Thursday, February 5, 2015

HFVBT: Tessa Arlen's Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman - Review and {Giveaway}

My thoughts
What a delight this book was! It's Downton Abbey meets Miss Marple, for lack of a better comparison. Clearly, Lady Montfort is no Miss Marple. However, the tone of the book and the mystery, plus the partnership of Lady Montfort and Mrs. Jackson, hearkens to Miss Marple's methods of solving a mystery, or perhaps Sherlock and Dr. Watson's. I like historical mysteries like this, where everyone is a suspect, and the reader is kept guessing until the end. I really did not suspect who the murderer turned out to be at all.

Mystery aside, I was impressed with the author's authenticity for the time period and the ins and outs of the upstairs/downstairs culture. While it was refreshing that Lady Montfort would co-conspire with her housekeeper to solve the murder, the discomfort Mrs. Jackson first felt from the overstepping of the boundary between servant and mistress was palpable. Fortunately, discomfort is soon swept aside for some top notch sleuthing, especially on Mrs. Jackson's part, and we have the makings of a first class mystery solving duo. I wonder what mystery they will solve in the next book? I can't wait to find out.

If you're a fan of mysteries along the lines of Agatha Christie, or perhaps P.D. James, and also a fan of Downton Abbey, you will especially like this book. Truly a great debut novel. I look forward to the continuation of the series.

About the book
Publication Date: January 6, 2015
Minotaur Books
Formats: eBook, Hardcover
Genre: Historical Mystery

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Lady Montfort has been planning her annual summer costume ball for months, and with scrupulous care. Pulling together the food, flowers and a thousand other details for one of the most significant social occasions of the year is her happily accepted responsibility. But when her husband’s degenerate nephew is found murdered, it’s more than the ball that is ruined. In fact, Lady Montfort fears that the official police enquiry, driven by petty snobbery and class prejudice, is pointing towards her son as a potential suspect.

Taking matters into her own hands, the rather over-imaginative countess enlists the help of her pragmatic housekeeper, Mrs. Jackson, to investigate the case, track down the women that vanished the night of the murder, and clear her son’s name. As the two women search for a runaway housemaid and a headstrong young woman, they unearth the hidden lives of Lady Montfort’s close friends, servants and family and discover the identity of a murderer hiding in plain sight.

In this enchanting debut sure to appeal to fans of Downton Abbey, Tessa Arlen draws readers into a world exclusively enjoyed by the rich, privileged classes and suffered by the men and women who serve them. Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman is an elegant mystery filled with intriguing characters and fascinating descriptions of Edwardian life—a superb treat for those who love British novels.

A Party for Winston, the second book in the series to be released in January 2016.

Praise for Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman
“Tessa Arlen has a worthy debut with Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman. With a deliciously gruesome murder and an unlikely pair of sleuths, this is a treat for fans of Downton Abbey who will want to devour it with a nice steaming pot of Earl Grey.” —New York Times bestselling author Deanna Raybourn

“In her debut novel, Tessa Arlen weaves an evocative tale of the passions, loyalties and ambitions that divide and unite two classes, upstairs and downstairs, in a stately home. She instantly transports the reader to Edwardian England.”—Christine Trent, author of Stolen Remains

“A dash of noblesse oblige sparkles between the upstairs/downstairs world of Lady Montfort and her housekeeper, Mrs. Jackson, as they work together to unmask the identity of a killer at large on the Montfort’s country estate. As sharp as a Nancy Mitford novel, Tessa Arlen’s sophisticated Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman deserves its place among the Great and the Good of classic mystery.”—Lyndsy Spence, founder of The Mitford Society and author of The Mitford Girls’ Guide to Life.

“Thoroughly enchanting. Arlen’s debut will appeal to fans of Downton Abbey, with its vivid descriptions, firm grip on the intricacies of the time period, and skilled portrayal of the often complicated relationship between upstairs and downstairs.” —Anna Lee Huber, author of the Lady Darby mystery series

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About the Author
TESSA ARLEN, the daughter of a British diplomat, had lived in or visited her parents in Singapore, Cairo, Berlin, the Persian Gulf, Beijing, Delhi and Warsaw by the time she was sixteen. She came to the U.S. in 1980 and worked as an H.R. recruiter for the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee for the 1984 Olympic Games, where she interviewed her future husband for a job. DEATH OF A DISHONORABLE GENTLEMAN is Tessa’s first novel. She lives in Bainbridge Island, Washington.

For more information please visit Tessa Arlen’s website. Read Tessa Arlen’s blog at Redoubtable Edwardians. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Subscribe to Tessa Arlen’s Newsletter.

Visit other blogs on the tour--Tour Schedule
Twitter Hashtag: #DishonorableGentlemanBlogTour #HistoricalMystery #HistFic
Twitter Tags: @hfvbt @MinotaurBooks @TessaArlen

Follow the instructions on the Gleam form below to enter for a chance to win a paperback copy of Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman by Tessa Arlen! (Open to U.S. only)

Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman

A copy of this book was sent to me in exchange for an honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for providing it.


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Thank you for visiting and taking the time to comment. It means so much.

I apologize for word verification, but as soon as I changed the settings from only users with Google accounts, I started receiving a ton of spam comments...within one hour of changing the settings. The bots are on high alert apparently.

  1. I've turned my grandmother into a reading fiend. I think she'd love this one, so I'm entering for her LOL :)

  2. Yes, I'm a Downton Abbey fan. My favorite character is Mrs. Hughes. Thanks for the giveaway offer! The book sounds like fun.

  3. I absolutely love Agatha Christie novels and Downton Abbey. It's been a long time since I've read Agatha Christie so I can't remember a specific character, but And Then There Were None was my introduction to Christie and her fantastic mysteries :). And my favorite Downton character is Mrs. Hughes, by far! She takes CONTROL!

  4. Agatha Christie Novels are captivating and wonderful. I am an avid fan of Downton Abbey and have watched since the beginning and enjoy it greatly. My favorite character is Lady Mary since she is real. Thanks for this feature.

  5. DA's Mrs Hughes is my favorite, too.

  6. I have read Agatha Christie novels but it's been a while. I have not seen Downtown Abbey

  7. I am a fan of Downton Abbey, and for subconscious reasons beyond my explanation, I always find myself sympathetic to Lady Mary. Yeah, I don't know what that's about really. I'm so excited to read this book. Thank you for making a free copy available to us! Cheers, Kara S

  8. The reviews have been wonderful on this book. I can't wait to read it. Thanks for your review. Follow bloglovin as Carol Luciano.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

  9. I could see myself liking this one.

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