When A Dinner Party Turns Deadly, The Feisty Lady Cecilia Bates And Intuitive Cat Jack Are On The Case, In This First Entry To An Exciting New Historical Mystery Series England Danby Hall Is The Only Home Lady Cecilia Bates Has Ever Known Despite The Rigid Rules Of Etiquette And Her Mother The Countess Of Avebury S Fervent Desire To See Her Married Off, Lady Cecilia Can T Imagine Life Anywhere Else But Now, With An Agricultural Depression Sweeping The Countryside, The Bates Family S Possession Of The Hall Is Suddenly In PerilA Possible Solution Arrives In The Form Of The Imperious American Heiress Annabel Clarke The Earl And Countess Of Avebury Are Determined That Cecilia S Brother, Patrick, Will Win Annabel S Hand In Marriage And Her Fortune Along With It To Help The Lackluster Patrick In This Pursuit, The Bates And Their Staff Arrange A Grand House Party Upon The Heiress S ArrivalWhen A Guest Dies After Sipping From A Glass Meant For Annabel, It S Clear The Bates Have A Poisonous Problem On Their Hands Than A Lack Of Chemistry As The Scandal Seizes Danby, Cecilia Sets Out To Find The Culprit, With Help From Annabel S Maid, Jane, And Jane S Curiously Intelligent Cat, JackAfter The Poison That Someone Had Stashed Away Inside The Manor Is Discovered, Cecilia Is Left With Two Possibilities Either A Resident Of Danby Snapped And Tried To Kill The Arrogant Heiress, Or The Threat Is Coming From One Of Their Guests, Who Would Love To See The Bates Family S Decline Become Permanent Cecelia knows there s something wrong at Danby Paintings and other knock knacks have gone missing but no one is kicking up a fuss Plus, it s just expensive to be in the upper classes of England these days Her parents are trying to get her married off lovingly, but there is still pressure and they ve invited am American heiress to a house party in the hopes that she will fall in love with Cecelia s brother, Patrick.There is a brief moment of horror when the ship the heiress is on sinks but she does show up with her maid, Jane, in tow The party begins but almost comes to an abrupt halt when one of the guests, a famous explorer, dies at dinner The heiress is convinced the poison he drank was meant for her There are obvious reasons to kill the explorer but when there s another attack, it seems like she may be right.Jane and Cecelia hit it off, bonding over the cat, Jack, that Jane rescued from the ship And it is their work that helps them solve the case, but not before they are in some danger.Some world building since this is the first book in the series and the ending was a little overdramatic but overall an enjoyable read. True Rating 3.5 stars DIn Lady Takes the Case, the Bates family line has been a proud one that has worked very hard throughout the centuries to properly maintain its holdings and the Danby Hall estate but unfortunately for the current generation it looked as if the estate would be facing a changing of hands Though, with the end in sight, this family would not go without a fight, doing everything they could to keep Danby Hall The one thing that could be done immediately was marry off either of the Bates children, Patrick and Cecilia, to someone with money It was this desperation that led the Bates family to consider an American heiress, Annabel Clarke, for Patrick as a possible match but, from the start, nothing went right were Annabel was concerned After a guest falls prey to poisoning, the speculations start about who the poison was truly intended for and who the poisoner could be As suspicion falls too close to home for Lady Cecilia Bates, she decides to undertake some amateur sleuthing along with the help of her new acquaintances.For fans of historical cozy mysteries, Lady Takes the Case will be an appealing read For readers who love animal sleuths, there is a cat, Jack, who is a part of the story but he is not an integral part as one would suspect from the series titled Manor Cat Mystery I would call him a cute feline sidekick What there are a lot of in this book are characters and they all have parts which had me flipping back and forth to keep the who and what straight At the start there was much attention paid to descriptions about the everyday life for the characters involved as well as many details about the upcoming party and the preparations that were taking place for it I felt like it took a long time for the murder to actually take place and the investigation to start Once it did though, the mystery was a fun little whodunit I was able to figure a few things out straight away but there were a couple of twists that I found kept my interest engaged After the cliffhanger that Lady Takes the Case ends with, I am very curious about future turns of events Overall, this story had delightful characters and I am curious to see where the next mystery takes them This review is based on a complimentary book I received from Berkley Prime Crime It is an honest and voluntary review The complimentary receipt of it in no way affected my review or rating. Series Manor Cat Mystery 1Publication Date 11 26 19Number of Pages 304 3.5 stars rounded up to 4 This book covers a lot of firsts I believe it is the first book by the author, it is the first book in this series and it is my first read by this author I have to admit I was a bit hesitant to request this book because I wasn t sure if I was going to get a talking, magical cat or well something else Happily, it turns out it is just a normal cat doing normal cat things and the sleuthing is left up to the two ladies.The mystery itself isn t too challenging to figure out, but it was interesting to see how the resolution unfolded Historical mysteries are my favorite sub genre and this fit right into that mold although 1912 is a bit later than my normal reading period I enjoyed the setting a period when young ladies are trying to figure out what to do with themselves the beginnings of the suffragette movement, etc Given that, I think it will be fun to see Lady Cecilia work her way through what she wants for herself and her life while solving mysteries, of course In order to satisfy my reading requirements though, I ll need a love interest for Cecilia and I didn t see that I did see one potential, though inappropriate, possibility in a private investigator who makes a brief appearance We ll just have to see what happens in the romance department before I decide whether to continue, long term, with the series.The Blake family, like many others of the time, are titled and rich in properties, but poor in the money to actually support those properties or the lifestyles that go with them If they don t come up with a solution soon, they will be forced to sell their beautiful estate, Danby Hall The family, Lady Cecilia, Lord Patrick Viscount Bellham , and Lord Avebury are going along with Lady Avebury s plan to marry Patrick off to an American heiress Patrick is one of those lovely, sweet, befuddled people who is always lost in his own world of scientific botany experiments He s a very handsome young man, just oblivious to the world around him.The Blake s are hosting a house party with the American heiress, Annabel Clarke, as the guest of honor It turns out the lady is quite a demanding, temperamental diva and is quite full of herself Yet, she charms Patrick and he seems totally smitten Cecilia notices some strange undercurrents among the guests, but they are a varied lot and some have old enmities Most of the guests, however, don t even know each other That makes it really hard to figure out what is going on when a guest suddenly dies in the middle of dinner one evening It seems he was poisoned and the heiress is sure that it was meant for her.Lady Cecilia has always been curious about what was going on, but when it seems Patrick is the prime suspect, she is determined to solve the mystery I love that Cecilia and Jane become instant friends and both have an insatiable curiosity They work well together one covers the upstairs folks and the other covers the belowstairs folks.There was a lovely epilogue that sets up the next book, Lady Rights a Wrong, and that will be interesting to see I ll certainly read that addition to the series to see if a romance is added in and then I ll decide whether to continue with the series or not.This was a fun read and I think the author did a nice job of creating an interesting mystery with red herrings and distractions I believe that Eliza Casey is a pseudonym for a multi published author, but I don t know which one.I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book All thoughts and opinions are my own. The first book in the Manor Cat series and a new author for me The story is easy to read and very formulaic of a gothic novel I realize the major turn early but there are several other turns I did enjoyed the book and look forward to the next book.It is 1912 England is in period where the economy has slack off The Bates family is in trouble and might loose the Estate The answer the heir must wed a wealthy heiress and an American Annabelle Clarke heiress and her maid Jane arrive at the Manor for a house party Jane adopted a black and white cat on the ship He is intelligent cat and quickly becomes a favorite with Lady Cecilia and is allowed the run of the Manor Patrick, the heir to the Estate is a botanist growing poisonous plants to learn about them.At the ball to welcome Annabelle to the Manor a guest collapses, and he was poison by an herb making Patrick a suspect in the murder Lady Cecilia and Jane set out to clear Patrick s name Are they successful The ending is unique I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK.Disclosure Thanks to Berkley for a copy through NetGalley The opinions expressed are my own.Lady Cecilia Bates
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- 304 pages
- Lady Takes the Case (Manor Cat Mystery #1)
- Eliza Casey
- 11 October 2019 Eliza Casey