Review: The Murder at Mandeville Hall

Review: The Murder at Mandeville HallThe Murder at Mandeville Hall (The Casebook of Barnaby Adair, 5) by Stephanie Laurens
Published by Savdek Management Pty Ltd on August 16, 2018
Genres: Historical, Mystery

FINAL DECISION: The mystery was good, but the solution was pretty obvious to me from the beginning. In compensation, however, the romance was a nice diversion as the two get to know one another and solve the crime.

THE STORY: Alaric, Lord Carradale has been a rake but something has changed recently and he is considering looking for a bride. Unfortunately, the sweet innocent young woman that would be the typical bride is someone who would likely bore Alaric in a week. While attending a house party by his friend and neighbor, Alaric ends up stumbling across one of the young women who is attending the party dead in the bushes. The young woman’s cousin immediately comes across Alaric and it appears that he is the most likely criminal. Constance Whittaker has arrived too late to help her cousin but is determined to find the murderer. Soon Constance and Alaric have teamed up to solve the murder and bring in Barnaby Adair, his wife Penelope and Inspector Stokes of Scotland Yard.

OPINION: I enjoyed this book, but the balance of the story wasn’t as good as others in the series. The mystery was intriguing all the way until the reveal. Unfortunately, I had pegged the villain from the start and the exact reason for the crime. It made the resolution of the mystery anticlimactic.

While I enjoyed the story between Alaric and Constance, I missed seeing more of Barnaby and Penelope. Because there was no real conflict between Alaric and Constance other than the crime, I liked them as characters, but their relationship wasn’t really something that I had to root for.

This was a fine one time read, but I have enjoyed others in the series more.


CONNECTED BOOKS: THE MURDER AT MANDEVILLE HALL is the seventh book in the Casebook of Barnaby Adair series. The story here is self-contained, but Barnaby Adair and his wife and the Scotland Yard investigator are continuing characters. Here, however, they are not as prominent as the couple and thus this is a good standalone in the series.

STAR RATING: I give this book 3.5 stars.



Review: The Confounding Case of the Carisbrook Emeralds

Review: The Confounding Case of the Carisbrook EmeraldsThe Confounding Case of the Carisbrook Emeralds by Stephanie Laurens
Series: Casebook of Barnaby Adair #6
Published by Savdek Management Pty Ltd on June 14, 2018
Genres: Historical, Mystery

FINAL DECISION: This is really a mystery with only a dash of secondary romance — not between the main characters — this is really the continuing stories of Barnaby and his wife Penelope and their friends who have joined together to work through mysteries of the aristocracy. I enjoyed this mystery and getting to see the characters again.

THE STORY: Miss Cara Di Abaccio is accused by her aunt of stealing the family jewels. This begins an investigation into the theft conducted by Inspector Stokes along with Barnaby and Penelope Adair, Stoke’s wife Griselda, and their friends Violet and Montague. Barnaby’s own cousin, Hugo, has taken a romantic interest in Cara and knows she is innocent. The investigation takes a serious turn when one of the maids is found dead.

OPINION: I enjoyed this book which is really a mystery and the romance is really minimal unlike the others in the series. I believe that because of the recurring characters, I didn’t mind that the “romance” that is new here isn’t particularly interesting to me. Instead, I really liked the updates about the characters that I already loved.

The story was one that kept me turning the pages until the end because I liked that there were various stories going on which all had to be resolved in order for the mystery to be “solved”.

The mystery was a good one with a well-developed group of suspects. Each character has a purpose for being in the story and felt like a developed personality. Each character has secrets that are revealed in the course of the story. This is a mystery really based on the characters and thus having a cast of interesting suspects is vital. I enjoyed these characters and their motivations kept the story moving.

WORTH MENTIONING: Very clean story with no sex except implied.

CONNECTED BOOKS: THE CONFOUNDING CASE OF THE CARISBROOK EMERALDS is the sixth book in the Casebook of Barnaby Adair series. The mystery in this book is completely self-contained. The characters who do the investigation continue through the series and we get some personal moments and information, but this book can be read as a standalone.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.