Book Review

‘Murder Most Malicious’ by Alyssa Maxwell

mmm amSTORY: In post–World War I England, Lady Phoebe Renshaw and her lady’s maid, Eva Huntford, step outside of their social roles and put their lives at risk to apprehend a vicious killer. . .

December 1918: As a difficult year draws to a close, there is much to celebrate for nineteen-year-old Phoebe Renshaw and her three siblings at their beloved family estate of Foxwood Hall. The dreadful war is finally over; eldest daughter Julia’s engagement to their houseguest, the Marquis of Allerton, appears imminent; and all have gathered to enjoy peace on earth, good will toward men.

But the peace of Foxwood Hall is shattered on the morning of Boxing Day, when the Marquis goes missing. Not entirely missing, however, as macabre evidence of foul play turns up in gift boxes given to lady’s maid Eva Huntford and a handful of others. Having overheard her sister and the Marquis in a heated exchange the night before, Lady Phoebe takes a personal interest in solving the mystery.

As the local constable suspects a footman at Foxwood Hall, Phoebe and Eva follow the clues to a different conclusion. But both young women will need to think outside the box to wrap up this case–before a cornered killer lashes out with ill will toward them. . .

REVIEW: December – 1918 – Foxwood Hall

Phoebe Renshaw lives at Foxwood Hall with her two sisters, one brother and her grandparents. The siblings’ parents have passed away leaving their grandparents to raise them. Christmas Day has been celebrated when Phoebe overhears Henry Leighton, the Marquess of Ellerton, threaten her sister, Julia. An engagement is expected between Henry and Julia so Phoebe is shocked by this altercation.

The next day, Boxing Day, the downstairs members of the household have the afternoon off and get to take their Christmas boxes with them. Eva Huntford serves as maid to the Renshaw sisters and has gone to her parents’ house with her box. When she opens it, she is shocked at what is inside – a finger. Back at Foxwood Hall, there are other servants who received the same type of shock from their boxes. When Henry Leighton goes missing, everyone assumes that the digits are from him and the police are called in. Thus begins the questioning of everyone in the house, both upstairs and downstairs in hopes of finding what has happened to Leighton.

Phoebe is a very intelligent young woman and she and her maid, Eva, team up to try and solve the mystery.

There are numerous members of the household and we get to know each of them. While several could have had a motive to harm Leighton, proving it becomes difficult.

This is a pretty good story but as I read it, I felt at times that it was a bit contrived to be a good mystery. I have read the author’s other books and have enjoyed them very much. I’m sure that others will like this book.

Connie for b2b


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