In 1881 London, Kat Holloway has
just started a new position at the cook in a Mayfair mansion.
Lord Rankin's household is a busy one. Kat would be fine with
that until she learns that the Lord takes advantage of young
ladies in his employ. She refuses to let the kitchen maid
Sinead (known as Ellen to the household) bring his after-dinner
coffee up once she sees the fear on the young woman's face.
Instead, Kat delivers the coffee herself and is stunned to
find her friend Daniel McAdam in Lord Rankin's office!
Later that night Sinead/Ellen is brutally murdered and Kat
doesn't trust Lord Rankin or the local constables to get to
the truth of the crime. She sends for Daniel and he finds
a way to get a job on the inside so he can hunt for the killer
while keeping an eye on Kat. Lord Rankin's sister-in-law,
Lady Cynthia, is also assisting them and it comes to light
that the maid's murder is part of a plot that runs much deeper.
It goes as far as a threat to Queen Victoria.
This is a compelling historical mystery which drew me in
right away. The characters and details of the time and place
are well-researched and felt authentic. I enjoyed getting
to know Kat and Daniel, and to begin to understand the nuances
of life in a time where the lives upstairs and downstairs
are separate and yet intersect in some surprising ways. Lady
Cynthia is perhaps the most intriguing character, aside from
Kat, of course, and I look forward to more installments in
this new series.
Reviewers Note: A Soupcon of Poison is a novella introducing