence Agent Hugo Hawkesworth, who works at the center is assigned the task of finding out who is the source. When a nuclear scientist, Bruno Rothesay, goes missing British Intelligence is sure that he must be the mole. When Rothesay's body turns up, Hugo isn't so sure. The scientist was an arrogant serial adulterer who had plenty of enemies, including his own wife. Intelligence and the obnoxious Inspector Jarrett have a culprit in mind, one who has appeared in previous books and is convenient. Hugo thinks he is entirely too comfortable a fit, which puts him at loggerheads with his superiors-again. All of the residents of Selchester Castle make an appearance in A Matter of Loyalty: Hugo and his sister Georgia, author Freya Wryton, Gus, the new Earl of Selchester, and his daughter Molly, and Mrs.Partridge, the housekeeper. The previous Earl is almost a presence because his misdeeds cast somewhat of a pall over the household even years after his death. Each has his or her part to play in this story, and one's life is brought into great danger. The Very British Mysteries are impossible to pigeonhole, part Cold War spy novel, part historical mystery, and part budding romance. They paint a picture of a Britain brought to its knees by WWII and just beginning to dig out of deprivation, only to be caught up in Cold War paranoia, even in Selchester village. Sadly, A Matter of Loyalty is the third and last book in the series. Ms. Edmondson passed away leaving only notes and conversations with her son, Anselm Audley, for the book. Mr. Audley has done an admirable job working from their conversations to finish it. While I would have liked to see more of the characters and Ms. Edmonson's plans for them, the ending does not leave us hanging. Michael Page gives voice to the characters and is, as usual, outstanding. RATING-4.5 Stars

  10. 5 out of 5

    Elaine Tomasso

    I would like to thank Netgalley and Thomas & Mercer for an advance copy of A Matter of Loyalty, the third and last novel in the Very English Mystery series. Hugo Hawksworth has been tasked with finding the leak at The Atomic so when nuclear physicist Bruno Rothesay disappears, presumed to have defected his bosses are satisfied that they have found the leak. Hugo is not so sure and when Bruno's body turns up he is back to the task although not for long as a convenient suspect is quickly found. I th I would like to thank Netgalley and Thomas & Mercer for an advance copy of A Matter of Loyalty, the third and last novel in the Very English Mystery series. Hugo Hawksworth has been tasked with finding the leak at The Atomic so when nuclear physicist Bruno Rothesay disappears, presumed to have defected his bosses are satisfied that they have found the leak. Hugo is not so sure and when Bruno's body turns up he is back to the task although not for long as a convenient suspect is quickly found. I thoroughly enjoyed A Matter of Loyalty. In keeping with the Cold War setting the reader is never sure who to trust or who is lying so there are plenty of twists and turns as Hugo wades through the politics of spying, personal ambitions and the Selchester grapevine. It is essentially a cosy but the authors have a good grasp of the politics and sensibilities of the time. I thought the digs about British amateurism and the venal nature of those on the climb very apt. The world of Selchester is well drawn with its rampant gossip and odd characters. It may be a bit clichéd but it adds warmth to a read which otherwise could have been full of paranoia and suspicion. Hugo is a great protagonist, smart, decent and caring and he is ably supported by a cast of pleasant characters. The death of Ms Edmondson (my respects to her family) has drawn the series to a close although I would have been interested in reading another author's interpretation of her future plots. A Matter of Loyalty is a fun read which I have no hesitation in recommending.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Sophia

    I've been enjoying my time in 1950's Selchester, England, where much seems to happen. When Hugo and his teenage sister, Georgia, moved to the countryside after his espionage career ended on a dark Berlin street when a bullet shattered his leg and he was transferred to a desk job doing background checks on the people in his organization for traitors, he thought it would all be boring. But living at the castle and with the Selchesters brought him nearly as many dark secrets and murder than his pre I've been enjoying my time in 1950's Selchester, England, where much seems to happen. When Hugo and his teenage sister, Georgia, moved to the countryside after his espionage career ended on a dark Berlin street when a bullet shattered his leg and he was transferred to a desk job doing background checks on the people in his organization for traitors, he thought it would all be boring. But living at the castle and with the Selchesters brought him nearly as many dark secrets and murder than his previous career. The new earl and his daughter, the earl's cousin, Freya, the staff, his brilliant priestly uncle, and Georgia now are part of the deadly game of catching a spy before they can strike again. The series continues to draw me in and I love the characters. The mystery in each one is a fun twist of arm chair mystery and spy thriller set in the Cold War era when Britain was in a spy game with the Communists. There are twists to the mystery, but also engaging village life and family moments. The family moments are quirky since Hugo and Georgia are part of Selchester Castle life with the eccentric Selchester family. There are ongoing threads about their lives (Gus, Sonia, Freya, and more), but sadly, the series will stop with this book because the author passed away before she could complete the series. I thought her son and editor did a fab job of wrapping up this book which the author was unable to finish. Michael Page continued to be a fabulous narrator who kept me riveted and drew me into the story. Another solid historical mystery series win set during the Golden Age of British Mystery. COYER Summer Scavenger Hunt Clue - Read a trilogy 5 pts

  12. 4 out of 5

    Joan

    I finished reading this some time ago but kept putting off my review simply because I wasn't sure what to write. In the end I decided that honesty is the best policy. When I was a third of the way through this book, I had the feeling that it wasn't 'quite' as compelling or engaging as the previous two: there was more action and less 'quiet', and in some way, a few too many characters but it wasn't until I reached the end that I realised why. It was with real sadness that I learned of the death of I finished reading this some time ago but kept putting off my review simply because I wasn't sure what to write. In the end I decided that honesty is the best policy. When I was a third of the way through this book, I had the feeling that it wasn't 'quite' as compelling or engaging as the previous two: there was more action and less 'quiet', and in some way, a few too many characters but it wasn't until I reached the end that I realised why. It was with real sadness that I learned of the death of Elizabeth Edmondson. I think this is a wonderful tribute to a gifted author and in some respects my minor problems with this story only accentuate how excellent the original author was in her writing. Yes, the story didn't 'flow' as well as I expected, but five magnificent stars to Anslem Audley for taking on this task and giving fans of Hugo another story, as well as a conclusion that left this reader more than satisfied.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    A fine wrap-up to the series, amazingly true to the others despite being completed by the author’s son. Hugo faces a very different mystery as a scientist disappears from the Atomic and is thought to have defected. Most of the dangling threads are wrapped up, and though I would have liked a tiny bit more romance since this is the last book, after all, the mystery was satisfying in the extreme. Well done. The afterward is quite weepy and quite informative about Elizabeth Edmondson’s death, which A fine wrap-up to the series, amazingly true to the others despite being completed by the author’s son. Hugo faces a very different mystery as a scientist disappears from the Atomic and is thought to have defected. Most of the dangling threads are wrapped up, and though I would have liked a tiny bit more romance since this is the last book, after all, the mystery was satisfying in the extreme. Well done. The afterward is quite weepy and quite informative about Elizabeth Edmondson’s death, which like most authors’ deaths was another puzzle that readers so rarely get to resolve.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Leith Devine

    Sadly, the last book in the Very English Mystery series after the death of the original author. Her son has done an admirable job finishing her work with this book. As in the first two books, the characters, setting and plot are perfectly done. I highly recommend this book and the other two books in the series. Thanks to Thomas & Mercer and NetGalley for the ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. Sadly, the last book in the Very English Mystery series after the death of the original author. Her son has done an admirable job finishing her work with this book. As in the first two books, the characters, setting and plot are perfectly done. I highly recommend this book and the other two books in the series. Thanks to Thomas & Mercer and NetGalley for the ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    Enjoyed it but not as much as others in the series. I was sad to learn it was the last.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Debi Levins

    Heartbreaking It is heartbreaking to think that this wonderful author will write no more. I shall miss her stories, peopled with entertaining and interesting characters.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    I enjoyed the first two of this three part series much more than this one. This novel seemed to come unmoored with too many characters and too many threads to the plot. I found myself picking the book up more to get finished rather than because I couldn’t wait to get back to it. I understand that this third book was written by the son of the original author of the first two books to complete the three book concept. Another reviewer mentioned that at some point interest in the book clicked, I am I enjoyed the first two of this three part series much more than this one. This novel seemed to come unmoored with too many characters and too many threads to the plot. I found myself picking the book up more to get finished rather than because I couldn’t wait to get back to it. I understand that this third book was written by the son of the original author of the first two books to complete the three book concept. Another reviewer mentioned that at some point interest in the book clicked, I am willing to do that for spectacular writing, but this wasn’t that book and there are so many great books to read I put this book aside.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Penny Castle

    A Very Adequate English Murder Mystery Book: A Matter of Loyalty (A very English Murder Mystery Book 3) Author: Anslem Audley, Elizabeth Edmondsen Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (October 19, 2017) ISBN-10: 1542046580 ISBN-13: 978-1542046589 Rating: 3/5 “January 1954. Mists cover the hills around Selchester. Someone at the research facility known as the Atomic is leaking secrets to Soviet Russia, and when nuclear scientist Bruno Rothesay goes missing, the British Intelligence Services are convinced he’s th A Very Adequate English Murder Mystery Book: A Matter of Loyalty (A very English Murder Mystery Book 3) Author: Anslem Audley, Elizabeth Edmondsen Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (October 19, 2017) ISBN-10: 1542046580 ISBN-13: 978-1542046589 Rating: 3/5 “January 1954. Mists cover the hills around Selchester. Someone at the research facility known as the Atomic is leaking secrets to Soviet Russia, and when nuclear scientist Bruno Rothesay goes missing, the British Intelligence Services are convinced he’s the mole. Hugo Hawksworth isn’t so sure. Then a body turns up, and Hugo’s instincts are proven correct. But if Rothesay wasn’t selling secrets to the Soviets, who is? As Hugo digs deeper into buried connections and unlikely coincidences, he knows there’s more to this case than his London superiors believe. But following his instincts will pit him against the Establishment—and tangle him once again in the poisonous legacy of the late Lord Selchester. As he closes in on the truth, Hugo finds himself confronted by an adversary who will stop at nothing, in a case that will prove the most personal of his career. With a touch of Downton Abbey, a whisper of Agatha Christie and a nod to John Le Carré, A Matter Of Loyalty is the third and final book in this delightfully classic and witty murder-mystery series.” ~ blurb I have difficulty in finding the right genre for this book – it’s definitely of the “cosy” variety but the murder mystery is set in the backdrop of the immediately post-war period in Britain. The setting for this (and the previous two books in the series) is a rural town that is home to obscure parts of the British intelligence service. The story is told in the omniscient point if view which was in keeping with the context and setting of the novel. The drawback was that I felt like I didn’t have much insight into the characters’ inner worlds. This was, to some extent, in keeping with the theme of the novel which looked into the exploration of finding “the truth” both in terms of the mystery and personally. Elizabeth Edmondsen died before this book was completed. The bulk of the writing in this book was done from her notes by her son, Ansell Audley. This accounts for the subtle changes in writing style between this book and the previous two. The most notable difference, I felt, was more reference to what would be in a contemporary novel be “corporate politics”. It also impacted the pacing of the book towards the end where some over-explaining slowed the pace of the book and didn’t do much to further the plot. In particular a new character, a Hungarian Scientist, joined the cast and played the role of a truth teller or moral guide. I felt that this char act wasn’t needed. In the previous two novels this role has been taken on by the child Georgia admirably and by bringing in the new character, I felt that her character had been downgraded to the “female in need of help” cliché. The plot revolves around the murder of a scientist and a nearby atomic facility at a time. Hugo Hawksworth, initially tasked with background checks related to a suspect intelligence leak at the facility becomes embroiled in the affair when he believes that the wrong man has been charged with the murder. Overcoming professional and personal pressure, Hugo sets out to find the real murderer and the leak. I didn’t enjoy tis book as much as the previous two in the series. Having said that it was an enjoyable enough light read. I think of it as beach Le Carre.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jammin Jenny

    I really enjoyed this historical mystery spy novel. There were some good twists and turns with the characters, a kidnapping, espionage, an old English castle, romance...A real good read.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Judith

    I’m going to miss this series. Her son did a beautiful job of completing it for her.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Janka H.

    My honest opinion - I am both happy and unsatisfied about this book. Facts first: the authoress of The Very English mysteries, of whom this book is the last one, had died while working on it. So the book has been co-written and finished by her son. The series will not continue. Thank you, dear author/s, for the witty and highly entertaining ride! It has been a pleasure. I love this series immensely. The title is right: the books are very British, very clever, full of very dry humour, very lovely t My honest opinion - I am both happy and unsatisfied about this book. Facts first: the authoress of The Very English mysteries, of whom this book is the last one, had died while working on it. So the book has been co-written and finished by her son. The series will not continue. Thank you, dear author/s, for the witty and highly entertaining ride! It has been a pleasure. I love this series immensely. The title is right: the books are very British, very clever, full of very dry humour, very lovely to read. I love all the characters, even Lady Sonia and Valerie! But in all honesty - one can tell the third book (most of it) has been written by the different author. Don't get me wrong, I am very grateful to Mr Audley to finish the book! To be able to know what had happened next in my beloved series is pure pleasure and I would read anything written by anyone about these people. And this third installment is a lovely testament of son´s love for his mother. But while I recognize all of the effort and love put into the next book - I can also feel that the touch is different and the lightness is gone. Too much communists, too little of wits of Father Leo, for example. Too little of the old charm. Coming from the post-Communist country, I like all the exact descriptions of the regime. And as the lover of all things Hungarian-Árpád, nice to meet you!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Elisa

    The best compliment that I can give Anselm Audley is that I didn't realize that he had written this novel. The style is so close to Elizabeth Edmonson's previous books, that I had no idea that she had passed away and that he had completed this last volume. It has all the best parts that we've grown to love. Hugo Hawksworth is once again involved in a case of espionage and murder. He knows that there is a mole in their organization, but is not so convinced that it is who everyone thinks. There is The best compliment that I can give Anselm Audley is that I didn't realize that he had written this novel. The style is so close to Elizabeth Edmonson's previous books, that I had no idea that she had passed away and that he had completed this last volume. It has all the best parts that we've grown to love. Hugo Hawksworth is once again involved in a case of espionage and murder. He knows that there is a mole in their organization, but is not so convinced that it is who everyone thinks. There is also a ton of gossip and all the supporting characters we now know make appearances. The banter between Hugo's sister Georgia and Polly, the Earl of Selchester's daughter made me laugh out loud. The last part was very suspenseful, and I loved the ending - which also closes this series. The mystery is compelling and the culprit surprised me. This novel won't disappoint fans and will make newbies want to go back and read the previous volumes. I chose to read this book and all opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased. Thank you, NetGalley/Thomas & Mercer!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    Well, this series ended as it began, which is to say, okay but not great. I really liked the characters throughout, but the mysteries themselves were always a bit of a jumble. In the case of this particular book in the series, it's even more of a jumble, undoubtedly because Elizabeth Edmondson died while working on it and her son, Anselm Audley, finished it. There were some mysteries that were never resolved -- why exactly did Lady Sylvia hate her father so much, and what was the deal with those Well, this series ended as it began, which is to say, okay but not great. I really liked the characters throughout, but the mysteries themselves were always a bit of a jumble. In the case of this particular book in the series, it's even more of a jumble, undoubtedly because Elizabeth Edmondson died while working on it and her son, Anselm Audley, finished it. There were some mysteries that were never resolved -- why exactly did Lady Sylvia hate her father so much, and what was the deal with those tablets that she took from his bedside the night he died/disappeared? -- and they shall remain forever unsolved, because Audley isn't going to keep going with the series.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Roshan

    Absolutely wonderful. The story as well as the writing style was awesome. All the characters seem to have grown into themselves and the passage of time from book to book is very evident.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Roshni

    Beautiful Lovely storyline and characters, flowing on strongly from the previous books. A nice finale to the Selchester series, sadly the last book.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Clara

    The first book in this series intrigued me, and this, the third, cemented my appreciation. Sadly, the author, Elizabeth Edmonson died in 2016 (her son completed the book based on her notes), so it seems we'll have no more of these appealing "Very English Mysteries." The series is set a small, quaint, English village--always a good sign for an English cozy whodunit--in the period directly after World War II. In large and small ways, Edmondson reminds us that the war's emotional and physical shock The first book in this series intrigued me, and this, the third, cemented my appreciation. Sadly, the author, Elizabeth Edmonson died in 2016 (her son completed the book based on her notes), so it seems we'll have no more of these appealing "Very English Mysteries." The series is set a small, quaint, English village--always a good sign for an English cozy whodunit--in the period directly after World War II. In large and small ways, Edmondson reminds us that the war's emotional and physical shock waves are still being felt throughout the country. The series' protagonist, Hugh Hawksworth is a former military intelligence officer whose war wounds keep him from resuming field work. Instead, he's been sent to an intelligence research unit in the village, where he lodges in the dilapidated castle home of the Selchesters, scions of the aristocratic family from whom the village took its name. Edmonson fills out the cast with various returning characters from the first novel and adds promising new ones. I found Hugh a particularly engaging protagonist: a principled, melancholy sort who's clearly good at his current job but misses the work through which he felt he made a difference. His discernment on the job contrasts with his inexpertness in personal matters, including in his long-standing relationship with a social-climbing girlfriend in London. This time, he's trying to get at the real story behind the murder of a scientist. Hugh's superiors--and a supercilious investigator from the London office--have built a case for a suspect and a motive that hides company secrets. A Matter of Loyalty did for me what a good cozy mystery should do: provide a provocative plot, an evocative setting, and characters we care for and want to meet again. Thanks to NetGalley and Thomas & Mercer for providing me with a digital advance reading copy of this book. The opinions expressed are entirely my own.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Vivienne

    Sadly, the Last in the Series - 4.5 stars rounded up to 5 It is so very sad that Mrs Edmondson passed before her last book was published, but thanks to her son we have another fine novel from this author. This is a book I have been looking forward to reading. It took me a while to get back into this series as it is so long since I read the previous books, but once I did, I was again immersed in life in Selchester. All the characters from the previous books are here, with a few additions. Hugo is s Sadly, the Last in the Series - 4.5 stars rounded up to 5 It is so very sad that Mrs Edmondson passed before her last book was published, but thanks to her son we have another fine novel from this author. This is a book I have been looking forward to reading. It took me a while to get back into this series as it is so long since I read the previous books, but once I did, I was again immersed in life in Selchester. All the characters from the previous books are here, with a few additions. Hugo is still battling bureaucracy but at last he has a problem he can get his teeth into. Who is selling secrets to the Soviets? Was it Bruno Rothesay the scientist who then disappeared? The new Earl is settling into the life of an English aristocrat, making the odd mistake, but never the same one twice. Georgia and Polly (the Earl’s younger daughter) have become friends, and Freya is still ostensibly writing her history of the Selchester family. I really enjoyed this story as I have the two previous novels in the series. The plot had many twists and more than a few unexpected turns. Just when everything seems settled, something else happens to cast doubt on the matter. The Service wants everything tidied up nicely and without fuss. Special Branch, in the form of a particularly unpleasant character, wants the same, and those who make waves (like Hugo) are not popular. The book is written in the third person, and in the understated style of the previous books, with delightful witticisms almost slipping under the radar. I didn’t even check for errors although I would probably have noticed any glaring mistakes. A fitting end to an excellent series, with a moving ‘Afterword’.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Nick Phillips

    Strangely this is the second book that I have read this year which effectively mark it's author's final work. The first, Birdcage Walk is being followed by both a poetry and a short story collection while A Matter of Loyalty was left at a very early stage and completed by the son of the original author. Whether the series has naturally started to run out of steam or whether the new authorial voice doesn't quite imbue this the same charm and vitality as the first novels in this series I don't kno Strangely this is the second book that I have read this year which effectively mark it's author's final work. The first, Birdcage Walk is being followed by both a poetry and a short story collection while A Matter of Loyalty was left at a very early stage and completed by the son of the original author. Whether the series has naturally started to run out of steam or whether the new authorial voice doesn't quite imbue this the same charm and vitality as the first novels in this series I don't know but either way it doesn't feel quite the same as the previous entries in the series. The characters that we've come of know and take a real interest in are still there but little seems to change and there is no development in their relationships, emotional development or personality while the newly introduced characters seem a little too obvious in their contributions to the plot. This series, which is effectively Downton Abbey meets Tinker, Taylor, Soldier, Spy, is always at its best when involving the inhabitants of the Castle but here they are too often reduced to bit players and accessories to the main plot line which is a shame. The ending is good though and while there would have been further volumes had the original author lived this does feel like a right, proper and fitting end to the series. I'll miss these books, the characters and the world of post-war uncertainty in which they are set.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Argum

    While I wish for more, the original author's son does a wonderful job concluding the series for us. The voice and plot are so good that I honestly didn't notice the change in author until I sat the book down 100 pages in. The outline was there when the author died and the son had done editing on the previous two books so it is really great as far as voice and fit in the series. That said it wasn't meant to be the end. The ending however feels both satisfying that it wraps things up and leaves yo While I wish for more, the original author's son does a wonderful job concluding the series for us. The voice and plot are so good that I honestly didn't notice the change in author until I sat the book down 100 pages in. The outline was there when the author died and the son had done editing on the previous two books so it is really great as far as voice and fit in the series. That said it wasn't meant to be the end. The ending however feels both satisfying that it wraps things up and leaves you with a sense of their future and doesn't shoehorn a grand series ending into a book it wasn't meant to be attached to. Okay preface over. We are back with the goings on at the Castle and Selchester. This time there is a scientist missing and a suspected Russian mole. THe missing man is of course the obvious suspect, but when he turns up dead, Hugh has doubts. Things develop a little too easily when a new suspect is needed and Hugh again digs in when he knows something is fishy much to the dismay of his superiors. Gus is settling in and gets hoodwinked by Sir Bernard into hosting a Hungarian defector. Arpad is a lovely addition to the cast and I suspect is the new character Anselm mentions as he serves as a catalyst to help our friends say things they would have taken several more books to finally realize. Lovely ending and good mystery.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Imjussayin

    A brilliant story in the mould of the golden age mysteries. A Matter of Loyalty is well written. It has drama and that wonderful sharp British humour. The story is slow in the beginning but it builds into a plot that I could not put down. Anselm has done a sterling job assembling his late mother's notes and completing the story. He is an absolute credit to her. And I do hope he will write another in the series, although he says not. Highly recommended. 😉 Connect with me on Twitter and FB See all my A brilliant story in the mould of the golden age mysteries. A Matter of Loyalty is well written. It has drama and that wonderful sharp British humour. The story is slow in the beginning but it builds into a plot that I could not put down. Anselm has done a sterling job assembling his late mother's notes and completing the story. He is an absolute credit to her. And I do hope he will write another in the series, although he says not. Highly recommended. 😉 Connect with me on Twitter and FB See all my reviews Check out my blog on imjussayin Book Rating Sexual Content: U Language: U Violent: U Would I read the next one or reread ?: Yes My rating system (* = star) 0* Could not finish this book (waste of time) 1*Finished the book but didn't like it not fulfilled 2* Finished the book it was okay. 3* A good read worth your time. 4* An excellent read often with a novel concept or unusual plot. 5* A magnificent read. A prominent example of the genre.

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