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The Heiress of Linn Hagh

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Northumberland, 1809: A beautiful young heiress disappears from her locked bedchamber at Linn Hagh.The local constables are baffled and the townsfolk cry ‘witchcraft’.The heiress’s uncle summons help from Detective Lavender and his assistant, Constable Woods, who face one of their most challenging cases: The servants and local gypsies aren’t talking; Helen’s siblings are u Northumberland, 1809: A beautiful young heiress disappears from her locked bedchamber at Linn Hagh.The local constables are baffled and the townsfolk cry ‘witchcraft’.The heiress’s uncle summons help from Detective Lavender and his assistant, Constable Woods, who face one of their most challenging cases: The servants and local gypsies aren’t talking; Helen’s siblings are uncooperative; and the sullen local farmers are about to take the law into their own hands.Lavender and Woods find themselves trapped in the middle of a simmering feud as they uncover a world of family secrets, intrigue and deception in their search for the missing heiress.Taut, wry and delightful, The Heiress of Linn Hagh is a rollicking tale featuring Lavender and Woods—a double act worthy of Holmes and Watson. Revised edition: This edition of The Heiress of Linn Hagh includes editorial revisions.


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Northumberland, 1809: A beautiful young heiress disappears from her locked bedchamber at Linn Hagh.The local constables are baffled and the townsfolk cry ‘witchcraft’.The heiress’s uncle summons help from Detective Lavender and his assistant, Constable Woods, who face one of their most challenging cases: The servants and local gypsies aren’t talking; Helen’s siblings are u Northumberland, 1809: A beautiful young heiress disappears from her locked bedchamber at Linn Hagh.The local constables are baffled and the townsfolk cry ‘witchcraft’.The heiress’s uncle summons help from Detective Lavender and his assistant, Constable Woods, who face one of their most challenging cases: The servants and local gypsies aren’t talking; Helen’s siblings are uncooperative; and the sullen local farmers are about to take the law into their own hands.Lavender and Woods find themselves trapped in the middle of a simmering feud as they uncover a world of family secrets, intrigue and deception in their search for the missing heiress.Taut, wry and delightful, The Heiress of Linn Hagh is a rollicking tale featuring Lavender and Woods—a double act worthy of Holmes and Watson. Revised edition: This edition of The Heiress of Linn Hagh includes editorial revisions.

30 review for The Heiress of Linn Hagh

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kylie D

    A fun read that sees Detective Lavender and his offsider Constable Woods venture to the north of England, where an heiress has gone missing from a seemingly locked room. Honestly, the plot was transparent, but the writing and the beautiful setting made up for this. I did find the book enjoyable, but really there were no surprises in it.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Tracey

    This book was cheap or free on Amazon, and it sounded like everything I would enjoy: a nice British-style mystery set in 1809 featuring Bow Street runners and a locked room, with a whiff of the supernatural – perfect. Except it was awful. I've said, in some form or other, and will likely say again that when a writer whose work I enjoy says something that doesn't feel quite right, I will accept it – but when a writer whose work I dislike says something that doesn't feel right, I will get online a This book was cheap or free on Amazon, and it sounded like everything I would enjoy: a nice British-style mystery set in 1809 featuring Bow Street runners and a locked room, with a whiff of the supernatural – perfect. Except it was awful. I've said, in some form or other, and will likely say again that when a writer whose work I enjoy says something that doesn't feel quite right, I will accept it – but when a writer whose work I dislike says something that doesn't feel right, I will get online and do the research to, if possible, prove I'm right and they're wrong so there. It unfortunately didn't take long for me to get to the point that when Karen Charlton had a character say "There’s no cake with candles fer me at a year’s end", I got to digging. As best I can find, it's an anachronism - and, if nothing else, someone in this character's place and position probably couldn't afford it even it was common. The point is, I'm not buying it. The two so-remarkable detectives at the heart of the story, Detective Stephen Lavender and Constable Woods, are ridiculous. Their investigative skills are remarkable only for their absence – an example being that they decide to "stake out the grave of Baxter Carnaby from midnight". Fine; but why arbitrarily midnight and not before? And of course early on they miss the bad guy and basically screw up altogether. It doesn't help that so-wonderful Detective Lavender is – as even his faithful Constable says – "mooning around after " a chance-met so-exotic Spanish woman widow – or is she?? He is so distracted that I wanted to see him come up on charges. The "clever idea" used to get into/out of a room which was barred on the inside was ludicrous; it would have left signs that even the dumbest and most sloppy maid or investigator would have remarked upon, even if they didn't know what they meant. Lavender muses about "the moments when he knew, for certain, that he could drag a criminal into the dock at the next assizes", to which I responded "the moments when exactly the evidence you require appears as if by magic". And my comment on "They shouted over and over again for Hamilton" was "ooo stealthy", so it had to have been a situation in which yelling was inappropriate. The badness of the writing was … manifold. There was punctuation abuse (particularly of commas), grammar maltreatment, and unintentional humor all throughout. "He caught the glint of iron flint in Wood's eyes" is just silly in at least three different directions. Characters said "God's strewth" – why? "Strewth" is supposed to be slang for "God's truth", so … that makes no sense. "Woods shuffled uncomfortably on a hard–baked chair by the door." How do you shuffle in a seated position, and how is a chair hard-baked? And seriously, "orb" is a word which should never be used except in quoting Shakespeare. Or in paranormal investigation. I don't have any memory of the context of this quote, but in my Kindle highlights I saved: "‘The Lord save us from loose fish!’ Mistress Norris exclaimed." The note I made with it was "THAT is your response to proposed rapine?" Not-exactly-wealthy characters ladle sugar into their tea like it was the 21st century – but sugar was still pretty darned expensive in 1809. Someone burns old documents and carelessly doesn't completely destroy one – something so clichéd it should come with a health warning. I had an idea about what happened, and made a prediction – not something I usually do with mysteries – and when the writer caught up to that idea but went in a different direction, I grumbled some more in my Kindle notes – "that is nonsensical. My idea was better." "Her accented voice purred like silk" … How does one purr like silk? Another thing I say all the time is that when I make a lot of highlights or notes on my Kindle, it means a book was either really good or really bad. Obviously, I made a lot of notes on this book. Imagine my chagrin when I requested another book that sounded awfully good from Netgalley, only to realize – too late – that it was by the same author. I hate it when that happens.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Emma

    I really enjoyed this. I am currently working my way through the Sebastian St.. Cyr Regency series so my interest was piqued by a different series set in the time period. But also I read another book about the Bow Street runners recently and knew hardly anything about them so I found it fascinating. Lavender, our main investigator in this novel, is a Bow Street Runner too. So really the odds were stacked in my favour that I would enjoy it. The mystery was intriguing and well done.

  4. 5 out of 5

    ✨Susan✨

    This story gave me characters that I loved to hate. Detective Lavender is a no nonsense, interesting fellow. When a girl disappears from a locked bedroom, how she did it and where she went is the mystery, but the deeper mystery that comes to light is why? Onto the next in the series.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Christa

    The Heiress of Linn Hagh is a detective novel that has a gothic feel. I really enjoyed it and am looking forward to more in the series. Detective Lavender is called in when an heiress goes missing from a locked bedchamber. As they investigate, they find lots of strange happenings and uncooperative attitudes in the community. They have to determine if someone kidnapped the heiress, or if she managed to escape her locked bedroom and flee on her own. This was a very intriguing mystery that kept me The Heiress of Linn Hagh is a detective novel that has a gothic feel. I really enjoyed it and am looking forward to more in the series. Detective Lavender is called in when an heiress goes missing from a locked bedchamber. As they investigate, they find lots of strange happenings and uncooperative attitudes in the community. They have to determine if someone kidnapped the heiress, or if she managed to escape her locked bedroom and flee on her own. This was a very intriguing mystery that kept me interested. Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing an ARC in return for an honest review.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sophia

    A Regency era mystery with some Gothic overtones? 'nuff said! I wasn't familiar with this series, but I was glad for the opportunity to pick up book one and meet Lavender and Woods in a case that took this pair of Bow Street Runners far from London into the Northumberland countryside. The story opens with the introduction of the main pair of detectives and then drops back a little into the past and introduces the people and situation where the disappearance took place. It ends up going back and f A Regency era mystery with some Gothic overtones? 'nuff said! I wasn't familiar with this series, but I was glad for the opportunity to pick up book one and meet Lavender and Woods in a case that took this pair of Bow Street Runners far from London into the Northumberland countryside. The story opens with the introduction of the main pair of detectives and then drops back a little into the past and introduces the people and situation where the disappearance took place. It ends up going back and forth between the detectives and the family situation so the reader gets both aspects. The details of historical setting and description of situation were good. The author didn't skimp on painting in details of the Regency time period and police work in that time. The characters were not as developed, but I liked how a little more detail was sketched in here and there as it went along. Lavender is something more than he seems and can be brooding while Woods is open and known from the start. The mystery is a locked room type and relies heavily on atmosphere which was done well. It was not one that was hard to figure out the who or even the why - that is a given, but there are some details that come out later to make things even more interesting about the Carnaby family and how it was done. I had a sense that I was dropped into an existing series because there were references back to other cases, but it was explained in the author notes at the end that Lavender and Woods were side characters in an unrelated book that she felt needed their own stories s0 this truly was the first of a new series. There is an introduction to a romance interest for Lavender when he encounters a fiery Spanish woman on his journey north. She is above him in class and has her own secrets so it will be interesting to see where that series thread goes from there. All in all, I enjoyed this introduction to a new to me historical mystery series and can definitely recommend it.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Tracy

    This was a surprisingly good mystery! I love the 1800s time period and while I thought I had things figured out, there was a twist in the end. I enjoyed it!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Susanna - Censored by GoodReads

    Tracey's review was warning enough for me.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kiesha ~ 1Cheekylass

    Really great mystery. I admit that the beginning was a bit off for me, it felt confusing. However, I soon grew to love the characters of Detective Lavender and Constable Woods. I really enjoyed the secondary characters of this story as well--I really liked the farmers!. Romance is little to none IMO. I personally would have maybe liked to see a little more--nothing over the top though. Lot's of mystery and entertainment though. So despite the slow start I was engrossed until the very end.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Peggy

    NOTE: Received as an ARC from Netgalley. Interesting Regency mystery with a family as dysfunctional as that in Wuthering Heights, if Jane Eyre's nasty cousin John Reed and Mr. Rochester's wife lived there too. Anna is far and away the best character (she reminds me of Daisy in Downton Abbey). It started off a little slow for me, but then I got hooked. I look forward to future books in the series.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Barbara Rogers

    What a great start for what is a new author and series for me. I love her writing style -- straightforward, descriptive, well developed characters, etc. Lavender seems to be a cross between Sherlock Holmes and MacGyver. He's exceedingly smart, well educated and perceptive, but not particularly 'people adept'. I love the relationship between Lavender and Constable Woods. They are friends, but it seems much more than that -- almost father/son. Woods is the 'people person'. He's one of those good na What a great start for what is a new author and series for me. I love her writing style -- straightforward, descriptive, well developed characters, etc. Lavender seems to be a cross between Sherlock Holmes and MacGyver. He's exceedingly smart, well educated and perceptive, but not particularly 'people adept'. I love the relationship between Lavender and Constable Woods. They are friends, but it seems much more than that -- almost father/son. Woods is the 'people person'. He's one of those good natured, affable kinds of people who has never met a stranger. People instinctively trust him and talk to him easily. As a principal investigator for the famed Bow Street Runners, Lavender is often called to various parts of England to solve cases that local investigators cannot solve. As often as possible, Lavender takes Constable Woods with him. An heiress is missing -- from a room that is locked from the inside. Her uncle contacts Bow Street and Lavender and Woods are sent to Northumberland to solve the mystery and find the heiress. It doesn't take them long to figure out that there is more going on than just a missing heiress. There is true madness and evil at Linn Hagh and more than one victim. The mystery is sort of gothic in nature - brooding like Wuthering Heights. I've seen a number of questions about the accuracy of the Bow Street runners scenario's on other reviews. I was questioning at first as well, but the author includes her research and information at the end of the book in the Author's Notes section that are really interesting. Seems there REALLY was a principal investigator named Lavender and some of the stories seem based on actual cases from that time. Some people may find the writing style a little dry -- sort of like the old Dragnet series on TV, but I enjoyed it thoroughly and can't wait to start the next one.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jaymie

    I don't really have much to say about this book. I didn't hate it, but I also didn't love it. It was just kind of midway for me. I honestly think it may have been the characters that put me off so much. Detective Lavender is sort of disagreeable, yet at times he breaks out of his shell a bit. His story with Magdallena drove me absolutely insane. It was really an unnecessary plot line that didn't do much for the story overall. It just added some sexual tension that made me feel a bit uncomfortabl I don't really have much to say about this book. I didn't hate it, but I also didn't love it. It was just kind of midway for me. I honestly think it may have been the characters that put me off so much. Detective Lavender is sort of disagreeable, yet at times he breaks out of his shell a bit. His story with Magdallena drove me absolutely insane. It was really an unnecessary plot line that didn't do much for the story overall. It just added some sexual tension that made me feel a bit uncomfortable, really. Woods was okay. He made the story flow a little better for me, as I had a better understanding of his attitude throughout the book. The mystery itself was entertaining, but it was also extremely obvious. Overall, I really enjoyed the world building and the tiny details of the book. The writing is very descriptive and allows you to really step into the world. The overall tone of the book was dark and mysterious, yet it didn't absolutely amaze me. It just fell sort of flat, and unfortunately I don't plan to pick up another book in this series.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Cathleen

    2.5 stars. The Heiress of Linn Hagh had appealing features for a lazy summertime read: a locked-room mystery, a missing, possibly abducted heiress, her miserably mean siblings, a 19th century northern England setting, a castle, hints of the supernatural, and the lean, cerebral detective called up from London to solve the case. I enjoyed the premise, and the novel sustained my curiosity, for the most part. Several of the minor characters, like Constable Woods and the maid Anna, were well-develop 2.5 stars. The Heiress of Linn Hagh had appealing features for a lazy summertime read: a locked-room mystery, a missing, possibly abducted heiress, her miserably mean siblings, a 19th century northern England setting, a castle, hints of the supernatural, and the lean, cerebral detective called up from London to solve the case. I enjoyed the premise, and the novel sustained my curiosity, for the most part. Several of the minor characters, like Constable Woods and the maid Anna, were well-developed and memorable. The novel is limited by its plot; granted, it’s a locked-room mystery so is by definition formulaic, but even so, there was little playing with the genre’s conventions and little suspense. The writing needed further editing, in spots, as well. It was bogged down by redundant adjectives and unnecessary, tangential exposition. This was the first in a series, so subsequent novels may be more polished. Overall, it was a light, entertaining read for a summer evening.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Carla

    I loved this book. The writing was excellent, the plot was good, and the characters came to life and made me want to know more about them. I'm looking forward to reading the upcoming books.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Detective Lavender and his friend, Constable Woods, are dispatched to Linn Hagh to investigate the disappearance of Helen (a young heiress), who disappeared from her locked room one night. As the two men get deeper into the investigation, they learn that the Carnaby family has some dark secrets. Secrets that undoubtedly made Helen fear for her life and try to run away. I listened to the audio version of this story and enjoyed it. It was a decent mystery which unfolded at a good pace and was logic Detective Lavender and his friend, Constable Woods, are dispatched to Linn Hagh to investigate the disappearance of Helen (a young heiress), who disappeared from her locked room one night. As the two men get deeper into the investigation, they learn that the Carnaby family has some dark secrets. Secrets that undoubtedly made Helen fear for her life and try to run away. I listened to the audio version of this story and enjoyed it. It was a decent mystery which unfolded at a good pace and was logical. Lavender is a good detective and an interesting character, but I liked Woods a tad better. I can't say I was surprised at the end, but I did feel entertained the entire time. Not sure if I will continue the series or not. Sometimes I like your average mystery and this was one of them, thus the average rating.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ctgt

    Pretty good historical mystery......although I had it figured out pretty early on. 6/10

  17. 5 out of 5

    Lorraine

    Detective Lavender and Constable Woods-what a dynamic team! ‘Northumberland’ 1809. Karen Charlton’s The Heiress of Linn Hagh (The Detective Lavender Mysteries #1) is an enthralling beginning of this series. The author’s writing is descriptive as well as entertaining be it setting, characterizing, or plot. For example, “Fungi erupted like obscene cancers in the wood. Fallen ash and sycamores gaped like huge, twisted, moss-coated serpents around them.”; “When her bony arms reached out to steady he Detective Lavender and Constable Woods-what a dynamic team! ‘Northumberland’ 1809. Karen Charlton’s The Heiress of Linn Hagh (The Detective Lavender Mysteries #1) is an enthralling beginning of this series. The author’s writing is descriptive as well as entertaining be it setting, characterizing, or plot. For example, “Fungi erupted like obscene cancers in the wood. Fallen ash and sycamores gaped like huge, twisted, moss-coated serpents around them.”; “When her bony arms reached out to steady herself against the stone walls, Lavender thought she resembled an ungainly and vengeful black bat.”; “Both of them were acting out a part: Lavender was the embodiment of calm, reassuring solace; Isobel Carnaby, the distraught little housekeeper, was nearly hysterical over a couple of missing candles. Fascinated, Woods watched the charade unfold before his eyes.” I pictured the woods, visualized the ‘bony’ and ‘vengeful black bat’ of Isobel, and smiled as I ‘watched the charade’ with Constable Woods. I was and am definitely into this book, and I am looking forward to reading the next mystery in this beguiling series. Well done, Ms. Charlton! 5 stars.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Andersen

    The Heiress of Linn Hagh by Karen Charlton was a fun gothic mystery set in Regency England. Detective Lavender bears striking resemblance to Sherlock Holmes, but with a little more humanity to him. And Constable Wood is an admirable sidekick and Watson stand-in. The basic mystery here is how a young heiress disappeared from her locked bedroom in the middle of the night, leaving no trace. I read another person's very nitpicky one-star review, and will admit that I have read books that hit me the The Heiress of Linn Hagh by Karen Charlton was a fun gothic mystery set in Regency England. Detective Lavender bears striking resemblance to Sherlock Holmes, but with a little more humanity to him. And Constable Wood is an admirable sidekick and Watson stand-in. The basic mystery here is how a young heiress disappeared from her locked bedroom in the middle of the night, leaving no trace. I read another person's very nitpicky one-star review, and will admit that I have read books that hit me the same way, one thing bothered me at the beginning and then everything else just stands out that much more until it drives you crazy. I did not have that experience with this book. The Heiress of Linn Hagh is a light quick read, with characters similar enough to Holmes and Watson that you feel at home in the story right away. I didn't find the central mystery or the various twists and turns to be that surprising, I had most of it figured out well before the reveal. However, I generally prefer a mystery that I can figure out to one where the answer is completely out of left field that you could never have figured out based on the clues you were given. I felt like the author had a fairly light touch with her clues. I have read others where the author all but beats you over the head with the clues to the point that you are yelling at the characters for having not figured it out yet. This was a fun story and I will probably try the next in the series as well. I would recommend this one for fans of historical mysteries.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Hilary

    It started as a locked room mystery but soon became so much more. In a way it's almost more gothic than traditional historical mystery, including a missing heiress, gypsies, a madwoman, a beautiful Spanish woman and family secrets. Anna was probably the most well-drawn of the non-police characters, and although this did include enough details to keep me interested I felt it lacked most of the depth that authors like Anne Perry offer, and the references to previous events made it feel like a mid-s It started as a locked room mystery but soon became so much more. In a way it's almost more gothic than traditional historical mystery, including a missing heiress, gypsies, a madwoman, a beautiful Spanish woman and family secrets. Anna was probably the most well-drawn of the non-police characters, and although this did include enough details to keep me interested I felt it lacked most of the depth that authors like Anne Perry offer, and the references to previous events made it feel like a mid-series book rather than the first. The repeated plot-based backtracking was a little awkward, though thankfully it ceased quickly, but the overly-varied dialogue tags continued throughout and made it feel like the author was sitting there with a thesaurus (I got tired of people who grovelled, whined, sighed, retorted) so overall it didn't quite gel for me. I *was* interested to read the note about the real historical background though. Disclaimer: I received a free copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Betty

    A gothic novel where we meet Inspector Lavender and Constable Wood, officers of Bow Street. They are traveling to northern England to investigate the disappearance of Helen, a heiress from a locked room. Her brothers and sister are not helpful. Gypsies roam the woods. There many twists and turns that will hold your attention. There is slang language used that some might find offence. If you like Victoria Holt you will enjoy the book. Disclosure: I received a free copy from Amazon Publishing for a A gothic novel where we meet Inspector Lavender and Constable Wood, officers of Bow Street. They are traveling to northern England to investigate the disappearance of Helen, a heiress from a locked room. Her brothers and sister are not helpful. Gypsies roam the woods. There many twists and turns that will hold your attention. There is slang language used that some might find offence. If you like Victoria Holt you will enjoy the book. Disclosure: I received a free copy from Amazon Publishing for an honest review. I would like to thank them for this opportunity to read and review this book. The opinions are my own.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Persis Menon

    Oh my! The book was astonishing. I just wish there were like 10 in this series so I can just read one after another and be lost in them. I enjoy regency mysteries and this series is in my top 5 list.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Elaine Tomasso

    It has taken me a while to get to The Heiress of Linn Hagh but it is worth the wait as it is an entertaing read. Inspector Lavender and Constable Wood travel to Northumberland in October 1809 to look into the disappearance from a locked room of the eponymous heiress, Helen Carbury. They encounter a fiendish plot which takes some unravelling. I'm not sure of the terminology but the novel strikes me as being, before its time setting, a bit of a Victorian melodrama with wicked family members, a damse It has taken me a while to get to The Heiress of Linn Hagh but it is worth the wait as it is an entertaing read. Inspector Lavender and Constable Wood travel to Northumberland in October 1809 to look into the disappearance from a locked room of the eponymous heiress, Helen Carbury. They encounter a fiendish plot which takes some unravelling. I'm not sure of the terminology but the novel strikes me as being, before its time setting, a bit of a Victorian melodrama with wicked family members, a damsel in distress, suspicious gypsies, a clever detective and torrid family secrets. Great stuff. The plot is suitably convoluted with twist upon twist and well paced reveals. I like the characters Lavender and Wood with Lavender being the aloof, clever one and Wood being the man of the people. It's a been done before, frequently, but it works and allows the author scope to contrast their different approaches. The Heiress of Linn Hagh is a fun read which I have no hesitation in recommending.

  23. 4 out of 5

    C.J. Milbrandt

    Lavender & Woods travel to a remote area to investigate the disappearance of a young heiress, only to be dragged into a tangled nest of cruel secrets and craftiness. All the elements of an elaborate historical mystery, deftly handled. I'll be reading more of Charlton's series.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Renee

    Entertaining historical British whodunnit. Kindle Unlimited read & listen "free."

  25. 5 out of 5

    J. Dorothy

    Intriguing plot with realistic characters and authentic setting. A great read. Thoroughly enjoyed every moment of this story. The writing is authentic to the time and adds to the overall atmosphere, making it feel like you are actually living the events in the early 1800's in the North English countryside. Detective Lavender and his partner, Woods, are great characters, that you trust immediately and are drawn into their world, as they work to solve the mystery of the missing heiress and in the pr Intriguing plot with realistic characters and authentic setting. A great read. Thoroughly enjoyed every moment of this story. The writing is authentic to the time and adds to the overall atmosphere, making it feel like you are actually living the events in the early 1800's in the North English countryside. Detective Lavender and his partner, Woods, are great characters, that you trust immediately and are drawn into their world, as they work to solve the mystery of the missing heiress and in the process uncover a whole treasure trove of secrets about the Carnaby family and some of the horrors of their past. Each page is cleverly crafted to entice, and endear the reader, to all the other characters, including the maid, Anna and the good folk of the local village, to the gypsies who live in the surrounding woods. I really had no idea how the mystery would unfold, with all the twists and turns, as past truths played a heavy role in future events. A truly thrilling read that held my attention from the start to finish. And characters that I now feel very involved with and would happily read more of. I especially have a keen interest in Detective Lavender and his love interest. I imagine the author has many more tales in store, and his story is far from finished. I would definitely be interested to read more in the future.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn

    I wasn't sure at the outset that I would like this book, set in England in 1809. The author's use of the common vernacular of the time put me off initially, but I came to appreciate her efforts to be realistic. London detective, Stephen Lavender, and his constable, Ned Woods, have accepted an assignment to search for a missing heiress in northern England. What a cast of characters they encounter along the way as they travel by coach and four, and when they arrive at their destination. This book I wasn't sure at the outset that I would like this book, set in England in 1809. The author's use of the common vernacular of the time put me off initially, but I came to appreciate her efforts to be realistic. London detective, Stephen Lavender, and his constable, Ned Woods, have accepted an assignment to search for a missing heiress in northern England. What a cast of characters they encounter along the way as they travel by coach and four, and when they arrive at their destination. This book has it all: the heiress's loving aunt and great-uncle who are trying to find her, the evil step-siblings who may or may not be involved with the disappearance, the colorful local folk who hang out at the tavern where Stephen and Ned are lodging, and even a band of gypsies thrown in. Lavender's investigative intellect reminds one of Sherlock Holmes, and Woods contributes to their efforts as well. I was able to predict some of this tale's ending, but not all of it. If you enjoy a period piece of intrigue, mystery, and some drama thrown in along the way, then you will enjoy this book. Although I was doubtful at the start, I rated this novel 4 stars and have already started the sequel, The Sans Pareil Mystery.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Marie

    Well, I'll say this: Ms. Charlton certainly knows her way around an adjective. Or six. Or sixteen. To wit: "Occasionally, they saw a derelict, roofless stone farmhouse or a mournful flock of bleating sheep dotting the barren hilltops. Stunted alder and oak trees stretched out their bare limbs, silhouetted against the frozen sun like sentinels of the last outpost." Yep. Just like that. For 264 pages. Including, I kid you not, an instance of "frustration burning in his stirring manhood." Thin on p Well, I'll say this: Ms. Charlton certainly knows her way around an adjective. Or six. Or sixteen. To wit: "Occasionally, they saw a derelict, roofless stone farmhouse or a mournful flock of bleating sheep dotting the barren hilltops. Stunted alder and oak trees stretched out their bare limbs, silhouetted against the frozen sun like sentinels of the last outpost." Yep. Just like that. For 264 pages. Including, I kid you not, an instance of "frustration burning in his stirring manhood." Thin on plot; heavy on melodrama. So once again, I am not the target audience - apparently for an entire genre. This bitterly ends my brief, painful, seemingly endless foray into "historical mysteries."

  28. 5 out of 5

    KA

    The first two chapters were full of nope.

  29. 4 out of 5

    J

    This poor little book...it reads like a high school essay and a spoof of detective novels all at once. I finished it, but it was painful.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Marilyn

    First, let me say...yay! First book I've finished in months! This is a solid 3.5 stars. Definitely itely worth the trouble, but nothing that knocked my socks off. Also, I listened to the audio and I think I may have had a hard time getting into had I not been reading the Audible because of the way she wrote the dialogue (and my unfamiliarity with that accent). This is a regency mystery complete with deadly intrigue, wealthy upper class, gypsies, interesting cultural tidbits, and a competent, comm First, let me say...yay! First book I've finished in months! This is a solid 3.5 stars. Definitely itely worth the trouble, but nothing that knocked my socks off. Also, I listened to the audio and I think I may have had a hard time getting into had I not been reading the Audible because of the way she wrote the dialogue (and my unfamiliarity with that accent). This is a regency mystery complete with deadly intrigue, wealthy upper class, gypsies, interesting cultural tidbits, and a competent, common-class detective who is better than the local gadgies, but not as smart as he likes to think he is. I enjoyed the mystery, even if it was pretty obvious (and I'm not great at guessing the solutions). There were some fun characters. I was not that impressed with Detective Lavendar, but his supporting cast helped him out. Although, (view spoiler)[poor Ms. Armstrong. I think she'd have been a better match for Lavendar than some hot-tempered hottie, but whatever (hide spoiler)] .

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