by Sandra Murphy
Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of A Gentlewoman’s Guide to Murder. There is also a link to purchase it Amazon, and an indie bookstore where a portion of the sale goes to help support KRL.
Emmaline St. Germaine appears to be a genteel single woman, a spinster. Her brother controls her inheritance, she lives in the town house he owns, her cousin Fidelity, is her chaperone/companion. For those who like a life of boredom, waited on by servants and constrained by what’s expected, it’s a good life. Emmaline wants more.
In Regency London, it takes duplicity to dodge a butler who reports on her behavior to her brother. Emmaline has a secret life and is determined to maintain it. She is the Avengeress—and the Rogue. The Rogue writes a column for The Prattler, a notorious newspaper. The Avengeress, with the help of like-minded ladies, rescues scullery maids who are sexually abused by their masters.
So far, the rescues have gone smoothly. That changes on the night she goes to Sir Henry’s house and finds the knight half undressed. She’s forced to confront him instead of whisking the girl away. The next morning, Sir Henry’s body is found, throat slit and dead for hours.
The police and public both assume the Rogue knows more than is being told and that the Avengeress not only took the child but also escaped with the household silver and then returned to kill the master. Emmaline will have to be nimble to avoid discovery of her true identity.
This is the first in a new series, set in London, in 1810. Men controlled everything from what was spent, where women could go, who they could see, and who they had to marry. Children as young as ten were apprenticed out for jobs—if they had a benefactor to sponsor (pay for) them. Those who didn’t cleaned the streets behind the horse drawn carriages, were chimney sweeps, ran errands, or stole from those who had anything worth stealing.
While the topic of the book is depressing, it’s inspiring to see Emmaline and her friends make a change, at least in the lives of some of the children. In order to conceal her secret identities, Emmaline investigates who killed Sir Henry. It’ not an easy task. Each clue leads to another until she finds an answer that will challenge her thinking and change her life.
Emmaline is a strong woman, a bit hot-headed, a bit too free with her protests of the way things are. As the book ends, she’s faced with an even bigger challenge. Will she be able to meet it? Readers will look forward to book two to find out. My money’s on Emmaline.
To enter to win a copy of A Gentlewoman’s Guide to Murder, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “guide,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen March 16, 2019. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address (so if you win we can get the book sent right out to you), and if via comment please include your email address. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.
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