Synopsis: Filled with deceptions both real and imagined, Death Sits Down to Dinner is a delightful Edwardian mystery set in London.
Lady Montfort is thrilled to receive an invitation to a dinner party hosted by her close friend Hermione Kingsley, the patroness of England’s largest charity. Hermione has pulled together a select gathering to celebrate Winston Churchill’s 39th birthday. Some of the oldest families in the country have gathered to toast the dangerously ambitious and utterly charming First Lord of the Admiralty. But when the dinner ends, one of the gentlemen remains seated at the table, head down among the walnut shells littering the cloth and a knife between his ribs.
Summoned from Iyntwood, Mrs. Jackson helps her mistress trace the steps of suspects both upstairs and downstairs as Hermione’s household prepares to host a highly anticipated charity event. Determined to get to the bottom of things, Lady Montfort and Mrs. Jackson unravel the web of secrecy surrounding the bright whirlwind of London society, investigating the rich, well-connected and seeming do-gooders in a race against time to stop the murderer from striking again.
My Review: Death Sits Down To Dinner is a historical mystery starring Lady Montfort and her housekeeper, Mrs. Jackson. Lady Montfort is invited to a dinner party, hosted by her friend, Hermione Kingsley, in honor of Winston Churchill’s 39th party. The party seems to be going well, and Lady Montfort is mingling with the elite and observing the young men as potential suitors for her daughter. She also gets to see the famous Winston Churchill, whom her husband dislikes. After the dinner ends, they find that someone at the party has died. Lady Montfort is determined to see who is the murderer, and she uses her housekeeper to help solve the crime.
Both Lady Montfort and Mrs. Jackson are likable characters. While they are both from different social statuses, they both work towards the same goal. Therefore, they make a perfect team and they rely on each other. Mrs. Jackson is Lady Montfort’s eyes and ears with those of her social rank. As they both go about solving the crime through different social ranks, in the end this helps form a clearer picture of who the murderer is. Both of these women are smart, observant, practical, persistent, and inquisitive. Thus, they both complement each other and make for interesting sleuths.
Overall, this book was a fun mystery. I liked how this book focused on British society. I also liked delving into their secrets. I found the characters to be fun and well-developed. This book did start out slow, and it took a hundred pages to get into, however after that it was very suspenseful, and I wanted to know who the murderer was. This book for me was also hard to read for its writing is more aligned with early twentieth century. So it took me forever to finish the book because it slowed the pace of my reading down as I was trying to make sense of what the characters were saying. Nonetheless, this is a well-developed mystery. I recommend this book to fans of Agatha Christie and Edwardian literature.
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | INDIEBOUND | KOBO
“The close, mutually respectful partnership between Clementine and Edith will remind Dorothy Sayers’s fans of the relationship between Lord Peter Wimsey and Bunter, his manservant. Arlen does a good job of depicting a period when class distinctions have become blurred by new money and more-relaxed manners. The plot, which includes a slew of red herrings, builds to a startling denouement.” -Publisher’s Weekly
“VERDICT Real-life Edwardian personalities abound in this period historical, and the upstairs/downstairs focus delivers a clash of temperaments. This title is bound to appeal to fans of historicals set in this period and of such authors as Rhys Bowen and Ashley Weaver.” -Library Journal
About the Author
For more information please visit Tessa Arlen's website. Read Tessa Arlen's blog at Redoubtable Edwardians. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads. Subscribe to Tessa Arlen's Newsletter.