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A Gentlewoman's Guide to Murder

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"[An] outstanding series launch. ... Hamilton expertly balances the page-turning detection with the story of a hypocritical society where women, whether they are scullery maids or orphans, rarely get to make their own decisions."—Publishers Weekly (starred review) Scandal and slayings among Regency London's elite The shocking murder of Sir Henry Claybourne leaves Regency "[An] outstanding series launch. ... Hamilton expertly balances the page-turning detection with the story of a hypocritical society where women, whether they are scullery maids or orphans, rarely get to make their own decisions."—Publishers Weekly (starred review) Scandal and slayings among Regency London's elite The shocking murder of Sir Henry Claybourne leaves Regency London shaken and horror-struck. But for genteel spinster Miss Emmeline St. Germaine, the crime slices far too close to home. Just hours before the knight's death she held a dagger to him, threatening him to stay silent as she rescued a scullery maid he had procured for his pleasure. Did the man—or woman—who murdered the knight know of her visit? Her secret identity at risk, her reputation and life in jeopardy, Emmeline must solve the crime or face scandalous exposure and ruination, or worse—the hangman's noose—for a crime she did not commit. "Hamilton's novel will appeal to fans of Anne Perry's Charlotte and Pitt mysteries."—Booklist "A simply riveting and compulsive page-turner of a read from cover to cover. A deftly scripted mystery with more twists and turns than a Coney Island roller coaster."—Midwest Book Review


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"[An] outstanding series launch. ... Hamilton expertly balances the page-turning detection with the story of a hypocritical society where women, whether they are scullery maids or orphans, rarely get to make their own decisions."—Publishers Weekly (starred review) Scandal and slayings among Regency London's elite The shocking murder of Sir Henry Claybourne leaves Regency "[An] outstanding series launch. ... Hamilton expertly balances the page-turning detection with the story of a hypocritical society where women, whether they are scullery maids or orphans, rarely get to make their own decisions."—Publishers Weekly (starred review) Scandal and slayings among Regency London's elite The shocking murder of Sir Henry Claybourne leaves Regency London shaken and horror-struck. But for genteel spinster Miss Emmeline St. Germaine, the crime slices far too close to home. Just hours before the knight's death she held a dagger to him, threatening him to stay silent as she rescued a scullery maid he had procured for his pleasure. Did the man—or woman—who murdered the knight know of her visit? Her secret identity at risk, her reputation and life in jeopardy, Emmeline must solve the crime or face scandalous exposure and ruination, or worse—the hangman's noose—for a crime she did not commit. "Hamilton's novel will appeal to fans of Anne Perry's Charlotte and Pitt mysteries."—Booklist "A simply riveting and compulsive page-turner of a read from cover to cover. A deftly scripted mystery with more twists and turns than a Coney Island roller coaster."—Midwest Book Review

30 review for A Gentlewoman's Guide to Murder

  1. 4 out of 5

    N.N. Light

    This was so delicious, I savored every word. If you like historical mystery, pick this up right now! Highly recommend! My Rating: 5 starts Reviewed by: Mrs. N

  2. 5 out of 5

    Ashley Cate

    A Gentlewoman's Guide to Murder is the first book in a new historical mystery series by Victoria Hamilton. Previous books that I read by Victoria Hamilton were all cozy mysteries (some of the Vintage Kitchen mysteries and the Merry Muffin mystery series) and I really enjoyed those books so I thought I would give her new historical mystery series a shot. I am a big fan of historical mysteries usually, with Victoria Thompson and Rhys Bowen as two of my favorite authors, so I thought I would probab A Gentlewoman's Guide to Murder is the first book in a new historical mystery series by Victoria Hamilton. Previous books that I read by Victoria Hamilton were all cozy mysteries (some of the Vintage Kitchen mysteries and the Merry Muffin mystery series) and I really enjoyed those books so I thought I would give her new historical mystery series a shot. I am a big fan of historical mysteries usually, with Victoria Thompson and Rhys Bowen as two of my favorite authors, so I thought I would probably enjoy A Gentlewoman's Guide to Murder. I did enjoy the book but not as well as I expected I would. The book starts off strong with Emmeline donning her Avengeress role and rescuing a scullery maid that is about to be raped by the Head of the Household Sir Henry Claybourne. After threatening Sir Henry, Emmeline takes the scullery maid and leaves with the knight very much still alive. Shockingly, Sir Henry is found murdered the next morning and the press quickly latches on to the idea that the Avengeress was the one that killed him. In order to save herself from being found guilty of a murder she did not commit, Emmeline begins investigating. The premise behind the story was fascinating and I got really invested in the story very quickly. However, I felt that the plot really slowed down midway through the book and it made for some difficult reading at times. It also grew tiring to hear repeatedly about the main character's anti monarchist sentiments, her fury at having to hide her true thoughts and feelings when she is polite company, and her seeming distrust of any male that came into contact with her. I understand that the author wanted to stress how women were treated during the Regency period in London and how different her main character was from most other noble women of that time period, but it grew a bit tiring to be reminded continually of this throughout the story. I thought the mystery overall was well done and I was happy with the way the author resolved the mystery and the niggling doubts that both Emmeline and her maid Gillies had about the resolution. I am interested to see where the author takes this series in the next book. I recommend this book if you enjoy a good historical mystery. A note of warning that this book is not a cozy mystery in that it deals with violence, rape, and prostitution of children. The mature themes did not bother me but I would not advise reading the book if you think you would be bothered by these themes.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Barbara Monajem

    This mystery takes place in 1810 and centers around the sexual abuse of young girls. It also deals with the subjugation of women (which I suspect will continue to be a central topic if the heroine, Emmeline St. Germaine, blazes her way through more stories in the series). She’s incredibly fiery and brave and determined, and she keeps on fighting abuse and injustice through the many twists and turns of the story, as more and more ghastly stuff is revealed. Not an easy read but definitely a worthw This mystery takes place in 1810 and centers around the sexual abuse of young girls. It also deals with the subjugation of women (which I suspect will continue to be a central topic if the heroine, Emmeline St. Germaine, blazes her way through more stories in the series). She’s incredibly fiery and brave and determined, and she keeps on fighting abuse and injustice through the many twists and turns of the story, as more and more ghastly stuff is revealed. Not an easy read but definitely a worthwhile one.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kayt18

    An interesting historical mystery. Dealing with some very sensitive subjects with a gentle hand, yet giving it the strength it needs. Not for the faint of heart or too sensitive. Great new series

  5. 5 out of 5

    Gloria

    This pleasing mystery transports readers to London in 1810. While gentle in tone throughout, there is nevertheless a timeless disturbing crime against women at its core, i.e., human trafficking. Emmeline is part of a secret group of society women who are determined to defend girls as young as 10 who are being removed from orphanages under the guise of being given work as scullery maids. After a successful rescue, the master of the house is found murdered. Thus begins an urgent ever-widening searc This pleasing mystery transports readers to London in 1810. While gentle in tone throughout, there is nevertheless a timeless disturbing crime against women at its core, i.e., human trafficking. Emmeline is part of a secret group of society women who are determined to defend girls as young as 10 who are being removed from orphanages under the guise of being given work as scullery maids. After a successful rescue, the master of the house is found murdered. Thus begins an urgent ever-widening search for the murderer. Some minor changes would have helped strengthen the story a bit. The author keeps summarizing what the reader knows at each stop in the puzzle. Emmeline will talk to one friend and summarize the facts and then talk to another friend and do it all again. Perhaps each character needed to be brought up to speed, but the reader frankly did not. There were times when it really felt like this was a contemporary novel about human trafficking and then the author remembered the voice and setting are 1810. Author points out the restrictions on women's day-to-day freedoms but Emmeline goes her own way a lot without discovery and arrives at places quite quickly which just would not have been the case back then. Finally, it would seem that just about every man is an abuser, and every woman had been abused. A stretch? One great value of this book is highlighting how far women have come in terms of gaining the rights to manage their own finances, choosing who to wed or not marrying at all, using their own name to publicly write, and more. This is more Sherlock Holmes-like rather than leaning toward suspense or thriller. The conclusion clearly leads to another book in the series, so fans will enjoy.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Eileen Lynx

    The characters did not act like characters of that time would have acted.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Patti

    I didn't like the subject matter of this book, but got too far before I realized how much the orphan girls being set-up to work for the wealthy, but for wealthy homes that had wealthy men who wanted to rape them. I finished it, but maybe I shouldn't have. As a historical, one could tell that it was set in the past, but there was not enough information (for me) to establish it as Regency, or even post Regency.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Mary Steinbrink

    This book is nothing like the wonderful cozy mysteries this author usually writes. I found it disturbing and wish I hadn't read it. I wish I had known it wasn't a historical cozy.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Katreader

    A GENTLEWOMAN'S GUIDE TO MURDER by Victoria Hamilton The First Gentlewoman's Guide to Murder Regency England may be remembered for its romances and lovely people living a life of frivolity and indulgence. But, that was the life of members of the ton. In reality, life was harder and much darker, especially for those on the lowest rungs of the service ladder. Miss Emmeline St. Germaine is a woman with a mission, as well as a double, if not triple, life. In public she's a proper, if unmarried woman. A GENTLEWOMAN'S GUIDE TO MURDER by Victoria Hamilton The First Gentlewoman's Guide to Murder Regency England may be remembered for its romances and lovely people living a life of frivolity and indulgence. But, that was the life of members of the ton. In reality, life was harder and much darker, especially for those on the lowest rungs of the service ladder. Miss Emmeline St. Germaine is a woman with a mission, as well as a double, if not triple, life. In public she's a proper, if unmarried woman. As The Rogue, she writes articles for a newspaper, bringing light to scandalous gossip and social injustices. But her most dangerous role is that of The Avengeress, who ventures out to save young girls and boys from abuse. After rescuing a young maid about to be raped by her employer, she's stunned when the man is found brutally slaughtered the next morning. With the majority of the public blaming The Avengeress, Emmeline determines to find the real killer, before she's exposed...and found guilty of murder! Victoria Hamilton does not shy away from the gritty reality of life tackling sexual assault and pedophilia in her first Gentlewoman's Guide to Murder mystery! Yet these atrocities are dealt with tact and not sensationalized. I enjoyed my first entry into Regency England with Miss Emmeline St. Germaine. She's doing what she can to be a free and independent woman, fighting for the betterment of society at a time when upperclass women were thought of as nothing more than adornments while women of lower classes were meant to be used and abused. Sadly, this remains somewhat of a reality even today, 200 years later! The author has a firm grasp of life during this time period, providing a myriad of small details that are intrinsic to the mood and spirit of the novel and not extraneous fluff or an overt history lesson. Emmaline's work as the Rogue, sharing gossip and rumours with broad hints as to the real people involved, was a standard practice of the time. Clothing details showing class distinction as well as how the different classes met and mingled are all integral particulars to the story. The characters are all multidimentional with deep backstories simmering under the surface. Vivid descriptions are haunting, especially the subtle changes seen in those being abused. A GENTLEWOMAN'S GUIDE TO MURDER is a smart historical mystery that isn't afraid to deal with difficult subject matter. A truly heroic heroine graces its pages engaging in a fight to be her own person, a fight that women continue to this day. FTC Disclosure – The publisher sent me a copy of this book in the hopes I would review it.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    3.5 stars rounded up. I came across this book on Twitter at a time when I was looking for a new historical mystery author/series to try and I'm glad I read it. Overall I enjoyed it, though a few things didn't quite work for me. What I liked: - Emmeline had a strong motivation for investigating the murder. I've DNF'd a few books because the only reason the heroine investigated a crime was nosiness or a vague feeling of "being compelled". - Large cast of characters from different social classes. - Fem 3.5 stars rounded up. I came across this book on Twitter at a time when I was looking for a new historical mystery author/series to try and I'm glad I read it. Overall I enjoyed it, though a few things didn't quite work for me. What I liked: - Emmeline had a strong motivation for investigating the murder. I've DNF'd a few books because the only reason the heroine investigated a crime was nosiness or a vague feeling of "being compelled". - Large cast of characters from different social classes. - Feminism! - Though I figured out some of the plot, I didn't mind because I was very interested in how it would play out. What I didn't like: - Infodumping in the first few chapters, especially about many of the female characters' sad backstories. - A couple key developments in the mystery happened "off screen" and were therefore a little anticlimatic. I think they could have been more dramatic. - The final revelation of the murderer was kind of unsatisfying - it was messy and I think it just sort of happened to the Emmeline. She has so much agency in the rest of the book but didn't have a really strong role in actually solving the murder and bringing the villains to justice. That's what knocked the book from a 4 star to 3.5 star read to me. Also I should mention trigger warnings for child abuse, sexual abuse, and sexual assault.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Donna

    This book and I got off on the wrong foot right from the start because it turns out that light, cosy-style prose doesn't mix well with the subject of pedophilia. When Emmeline's POV mentioned (in the opening pages, so this isn't a spoiler) that she thought it helped make her point to catch abusers in the act, but before any real harm had been done, I wanted to throw the damn book against the wall. Intentionally timing a rescue so that a child gets a little bit assaulted but not quite raped is ea This book and I got off on the wrong foot right from the start because it turns out that light, cosy-style prose doesn't mix well with the subject of pedophilia. When Emmeline's POV mentioned (in the opening pages, so this isn't a spoiler) that she thought it helped make her point to catch abusers in the act, but before any real harm had been done, I wanted to throw the damn book against the wall. Intentionally timing a rescue so that a child gets a little bit assaulted but not quite raped is easily the most disgustingly off-putting introduction I've ever had to a supposed heroine. That kind of pragmatism might not leave me bailing on a gritty antihero, but the tonal mismatch makes me worry that I can't trust the author to show any more sensitivity during other intense scenes. I forced myself through the first fifty pages to see if anything could overcome that initial revulsion, but nah. No dice. The Regency details are slim and awkwardly inserted, and some passages read so much like series recaps that I had to double check that this was actually the first book.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth Dodd

    Well done. With so much in the news recently about human trafficking, this is a very timely story. We have a group of (somewhat) privileged woman who want to help those less fortunate. The social restrictions of the time allow them little autonomy, so they have to act clandestinely . The insights into the lack of control over ones life if they are born femail, is brought home clearly. The clever ways to work around it are inspiring. Sadly, even the seemingly supportive males show their ingrained attit Well done. With so much in the news recently about human trafficking, this is a very timely story. We have a group of (somewhat) privileged woman who want to help those less fortunate. The social restrictions of the time allow them little autonomy, so they have to act clandestinely . The insights into the lack of control over ones life if they are born femail, is brought home clearly. The clever ways to work around it are inspiring. Sadly, even the seemingly supportive males show their ingrained attitudes while trying to help.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Joshua Ian

    Not only a fun historical read but very timely as well. I don't like to give plot away in my reviews but it does center around a woman working to right wrongs done by men of the time. Wrongs ignored because of class, position, or just plain old misogyny. So it's great to see a female "superhero," flaws and all, in a great historical setting. This is a little less cozy than Hamilton's contemporary mysteries with more of a gothic edginess to it, and I personally love that. Reminds me, in tone, of Not only a fun historical read but very timely as well. I don't like to give plot away in my reviews but it does center around a woman working to right wrongs done by men of the time. Wrongs ignored because of class, position, or just plain old misogyny. So it's great to see a female "superhero," flaws and all, in a great historical setting. This is a little less cozy than Hamilton's contemporary mysteries with more of a gothic edginess to it, and I personally love that. Reminds me, in tone, of the Lady Anne mysteries, which are also recommended.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Connie

    I read this for my mystery book group. A rather predictable story about a young woman who discovers evil in London and tries to combat it. Given the ending, this is the first of a planned series which I probably will not read. Not recommended

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

    An interesting main character. Enough twists to keep one interested. A little disappointed in the ending, but it was fair. A hint at the end about the next book. I'd be interested in reading more from this author.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    Disappointing. Wasn’t much that was identifiably of the Regency period and a few things that were definitely not correct to the period.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    Three and a half stars...to be compared/contrasted to Lady Molly of Scotland Yard; new-to-me author and a new series beginning for this author which was well done overall.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Felt like there was a book I missed reading before this one.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    I really wanted to like this, but for whatever reason it just did not hold my interest at all.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Brenda Freeman

    I love women who break out of the box society puts them in, especially during historical periods. In this case the main character leaves three different lives.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Alethea

    Emmeline St. Germaine is a woman with a rare privilege in Regency society – she lives in a beautiful home in London with her older cousin, all expenses paid by a brother who lives in the country and asks nothing more than that she not bring shame upon the family. Sadly, Emmeline’s cause is rescuing housemaids who have become the sexual playthings of their masters, raped and sometimes killed, something that, if discovered, would lead to her ruin. This book was very fun, very fast-paced and full o Emmeline St. Germaine is a woman with a rare privilege in Regency society – she lives in a beautiful home in London with her older cousin, all expenses paid by a brother who lives in the country and asks nothing more than that she not bring shame upon the family. Sadly, Emmeline’s cause is rescuing housemaids who have become the sexual playthings of their masters, raped and sometimes killed, something that, if discovered, would lead to her ruin. This book was very fun, very fast-paced and full of period detail. One nagging thing that bothered me was Emmeline’s temper – she flares up for no reason at those who are trying to help her. I understand that it was a character trait the author wanted to highlight, as Emmeline is made aware of the shortcoming, but there were too many instances of it. I felt it took away from the narrative. The murder at the heart of the novel is something for which Emmeline’s crusading alter ego, the Avengeress, is blamed, and with the help of her friends, she sets out to find the truth. There were some twists that didn’t quite flow in the narrative, but overall, I enjoyed this story a great deal.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kara

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kathy Randol

  24. 4 out of 5

    Hannah

  25. 4 out of 5

    Mark

  26. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sarita

  28. 4 out of 5

    B

  29. 4 out of 5

    Tparker

  30. 5 out of 5

    Karen White

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