Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Death Sits Down to Dinner Blog Tour and Review

02_Death Sits Down to Dinner

Death Sits Down to Dinner (Lady Montfort Mystery #2) by Tessa Arlen

Publication Date: March 29, 2016
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Hardcover & Ebook; 320 Pages
Genre: Historical Mystery
Source: Publisher via NetGalley for an honest review

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 Filled with deceptions both real and imagined, Death Sits Down to Dinner is a delightful Edwardian mystery set in London.

Lady Montfort is thrilled to receive an invitation to a dinner party hosted by her close friend Hermione Kingsley, the patroness of England’s largest charity. Hermione has pulled together a select gathering to celebrate Winston Churchill’s 39th birthday. Some of the oldest families in the country have gathered to toast the dangerously ambitious and utterly charming First Lord of the Admiralty. But when the dinner ends, one of the gentlemen remains seated at the table, head down among the walnut shells littering the cloth and a knife between his ribs.

 Summoned from Iyntwood, Mrs. Jackson helps her mistress trace the steps of suspects both upstairs and downstairs as Hermione’s household prepares to host a highly anticipated charity event. Determined to get to the bottom of things, Lady Montfort and Mrs. Jackson unravel the web of secrecy surrounding the bright whirlwind of London society, investigating the rich, well-connected and seeming do-gooders in a race against time to stop the murderer from striking again.  



Advance Praise

“Despite Clementine’s luxurious lifestyle, she’s got a head on her shoulders . . .and is as cagey as she is charming. A neatly crafted whodunit dripping with diamonds, titles and scandal . . .” -Kirkus Reviews

 “The close, mutually respectful partnership between Clementine and Edith will remind Dorothy Sayers’s fans of the relationship between Lord Peter Wimsey and Bunter, his manservant. Arlen does a good job of depicting a period when class distinctions have become blurred by new money and more-relaxed manners. The plot, which includes a slew of red herrings, builds to a startling denouement.” -Publisher’s Weekly

 “VERDICT Real-life Edwardian personalities abound in this period historical, and the upstairs/downstairs focus delivers a clash of temperaments. This title is bound to appeal to fans of historicals set in this period and of such authors as Rhys Bowen and Ashley Weaver.” -Library Journal  

My Take:

When I was presented with the opportunity to read and review Death Sits Down to Dinner by Tessa Arlen, I jumped at the chance because I so thoroughly enjoyed the first book in the Lady Montfort Mysteries, Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman.  

Once again, Tessa Arlen succeeds in capturing my interest early in the book and keeping it throughout the novel. Instead of the country, this novel takes place in London at Montfort House and at Hermione Kingsley's London house. The big party is in honor of Winston Churchill, whom Lord Montfort cannot stand, so that made for an interesting and amusing episode. That is to say, it was amusing  until someone gets murdered during the entertainment. This crime sets Lady Montfort on a quest for more information about everyone and everything associated with the event. Despite the wishes of her husband, Lady Montfort just can't help herself when it comes to solving murders. She enlists her trusted Jackson to come up from Iyntwood to help with the fundraiser that Hermione Kingsley puts on each year and also- mostly- to help her solve the murder. 

I really like this duo of Lady Montfort and Jackson - they are so good together and while maintaining all rules of decorum and station, they have a close and mutually beneficial relationship.  I was completely caught up in the descriptions of Edwardian London life among the aristocracy and the efforts to solve the mystery itself. I enjoyed the depiction of Churchill and the others in Lady Montfort's social group. There are so many interesting characters and social situations and complicated relationships. 

Once again, I was unable to guess who the murderer was before the reveal - and while I did hazard a guess about some other things that occurred, I was still surprised and enjoyed the whole reveal sequence. 

The Lady Montfort Mysteries are at the top of what I call my "Comfort Reads" list -- books that I read to calm my nerves and to revel in the descriptions of the houses, furnishings, clothes, and mostly the manners. 

As with Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman, I will be strongly recommending Death Sits Down to Dinner to anyone who will listen to me. I think that both books will appeal to anyone who enjoys a good historical mystery, Edwardian England,  or Downton Abbey.

About the Author

02_Tessa ArlenTESSA 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.  

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, March 28
Review at Laura's Interests
Interview at Books and Benches

Tuesday, March 29
Review at A Book Geek
Interview at Historical Fiction Addicts

Wednesday, March 30
Interview at AustenProse

Thursday, March 31
Review at Buried Under Books
Spotlight & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More

Friday, April 1
Review at Reading Is My SuperPower

Monday, April 4
Review at Reading the Past
Spotlight at Seize the Words: Books in Review

Tuesday, April 5
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Wednesday, April 6
Review at Luxury Reading

Thursday, April 7
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Friday, April 8
Review at A Holland Reads

Monday, April 11
Review at The Absurd Book Nerd

Tuesday, April 12
Interview at The Absurd Book Nerd

Wednesday, April 13
Review at Room With Books

Thursday, April 14
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation

Friday, April 15
Review at Jorie Loves a Story

Monday, April 18
Review at Beth's Book Nook Blog

Tuesday, April 19
Review at CelticLady's Reviews

Wednesday, April 20
Review at History From a Woman's Perspective

Thursday, April 21
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Friday, April 22
Spotlight at Let Them Read Books

Monday, April 25
Review & Giveaway at Brooke Blogs

Tuesday, April 26
Review at Book Nerd

Wednesday, April 27
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Friday, April 29
Review at To Read, Or Not to Read

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