Another Review at MyShelf.Com

Death Below Stairs
Below Stairs Mystery #1
Jennifer Ashley

January 2, 2018/ ISBN 978-0-399-58551-7

Reviewed by Laura Hinds

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 Kat Holloway

Reviewed 2018