Author: Anya Wylde
Genre: Historical Mystery, Humor
Page Count: 224
Published: June 16, 2014
A murder and a theft have been committed at Rudhall Manor. A box of jewels has vanished and Lord Sedley, a lusty old aristocrat, has been stabbed six times in the chest.
It is all very mysterious, and the Sedley family and the servants have decided that Miss Lucy Anne Trotter, a recently employed governess, is to blame for the unfortunate events.
The legendary and wickedly handsome Marquis, Lord William Adair, learns of the matter and decides to uncover the truth.
Lucy, however, has little faith in blue blooded creatures—even if they possess dashing good looks— and, accompanied by two naughty pugs and a moody raven, decides to investigate and unmask the killer herself.
But the hunt for the killer turns out to be far more complicated than she anticipates—what with snooty servants, warts in odd places, mixed up love affairs, agitated chickens and dreadful disguises ruining her plans.
Soon she begins to wonder if, for once, she is in over her head….
Among the historical themed books I’ve read so far, I think no one does quirky characters like Anya Wylde. When I first read her Penelope, I thought she was too aloof for her period, but now that I’ve read Murder At Rudhall Manor I see that as a charming side to her heroines in general.
First of all, let me warn you if you’re getting into this story expecting a historical romance. Though we meet a few side characters with their own tangled relationships, and the undercurrent of a possible romance in the far future between Lucy and Lord Adair-they do seem like they’d make an adorable odd couple- this wasn’t a story revolved around any romance. In fact, for all its strangely charm, this was a murder mystery sprinkled with lots of quaint characters. Lucy, as the heroine, was a daydreaming, very creative young woman who liked to get lost in her own scenarios. Perhaps in another author’s hand she might’ve ended up annoying, but was pleasingly odd in Anya Wylde’s writing. I found her character to be very likable and definitely ahead of her time. She had a sense of humor I could appreciate and her monologues-we read the entire book from her perspective-very entertaining and engaging.
The rest of the characters, including Lord Adair, could only be side characters considering Lucy’s strong voice, but I liked reading them all the same. Lord Adair was the closest to rival Lucy’s odd charm, and from the first moment of his introduction to the last page we see him, he was surrounded by an interesting aura. In fact, I wouldn’t have minded reading his point of view also. His mind worked in tangles I believe, and the path he took in his head to solve the murder I would’ve loved to read in more detail.
The rest of the people in the book, from the lusty widow of the deceased lord of the manor to her two sons and daughter who had something to gain from his death, to the staff with their own agendas and different personalities, were fun to follow.
A light, fun mystery this book was, with its own set of quirky characters that I’m beginning to think are a specialty of this author. Without giving me time to dwell too much on anything, the story jumped from one creative scenario in Lucy’s head to another, in sync with the real life mystery that challenged Lucy’s ever working mind. Those who enjoy a good ol’ whodunit would definitely like this one. Plus, the cover is a joy to look at, it certainly reflects what you get in the book.
I’m adding four spoonfuls of this charming story into my hodgepodge and wish there would be more murder mystery adventures of Lucy and Lord Adair. I think they’d make an excellent crime solving duo.
Other titles by Anya Wylde:
- Penelope (Fairweather sisters #1)
- The Wicked Wager
- Ever After