Friday Reads: A Lady’s Guide to Etiquette and Murder

“Friday Reads” is a weekly blog written by reference librarian Faith Lee about great books, magazines, and the occasional reference work.  Topics may be new titles added to the library, selections from the Staff Picks shelf or about something she recently read.  Admittedly, there is a definite slant toward nonfiction, because, well, she’s a reference librarian and likes to learn new things.  Guest bloggers take a turn sometimes too.  No matter the source, good reads are featured here. 

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 This Friday Reads is a slight departure from my usual fare.  The other day I was scanning a cart of new books and a fun looking book cover caught my eye.  With a purple background and a tongue in cheek drawing of a Victorian couple on the cover, A Lady’s Guide to Etiquette and Murder, seemed like just the thing to chill out with after a hot and hectic month.  I didn’t even bother to read the summary or beyond the first blurb on the back.  Since New York Times bestselling author Rhys Bowen called it “A delightful tale of shenanigans among the British aristocracy.” that was enough for me.

And indeed it was delightful.  Debut author Dianne Freeman captured the era well – exposing the absurdities in aristocratic etiquette.  Her characters were enjoyable and the plot was fun in this cozy mystery.

Did you know cozy mysteries or cozies are terms book mavens use to describe a particular type of mystery?  They are easy reads featuring everyday people following clues to solve a neighborhood crime, enlisting the help of neighbors, relatives or friends.  Often set in small towns or attractive locales, there is no sex, violence or grave danger.  They are very popular with readers who enjoy puzzles and seeing the average joe succeed, because all of the mysteries are successfully solved, of course!

If you were a fan of the exceedingly popular PBS TV series Downton Abbey, then this book might remind you of the witty retorts often employed in the show and of a few episodes featuring Lady Mary and one of her lovers who dies in her bed.  I won’t go any further, except to say this book is lighter and more amusing than the TV show.

This is Dianne Freeman’s first book, after a career in corporate finance, and I am happy to see that she is working on another “Countess of Harleigh Mystery”.  I look forward to that and hopefully many more.  If you are a fan of Agatha Christie or Georgette Heyer, then Dianne Freeman will likely appeal to you too.  Look for A Lady’s Guide to Etiquette and Murder on the Staff Picks shelf … and be sure to look closely at the cover.

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