Skip to main content

Death Below Stairs (A Below Stairs Mystery #1) by Jennifer Ashley: A Book Review


Death Below Stairs (A Below Stairs Mystery #1)
Author: Jennifer Ashley
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery and Suspense
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: January 2, 2018
Pages: 335
Source: Netgalley/Publisher in exchange for an honest review
Synopsis: Victorian class lines are crossed when cook Kat Holloway is drawn into a murder that reaches all the way to the throne.

     Highly sought-after young cook Kat Holloway takes a position in a Mayfair mansion and soon finds herself immersed in the odd household of Lord Rankin. Kat is unbothered by the family’s eccentricities as long as they stay away from her kitchen, but trouble finds its way below stairs when her young Irish assistant is murdered. 

     Intent on discovering who killed the helpless kitchen maid, Kat turns to the ever-capable Daniel McAdam, who is certainly much more than the charming delivery man he pretends to be. Along with the assistance of Lord Rankin’s unconventional sister-in-law and a mathematical genius, Kat and Daniel discover that the household murder was the barest tip of a plot rife with danger and treason—one that’s a threat to Queen Victoria herself.

     My Review: Kat Holloway has been hired to be a cook for the noble family of Lord Rankin. When she arrives, she finds a hostile working environment. The other servants in the household are cold to her, and Lord Rankin makes it clear that he wants her dismissed. However, she forms an unlikely friendship with Lord Rankin’s eccentric sister-in-law. When her assistant dies in her kitchen, Kat joins Daniel McAdam, who appears to be a delivery man but is not what he seems, to investigate her murder. The two soon learn that the murder may lead to a bigger conspiracy that plots to assassinate England’s ruler, Queen Victoria.

     Even though Death Below Stairs is the first mystery in the Below Stairs series, it read like a sequel. Going into this book, I did not get a sense of Kat Holloway’s character as a whole. There was very little information regarding Kat before we are introduced to her. There were some details about her halfway through the book. However, her backstory was only sprinkled throughout the book so that I came across feeling like I did not know her. I did like her as a character. She seems very practical and loves to investigate mysteries. Even though Kat was a mysterious character, her partner Daniel seems even more perplexing. I still do know anything about him except that he may have a secretive job.

    Overall, Death Below Stairs works best as a sequel rather than an introductory novel. I would have enjoyed the story more had there been more build-up between the characters. Instead, I felt that there was a missing novel in the series. Also, there were some answers to questions that were never explained. The mystery was very predictable. Despite these flaws, it was a fast-paced and fun novel. The setting of Victorian England felt very authentic, and it is clear that she did her research. I am looking forward to reading the sequel because I would love to know more about these characters. Death Below Stairs is not only perfect for fans of Downton Abbey, but also for fans of A Curious Beginning, A Lady in the Smoke, and The Anatomist’s Wife.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Seven Sisters (The Seven Sisters #1) by Lucinda Riley: A Book Review

The Seven Sisters (The Seven Sisters #1) Author: Lucinda Riley Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance Publisher: Atria Release Date: 2015 Pages: 463 Source: My State Public Library Synopsis: Maia D’Apliese and her five sisters gather together at their childhood home, “Atlantis”—a fabulous, secluded castle situated on the shores of Lake Geneva—having been told that their beloved father, who adopted them all as babies, has died. Each of them is handed a tantalizing clue to her true heritage—a clue which takes Maia across the world to a crumbling mansion in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Once there, she begins to put together the pieces of her story and its beginnings. Eighty years earlier in Rio’s Belle Epoque of the 1920s, Izabela Bonifacio’s father has aspirations for his daughter to marry into the aristocracy. Meanwhile, architect Heitor da Silva Costa is devising plans for an enormous statue, to be called Christ the Redeemer, and will soon travel to Paris to find the right sculptor to

Blog Tour: Marie Antoinette’s World: Intrigue, Infidelity, And Adultery In Versailles by Will Bashor

Marie Antoinette’s World: Intrigue, Infidelity, And Adultery In Versailles [history/biographical nonfiction] Release date: June 15, 2020 Postponed due to Covid-19: July 30, 2020 at Rowman & Littlefield Publishers Hardcover and ebook, 320 pages Author’s page | Goodreads SYNOPSIS Synopsis: This riveting book explores the little-known intimate life of Marie Antoinette and her milieu in a world filled with intrigue, infidelity, adultery, and sexually transmitted diseases. Will Bashor reveals the intrigue and debauchery of the Bourbon kings from Louis XIII to Louis XV, which were closely intertwined with the expansion of Versailles from a simple hunting lodge to a luxurious and intricately ordered palace. It soon became a retreat for scandalous conspiracies and rendezvous—all hidden from the public eye.       When Marie Antoinette arrived, she was quickly drawn into a true viper’s nest, encouraged by her imprudent entourage. Bashor shows that her often thoughtless, fantas

Blog Tour: Girl With A Gun (Annie Oakley Mysteries #1) by Kari Bovee: A Book Review

  Join us for this tour from Jan 10 to Feb 4 ,  2022 ! Book Details: Book Title : Girl with a Gun (An Annie Oakley Mystery) by Kari Bovee Category :  Adult Fiction (18 + yrs), 316 pages Length : 9 hours, 24 minutes. Genre :  Historical Mystery / Cozy Mystery Publisher :  Bosque Publishing Release date:    April 2020 Content Rating :  PG + M: Mature themes, mild swearing  Source : This audiobook was given to me by iReads Book Tour in exchange for an honest review.   Book Description :      She’s on the rise to fame and fortune, but her sudden notoriety comes with some deadly consequences.      Annie Oakley thrives as a sharpshooter in the Wild West Show. Finally, she has a chance to save her family’s farm—and make her dreams come true.      But her act misfires when she discovers her Indian assistant dead in her tent. Uncovering a shocking secret from her assistant’s past, the girl with the gun believes it’s murder. Determined to find the truth, she ruffles some horse