Death Comes to Kurland Hall by Catherine Lloyd

death-comes-to-kurland-hallDeath Comes to Kurland Hall by Catherine Lloyd
Series: Kurland St. Mary Mystery series #3
Genre: Historical Mystery
Setting: Kurland St. Mary in rural England, 1817
Published by Kensington, 2015
Library book
281 pages
Grade: B+
Synopsis: As wedding bells chime in Kurland St. Mary, a motley group of visitors descends on the village—and with a murderer on the prowl, some of them may not be returning home…

Lucy Harrington has returned to Kurland St. Mary to help with her friend Sophia Giffin’s wedding. But her homecoming is made disagreeable by the presence of Major Robert Kurland, whose bungled proposal has ruffled Lucy’s composure, and a meddling widow who has designs on her father, the village rector.

Wary of the cloying Mrs. Chingsford from the start, Lucy has doubts about the busybody’s intentions with her father. But everyone else seems to think they make an ideal match—until the courtship is curtailed when Mrs. Chingsford is found dead at the bottom of a staircase. It’s clear that it wasn’t an accident, and in hopes of finding the culprit, Lucy and Robert call a truce and begin scrutinizing the wedding guests.

But the widow left behind plenty of enemies, and when one of them is the next to turn up dead, Lucy and Robert discover that the truth is far more scandalous than anyone could have imagined…

How was she supposed to deal with someone who asked the most outrageous questions with a smile on her face? She could only pray her father wouldn’t be taken in by the sweetness for too long before he discovered the sour underneath. But then men often seemed incapable of seeing much at all. . . .

and

There was a bitter sound to her words, but Lucy couldn’t blame her. Unwanted or unwed female relatives had very few options if their menfolk died.

Initial impressions

  • I love the characters in these books. The mysteries are good, too!

The story

  • Lucy returns to Kurland St. Mary to help her friend Sophia with her wedding. Sophia found someone to love in London, but Lucy didn’t have any proposals that suited her.
  • Guests begin to arrive for the wedding and since it’s a small village some guests stay at the vicarage.
  • It turns out the guests at the vicarage are Mrs. Chingford and her daughters. Lucy’s father knew Mrs. Chingford when they were both younger and he is pleased to see her again. Lucy hopes he’s not taken in by her.
  • Mrs. Chingford seems to know lots of gossip about the wedding guests and enjoys confronting people. However, Lucy’s father is enamored and announces his engagement to Mrs. Chingford.
  • When Mrs. Chingford falls down a staircase Lucy and Robert declare a truce and try to discover if this was an accident or a murder.

Pluses

  • Before I read the second book I saw that this book is about a wedding and, of course, I thought it would be Lucy and Robert’s wedding!
  • Lucy is happy to be back in her village. She didn’t like London very much, but she’s also sad she didn’t find a suitor in London.
  • Lucy and Robert declare a truce to their annoyance with each other to try to figure out how Mrs. Chingford died.
  • I like the mystery in this book as well as the wedding preparations.
  • We get to know more about several characters from earlier books and see more about their lives and motivations.
  • I do like the bits of romance in these books. I also like that these are more than the romance and that I like the characters a lot.
  • I like Lucy who is outspoken and a “managing” female. Robert is often impatient and always seems to say the wrong thing to Lucy. However, there’s some chemistry there and I hope they discover it soon!

Minuses

  • Sometimes the banter and insults between Lucy and Robert goes on too long. However, I do enjoy them and the story so I don’t let that bother me too much.

And concluding thoughts . . .

  • The fourth book in the series–Death Comes to the Fair–comes out in November 2016. I’m looking forward to reading it.

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

Author info

  • (from Goodreads): “Catherine Lloyd was born just outside London, England, into a large family of dreamers, artists, and history lovers. She completed her education with a master’s degree in history at the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth, and uses the skills she gained there to research and write her historical mysteries. Catherine currently lives in Hawaii with her husband and youngest daughter.. ”

Reading Challenges

Death Comes to London by Catherine Lloyd

death-comes-to-londonDeath Comes to London by Catherine Lloyd
Series: Kurland St.Mary series #2
Genre: Historical Mystery
Setting: London and Kurland St. Mary in England, 1817
Published by Kensington, 2014
Library book
259 pages
Grade: B+
Synopsis: A season in London promises a welcome change of pace for two friends from the village of Kurland St. Mary until murder makes a debut. With the reluctant blessings of their father, the rector of Kurland St. Mary, Lucy Harrington and her sister Anna leave home for a social season in London. At the same time, Lucy’s special friend Major Robert Kurland is summoned to the city to accept a baronetcy for his wartime heroism.

Amidst the dizzying whirl of balls and formal dinners, the focus shifts from mixing and matchmaking to murder when the dowager Countess of Broughton, the mother of an old army friend of Robert, drops dead. When it’s revealed she’s been poisoned, Robert’s former betrothed, Miss Chingford, is accused, and she in turn points a finger at Anna. To protect her sister, Lucy enlists Robert’s aid in drawing out the true culprit.

But with suspects ranging from resentful rivals and embittered family members to the toast of the ton, it will take all their sleuthing skills to unmask the poisoner before more trouble is stirred up.

London was far more tiring and intimidating than Lucy had expected. As the Hathaways had engaged an extremely competent staff, she also had very little to do, which was disconcerting in itself. Apparently, living like a young lady at home was remarkably boring.

and

His assumption that the accumulated wisdom of generations of women was untrustworthy was slightly annoying, but not uncommon in this age of new science. Apparently, in order to be considered worthy, everything had to be proved anew. It seemed ridiculous to her. If willow bark cured a headache, and had done so for centuries, then why would one suddenly doubt it? It was typical of men to rewrite something just for the sake of it.

Initial impressions

  • The second book in this series continued to make me laugh sometimes and read quickly through the suspenseful parts.

The story

  • This book begins a few months after the end of the first book.
  • Lucy Harrington and her sister Anna leave for London for the season in hopes of finding husbands.
  • Much to his dismay Major Robert Kurland is summoned to London to receive a baronetcy for his heroism in the war.
  • They are all at Almack’s when a dowager Countess suddenly collapses and dies. It looks like poison and Major Kurland and Lucy Harrington again work together to solve the mystery.

Pluses

  • I read the first book in this series late last year and enjoyed the story and characters a lot.
  • The London setting is well done and though Lucy would like to find someone to marry she isn’t very happy to be in London. She finds it boring–at least until a murder happens–and she misses the countryside.
  • I like the characters in this series–Lucy, Robert, Anna, Sophia (Lucy’s friend)–even Robert’s former betrothed, Miss Chingford, is interesting and irritating at the same time.
  • There’s some romance in the book since Lucy, Anna and Sophia are in London all trying to find husbands. Of course, after the first book I expected Lucy and Robert to finally wake up and discover each other, but though they make some progress I wondered when or if it  would happen!

Minuses

  • Major Kurland comes across as curmudgeonly and ill-mannered sometimes in this book–especially in his interactions with Lucy. He doesn’t understand that spending so much time with her might ruin her chances of finding a husband.

And concluding thoughts . . .

  • I had the third book in the series and I’ve already read it, too. I hope she writes a fourth book very soon!

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

Author info

  • (from Goodreads): Catherine Lloyd was born just outside London, England, into a large family of dreamers, artists, and history lovers. She completed her education with a master’s degree in history at the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth, and uses the skills she gained there to research and write her historical mysteries. Catherine currently lives in Hawaii with her husband and youngest daughter….

Reading Challenges