Today I am here with an ARC review of Murder in Postscript by Mary Winters. I was drawn to this book by it’s intriguing premise with our protagonist writing advice letters in Victorian Era London which leads her to a mysterious murder investigation.
There are a lot of great details in this book that make it an engaging mystery — the letters between Lady Agony and her readers, witty banter and the potential for romance, a colorful cast of characters from a narcissistic clerk to a madwoman spinster, and a clever plot.
I received a complimentary copy of the book from the author/publisher through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.
Book Summary: “When one of her readers asks for advice following a suspected murder, Victorian countess Amelia Amesbury, who secretly pens the popular Lady Agony column, has no choice but to investigate in this first book in a charming new historical mystery series.
Amelia Amesbury–widow, mother, and countess–has a secret. Amelia writes for a London penny paper, doling out advice on fashion, relationships, and manners under the pen name Lady Agony. But when a lady’s maid writes Amelia to ask for advice when she believes her mistress has been murdered–and then ends up a victim herself–Amelia is determined to solve the case.
With the help of her best friend and a handsome marquis, Amelia begins to piece together the puzzle, but as each new thread of inquiry ends with a different suspect, the investigation grows ever more daunting. From London’s docks and ballrooms to grand country houses, Amelia tracks a killer, putting her reputation–and her life–on the line.”
The plot was fast paced and clever. I enjoyed following Amelia and Simon as they search for the murderer. Their different encounters with potential suspects and the way they piece together the crime were easy to get into and I was invested in the outcome of the story throughout the novel. I think the author did a good job giving us several potential murderers without revealing the whole crime until the end of the novel. There was a clever amount of uncertainty and a satisfying climax to the mystery.
The writing was enjoyable, but I didn’t always feel it was true to the time period. I enjoyed the witty banter especially between Amelia and Simon. But I did feel like Amelia was sometimes too outspoken even for the changing times of Victorian England. There were moments when the writing felt rather modern and that took away from the overall feel of the book. Yes, times were changing during the Victorian Age but I don’t think it was quite as fast as this book made it seem. There were a few time period mysteries that I wasn’t sure added up. For example, when Amelia’s husband dies, he leaves his entire fortune to her and she is still considered a countess. But wouldn’t the title and lands all be given to someone else? If Downton Abbey has taught me anything, it’s that there is always an heir, regardless of how near or far distant a relation. I enjoyed the clear love and affection between Amelia, her adopted daughter and her late husband’s Aunt. But I thought some historical details were lacking. While the epilogue gives a clear opening for a sequel, I would have liked a bit more closure on the current story. And perhaps a declaration or two from our sleuthing team? That being said, I appreciated the author’s note talking about agony aunts during the Victorian Age and appreciate that historical detail.
While I enjoyed the fast paced mystery and budding romance, I had a hard time connecting with the protagonist, Amelia. She felt out of place in the historical time. Yes, women could be more outspoken during the Victorian Age. But she felt over the top. I appreciated her wit and candor in her Lady Agony letters (a highlight of the book for me!) but I also felt like she thought she was invincible. I don’t care how passionate you are, wandering around meeting people alone in London late at night is a bad idea. And she seems to have no real concerns about repercussions for herself or her family as she wanders London in search of the killer. I would have liked to see a bit more caution on her part or at least more common sense.
Overall, a clever mystery, but not as true to the time as I prefer. The story kept me engaged through the end of the story but Amelia had me more frustrated than impressed.
What are some of your favorite historical mysteries?
Mary Winters is the author of the Lady Agony mystery series. A longtime reader of historical fiction and an author of two other mystery series, Mary set her latest work in Victorian England after being inspired by a trip to London. Since then, she’s been busily planning her next mystery—and another trip!
2 thoughts on “[Murder in Postscript]: An ARC Review”
The agony aunt angle alone was interesting but the added Victorian era makes it sound really fun. It’s a pity you couldn’t connect with the protagonist!
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Thanks, Eustacia! Yes lots of potential. I suppose some protagonists are just like that.
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