I enjoyed this mystery set in Regency England featuring a huge cast of suspects, strange murders and the house party from Hell. Here’s my review of Miss Morton and the English House Party Murder by Catherine Lloyd.
Genre: Historical Crime
Source: Kensington books and Net Galley
Publication Date: 31st May 2022
The options for the penniless daughter of a deceased earl are few indeed in Regency England. So, Lady Caroline takes a post as a lady’s companion to the wealthy widow Frogerton.
Just as Caroline is getting accustomed to her new position, her aunt invites her and her employer to a house party in the countryside to celebrate her youngest daughter’s birthday.
But all is not well at the Greenwood estate after a series of troubling harassments of the staff, an elderly family member is found stabbed by a knitting needle.
As Caroline and Mrs. Frogerton attempt to solve the crime, they discover the culprit leaving bizarre clues as to who will be next in the nursery. But they must make haste, for this heartless killer is engaged in anything but child’s play…
I enjoyed Miss Morton and the English House Party Murder by Catherine Taylor, a not quite so cosy murder mystery set in the traditional setting of Greenwood, an English manor house. But while the book may look like a traditional cosy mystery there are dark, modern themes running through the book that might surprise anyone looking for a typical cosy crime.
I received a copy of this book for a free and unbiased opinion.
The book is told from the third-person point of view from Caroline’s point of view. Caroline was an interesting character, a noblewoman who has fallen on hard times due to her Father’s mismanagement and suspicious death but instead of becoming a passive victim, she takes on employment with the formidable Mrs Frogerton. Mrs Frogerton was also a woman ahead of her time- a woman who has made her money through trade much to the disgust of the people who have been born to wealth.
Caroline and Mrs Frogerton are the mystery-solving duo trying to find a murderer when the Lord of the Manor refuses to acknowledge that any murders have taken place ( despite very convincing evidence otherwise). There is a good range of suspects- an interesting mix of noble people and former residents of Greenwood who had been taken in as children instead of being sent to an orphanage.
This wasn’t a typical murder mystery. This book explores the social structure at the time and the terrible choices facing women without money at the time. The difference between the classes, the resentment from the nobility towards the new monied trade families, the underlying resentment between the working class and the people they serve- in fact, Greenwood is a place brimming with barely suppressed Regency rage. The murders almost take second place to the underlying mystery as to why the Greenwood orphans are so angry.
Caroline was well written and has a definite grey shade to her character which makes her more and it is her development as a woman who accepts the change in her life and embraces this, that kept me reading rather than finding out who did this.
Suicide, sexual assault,
Perfect for fans who
Anyone who likes a more substantial and more thought-provoking murder mystery or anyone interested in society’s treatment of women in Regency England.