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It's 1919, and Louisa Cannon dreams of escaping her life of poverty in London, and most of all her oppressive and dangerous uncle. Louisa's salvation is a position within the Mitford household at Asthall Manor, in the Oxfordshire countryside. There she will become nursery maid, chaperone and confidante to the Mitford sisters, especially sixteen-year-old Nancy - an acerbic, It's 1919, and Louisa Cannon dreams of escaping her life of poverty in London, and most of all her oppressive and dangerous uncle. Louisa's salvation is a position within the Mitford household at Asthall Manor, in the Oxfordshire countryside. There she will become nursery maid, chaperone and confidante to the Mitford sisters, especially sixteen-year-old Nancy - an acerbic, bright young woman in love with stories. But then a nurse - Florence Nightingale Shore, goddaughter of her famous namesake - is killed on a train in broad daylight, and Louisa and Nancy find themselves entangled in the crimes of a murderer who will do anything to hide their secret . . . 'A glorious indulgence. Dazzling' - Daisy Goodwin 'Inventive, glittering, clever, ingenious' - Susan Hill 'Fascinating, I loved it' - Julian Fellowes 'An enthralling mystery' - Juliet Nicolson 'Audacious, breathtaking' - Alex Gray


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It's 1919, and Louisa Cannon dreams of escaping her life of poverty in London, and most of all her oppressive and dangerous uncle. Louisa's salvation is a position within the Mitford household at Asthall Manor, in the Oxfordshire countryside. There she will become nursery maid, chaperone and confidante to the Mitford sisters, especially sixteen-year-old Nancy - an acerbic, It's 1919, and Louisa Cannon dreams of escaping her life of poverty in London, and most of all her oppressive and dangerous uncle. Louisa's salvation is a position within the Mitford household at Asthall Manor, in the Oxfordshire countryside. There she will become nursery maid, chaperone and confidante to the Mitford sisters, especially sixteen-year-old Nancy - an acerbic, bright young woman in love with stories. But then a nurse - Florence Nightingale Shore, goddaughter of her famous namesake - is killed on a train in broad daylight, and Louisa and Nancy find themselves entangled in the crimes of a murderer who will do anything to hide their secret . . . 'A glorious indulgence. Dazzling' - Daisy Goodwin 'Inventive, glittering, clever, ingenious' - Susan Hill 'Fascinating, I loved it' - Julian Fellowes 'An enthralling mystery' - Juliet Nicolson 'Audacious, breathtaking' - Alex Gray

30 review for The Mitford Murders

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*

    EXCERPT: 'As she moved along, stately but sure, like the Lusitania departing from Liverpool, she thought she recognized a figure out of the corner of her eye. It gave Florence a start. Did he know she would be at Victoria? The man was slight, angular and frayed at the edges - a wooden life raft to her ocean liner. His back was half turned away and his hat was pulled down low so that she couldn't be sure if he had seen her. Florence picked up the pace, her heart quickening. She spotted her Porter EXCERPT: 'As she moved along, stately but sure, like the Lusitania departing from Liverpool, she thought she recognized a figure out of the corner of her eye. It gave Florence a start. Did he know she would be at Victoria? The man was slight, angular and frayed at the edges - a wooden life raft to her ocean liner. His back was half turned away and his hat was pulled down low so that she couldn't be sure if he had seen her. Florence picked up the pace, her heart quickening. She spotted her Porter up ahead, waiting patiently by her bags, and she calmed herself. She had only to get on the train; in less than twenty minutes she'd be on her way. ....It was not long before the guard blew his final whistle. The train moved off, slowly at first, then gathered momentum steadily until, by the time it reached the first tunnel, it was rolling down the line at full speed. That was the last time anyone saw Florence Nightingale Shore alive. ..' THE BLURB: It's 1919, and Louisa Cannon dreams of escaping her life of poverty in London, and most of all her oppressive and dangerous uncle. Louisa's salvation is a position within the Mitford household at Asthall Manor, in the Oxfordshire countryside. There she will become nurserymaid, chaperone and confidante to the Mitford sisters, especially sixteen-year-old Nancy - an acerbic, bright young woman in love with stories. But then a nurse - Florence Nightingale Shore, goddaughter of her famous namesake - is killed on a train in broad daylight, and Louisa and Nancy find themselves entangled in the crimes of a murderer who will do anything to hide their secret . . . ' MY VIEWS: I didn't realize, when I began The Mitford Murders by Jessica Fellowes, that it is based on a real murder. It was not until I reached the end of the book and read the author's historical note, that I discovered Florence Nightingale Shore actually existed, that she was god-daughter of the famous woman herself, and that she was indeed attacked on the Brighton line Monday 12 January, 1920 and died a few days later of her injuries. Nobody was ever found guilty of her murder. The Mitford Murders is a captivating blend of fact and fiction. Newspaper reports of the interviews conducted with the witnesses at the Inquest have been used to recreate the events. People, including Florence's friend Mabel, the Mitford family and their servants, also have their roots in reality, although some things have been changed for the benefit of the novel. Fellowes has captured the atmosphere of the early 1920s splendidly. The war is over, but nothing has quite returned to normal. There is a shortage of men; many physically and psychologically wounded soldiers have returned home to nothing, wondering what it was all for. Life is nothing like we know it. The British class system is still very evident. Poverty is a way of life for the lower classes where survival is all, violence and intimidation a way of life . But then again, perhaps nothing has really changed after all, only fashion and technology. The Mitford Murders is a captivating read. Fellowes, perhaps best known for her Downtown Abbey books, is very good at what she does. This is, apparently, the first book of a new series,one I am looking forward to reading. Thank you to Hachette Australia via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of The Mitford Murders by Jessica Fellowes for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page for an explanation of my ratings. This review and others can also be viewed at sandysbookaday.wordpress.com

  2. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    I am a great lover of Golden Age mysteries, but often feel that modern novels which attempt to recreate that period feel, sometimes suffer from an attempt to make them modern and appeal to modern readers. In some ways, this novel is a good example of a mystery, set in the period 1919 – 1921, yet which is aimed at a modern audience and attempts to make the crime more realistic; yet, in doing so, loses some of the charm of those books. Louisa Cannon lives with her washerwoman mother, and her unscr I am a great lover of Golden Age mysteries, but often feel that modern novels which attempt to recreate that period feel, sometimes suffer from an attempt to make them modern and appeal to modern readers. In some ways, this novel is a good example of a mystery, set in the period 1919 – 1921, yet which is aimed at a modern audience and attempts to make the crime more realistic; yet, in doing so, loses some of the charm of those books. Louisa Cannon lives with her washerwoman mother, and her unscrupulous, vicious uncle, Stephen, in London. We first meet her on Christmas Eve, 1919, when she runs into an old friend, who is chaperoning Nancy Mitford. Jennie suggests that the Mitford’s need help in the nursery and offers to put in a good word for Louisa, which leads to her escaping her unhappy life and finding a job with the Mitford family. On her way to her interview, Louisa meets Guy Sullivan, a member of the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway Police and becomes embroiled in his attempt to solve the murder of Florence Shore. Florence Shore was murdered on a train, on her way to visit a friend, Rosa Peal, who lives above a teashop. By coincidence, Rosa is the twin sister of the Mitford’s beloved Nanny, meaning that Louisa has a link to the crime, as well as romantic feelings for Guy. Anyone who reads this book expecting the Mitford sisters to be central to the plot, may be a little disappointed. Louisa is working in the nursery as most of the sisters are very young (while their only brother is at boarding school for most of the time). Despite poor Nanny dealing with the little ones, Louisa seems to get the easy option for much of the time; accompanying the eldest, Nancy, as she throws herself, with abandon, into sleuthing. I liked the character of Louisa and also of Guy Sullivan. Both are slightly damaged – a little bullied, a little insecure – and they work well together. Of course, this could be the first in a series and so we may have more of the younger Mitford sisters as they grow, which gives the author plenty of scope in future. The character of Louisa’s Uncle Stephen works less well and his intrigues and aggressive nature seem a little out of synch with the feeling of the novel. Saying that, despite some parts of the story feeling a little over long, the author did get a good sense of the period. The shadow of WWI hangs over the story, and the characters, like a pall. There is a good sense of London after the war, but, for me, the parts that worked best were set within the Mitford household. If there is a sequel to this, I would certainly read it, but it seemed, at times, to be unsure of whether it was a modern crime novel set in the 1920’s or a really authentic attempt to write with the feel of the Golden Age, which did not quite work. Rated 3.5

  3. 4 out of 5

    Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews

    *https://mrsbbookreviews.wordpress.com 3.5 stars The Mitford Murders by Jessica Fellowes is a historical murder mystery novel that came into my hands through a family member who I often trade books with. I was initially intrigued by the surname of the author of this book, Jessica Fellowes. A quick search of Jessica Fellowes revealed that she is connected to Julian Fellowes of Downton Abbey fame, she is his niece. Further connections to Downton Abbey came to light as I discovered that Jessica Fello *https://mrsbbookreviews.wordpress.com 3.5 stars The Mitford Murders by Jessica Fellowes is a historical murder mystery novel that came into my hands through a family member who I often trade books with. I was initially intrigued by the surname of the author of this book, Jessica Fellowes. A quick search of Jessica Fellowes revealed that she is connected to Julian Fellowes of Downton Abbey fame, she is his niece. Further connections to Downton Abbey came to light as I discovered that Jessica Fellowes has also written a handful of books on the popular series. I went into this novel with zest and for the most part, this book delivered. As I read The Mitford Murders some time ago, I am having difficulty recalling the main events and details in the novel which I would normally discuss in a larger format review. I have decided to give an in depth review a miss, but instead I wish to showcase The Mitford Murders to readers who enjoy cosy mysteries or Agatha Christie novels. For me, the enjoyment in this novel came from the fact that it was drawn from real life events and figures. The murder victim in this novel, Florence Nightingale Shore was actually killed on a train in broad daylight. To date, this murder has never been solved. In addition, one of the main characters of the novel Nancy Mitford, is drawn from real life. Nancy and her sisters were celebrated figures in Britain, their scandalous lives and writings attracting much attention. So, overall I liked The Mitford Murders. I am interested to see what Jessica Fellowes comes up with next, as The Mitford Murders is the first book in a continuing series for the author, where she plans to tie in the lives of the other Mitford sisters into more of her mystery novels.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Maine Colonial

    As someone who’s been reading about the Mitford family for years, I just couldn’t resist buying this book. But I wish I had. Much of the story plays out at the Mitfords’ estate in 1920, when the eldest child, Nancy, is 16 and the youngest, Deborah is born. Our main character, Louisa Cannon, age 18, has fled dire circumstances in London and been taken on as a nursery maid. Nancy latches on to Louisa because she is starved for variety and the companionship of someone close to her own age. The Nancy As someone who’s been reading about the Mitford family for years, I just couldn’t resist buying this book. But I wish I had. Much of the story plays out at the Mitfords’ estate in 1920, when the eldest child, Nancy, is 16 and the youngest, Deborah is born. Our main character, Louisa Cannon, age 18, has fled dire circumstances in London and been taken on as a nursery maid. Nancy latches on to Louisa because she is starved for variety and the companionship of someone close to her own age. The Nancy of this book is a silly, flighty, selfish girl. Obviously I don’t know what the real Nancy Mitford was like, but I certainly always got the impression from my reading that she was intelligent and had a biting wit. Certainly not the annoyingly vapid character Fellowes paints. Fellowes names the other members of the family and throws in a handful of descriptions easily gleaned from a little bit of reading. Otherwise they are just paper dolls Fellowes moves around as her story requires. There is certainly no use of the famous Mitford style of speech. The family in this book could be any family well enough off to have a small domestic staff. It’s clear to me that Fellowes chose to call this family the Mitfords purely for marketing purposes. Anyone who knows the Mitford history will find this book unsatisfying at best. The mystery plot is more of a why- and howdunnit than a whodunnit. Florence Nightingale Shore, a goddaughter of the famous nurse and a WWI nurse herself, has been murdered on a train. The railroad police and Scotland Yard quickly run out of leads and close the investigation. (Shore’s murder happened in real life and was never solved.) But railway policeman Guy Sullivan is determined to find out the truth and perhaps prove himself worthy to become a Scotland Yard detective. Guy meets Louisa early in the book, as she flees the (quite literal) clutches of her evil uncle and, thanks to the insatiable curiosity of Nancy about the Shore murder, Guy and Louisa work together to find the Shore killer. The mystery plot is slow to get going and I wouldn’t say it’s particularly inventive. I thought it was easy to figure out where it was going. Fellowes also overuses the tired bit from police procedurals in which interviewees complain about having to answer questions more than once. True to her relationship with Downton Abbey stories, Fellowes depicts cruelty to women, with their being helpless to resist or defend themselves. This is one of the reasons why I got tired of Downton Abbey. However period-accurate it may be, that doesn’t mean it adds to the reading experience if it is dwelled on. I’d call this barely adequate as a mystery and a thorough disappointment as Mitfordiana. I strongly suspect that the use of the Mitford name is a calculated attempt to capitalize on the appetite for stories featuring the intriguing Mitfords. I think if you’re going to do that, you owe it to readers to do more than a slap a few names and biographical details on characters who don’t otherwise particular resemble the real characters. Finally, I should note that if you insist on reading this book, whatever you do don’t get the audiobook. The reader is actually very good except when it comes to Nancy, for whom she uses a gratingly childish voice that seems the antithesis of what you would imagine Nancy Mitford was like. And, not surprisingly given the writing, none of the Mitfords use the Mitfordian accent.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Brenda

    Louisa Cannon lived with her mother, both quietly working for others as a seamstress and washerwoman. Things had been hard since her father died, but it had become much worse when her uncle arrived. Louisa was frightened of him, and her mother was too cowed to speak up. So Louisa kept out of his way while she dreamed of escape. One thing led to another and suddenly Louisa had the opportunity to work in Asthall Manor with the Mitford family – she would be a governess of sorts to the six children Louisa Cannon lived with her mother, both quietly working for others as a seamstress and washerwoman. Things had been hard since her father died, but it had become much worse when her uncle arrived. Louisa was frightened of him, and her mother was too cowed to speak up. So Louisa kept out of his way while she dreamed of escape. One thing led to another and suddenly Louisa had the opportunity to work in Asthall Manor with the Mitford family – she would be a governess of sorts to the six children of the household, assisting the elderly Nanny Blor. Florence Nightingale Shore, goddaughter of the great lady, Florence Nightingale had resigned her commission as a nurse at Ypres and was travelling on the train from London when she was murdered. The police could find no evidence but young, aspiring Guy Sullivan of the Brighton and South Coast Railway Police was determined to find the truth. He had also taken a liking to Louisa when he’d assisted her in her travels to Asthall Manor. Meanwhile Louisa and Nancy, eldest daughter of the Mitford children, had their suspicions regarding Florence Shore’s death and decided to search for the killer themselves. The excitable Nancy had no sense of danger, but Louisa did – and her fear at what could happen had her on edge continually. But Guy had a dogged determination, even without his superior’s approval. What would be the outcome? Would the killer be found without any further bloodshed? The Mitford Murders by Jessica Fellowes is based on the real-life story of Florence Nightingale Shore and her death in 1920 plus the Mitford family who were also a real family. The story around the events are fictional and the Historical Note at the end of the book is of great interest. I thoroughly enjoyed this historical mystery, which is my first by this author – it actually reminded me a little of Agatha Christie’s work. I certainly didn’t pick the murderer (even though I was sure I had!) Highly recommended. With thanks to Hachette Australia for my copy to read and review.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sheryl

    This is the first book I’ve read by this author; she's built quite a following over her "Downtown Abby" books. I love historical mysteries primarily set in post-war Britain. This book did not disappoint; the way Ms. Fellowes weaved the facts of the case with her own brand of fiction made this a terrific mystery. I must confess, I had no idea this book was based on a true story until I finished the book and read the author’s notes. Florence Nightingale Shore was a war nurse whose God Mother you This is the first book I’ve read by this author; she's built quite a following over her "Downtown Abby" books. I love historical mysteries primarily set in post-war Britain. This book did not disappoint; the way Ms. Fellowes weaved the facts of the case with her own brand of fiction made this a terrific mystery. I must confess, I had no idea this book was based on a true story until I finished the book and read the author’s notes. Florence Nightingale Shore was a war nurse whose God Mother you guessed it was the famous nurse Florence Nightingale. Ms. Shore was a kindly woman who dedicated her life to helping others, she had decided to retire after the war and enjoy the rest of her life. She was on a train headed to the coast to visit a dear friend of hers when she was murdered. Her murder caused quite a stir, it was shocking that someone could be murdered on a train during the mid-day without any one noticing anything. Several other plots were going on throughout the book that kept the storyline from lagging. The Mitford family was introduced into the book when Lady Redesdale employed a young woman, Louisa Cannon to assist the loveable overworked Nanny Blor who needed more help caring for the ever-growing Mitford clan. Louisa was only 19 years old and running from her past and she was relieved to be hired to work for Lord and Lady Redesdale as a nanny. She had no experience and it was a dream come true when Lady Redesdale hired her. It gave Louisa a chance to start a new life for herself but one that she would have to take extra care that her past didn’t follow her to their home. The oldest child of the Mitford’s was the precocious Nancy Mitford who was 16 years old and was more than thrilled to have the young Louisa as a nanny. The two young girls became quite close, Louisa had her hands full trying to reel the headstrong Nancy in from getting them both into some serious trouble. I liked the characters of this book; they were well developed and believable. David Mitford who inherited the title of Lord Redesdale after his oldest brother died during the war, David Mitford was an officer during the war that claimed his brother’s life. The mysterious death of Florence Nightingale Shore was a constant during the entirety of this book. It was a major cause of contention and speculation between most of the main characters. I was glad to see that this is the first of a series and the second book is already in the works. I'll be purchasing that one for sure. Disclosure: I would like to thank the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an e-galley of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. The opinion I expressed above regarding this book is my own.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Brenda Kittelty

    Do yourself a favour... and give this overly long, nonsensical insult to the mystery/crime genre a really wide berth. Anyone who can make the famously eccentric Mitford family appear so dull and boring deserves some sort of reverse commendation. And to pin the based-on-real-events-murder on an actual person, whom the author admits was blameless in her epilogue, is sailing close to the winds of defamation and slander. This book was ten kinds of crap. Why in the hell did I persist?

  8. 4 out of 5

    Alice Lippart

    Super enjoyable and entertaining cosy mystery. Love the setting and the time period. I will mention though, if you're going into this wanting to read about the Mitford sisters, the fact that the characters in here are based on them is completely irrelevant and you're going to be disappointed if that's what you're after. I went in not remembering that they were a real family, so I just went along without that element and that probably made it a lot easier for me to enjoy. If you can look aside fro Super enjoyable and entertaining cosy mystery. Love the setting and the time period. I will mention though, if you're going into this wanting to read about the Mitford sisters, the fact that the characters in here are based on them is completely irrelevant and you're going to be disappointed if that's what you're after. I went in not remembering that they were a real family, so I just went along without that element and that probably made it a lot easier for me to enjoy. If you can look aside from it though, this is a lovely, slightly dark, readable and very British historical mystery.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Josephine Quealy

    *cue Cartman voice* Ah’m talkin’ fifth-season Night Court LAME. This was a dreary effort and I’ll not be delving further into the series. A drippy heroine, a plodding plot, and having Nancy saying ‘Farve’ every five seconds does not conjure up the world of the Mitfords. There’s a plot twist revealed halfway through that you’ll probably see coming and, even if you don’t, will NOT have you clutching your pearls. You’ll also most likely guess the killer. Utter drivel.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Dale Harcombe

    Three and a half stars. The story starts with a prologue and the murder in 1920 on a train Florence Nightingale Shore before going back to Christmas Eve 1919. Even though it means leaving her beloved mother, Louisa Cannon desperately wants to leave London and escape from her dangerous uncle who would involve her in all manner of schemes. That Christmas Louisa writes a letter she hopes will change her life for the better. Despite some setbacks she ends up being employed at Asthall Manor as a nurse Three and a half stars. The story starts with a prologue and the murder in 1920 on a train Florence Nightingale Shore before going back to Christmas Eve 1919. Even though it means leaving her beloved mother, Louisa Cannon desperately wants to leave London and escape from her dangerous uncle who would involve her in all manner of schemes. That Christmas Louisa writes a letter she hopes will change her life for the better. Despite some setbacks she ends up being employed at Asthall Manor as a nursery maid, chaperone and confidante to the Mitford children, especially the eldest sister Nancy. Somehow Louisa and Nancy with their curious natures end up entangled in the murder investigation of Florence Shore. Along the way more than one secret is uncovered and more than one romance blossoms. Or does it? I quite enjoyed this murder mystery although I was wondering at one stage when a second murder would take place. I liked the main character Louisa and also liked Guy Sullivan of the railway police who aims to try and solve the murder of Florence Shore and hopefully bring himself to the attention of those higher up in the police force. And Louisa and Nancy also end up sifting through clues trying to solve the murder. I liked the fleshing out and back story of characters. It’s not what I would all a page turner but it moves along at an agreeable pace most of the time. Just sometimes it seemed a little long winded. Towards the end it had me reading faster. A quite enjoyable read that throws up more than one red herring. Interesting enough without being completely gripping. Those who like cosy historical mysteries should enjoy it. I was glad I read it.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kat

    A good first story for a new murder mystery series! The main characters are likeable and it was a pleasant read despite that it had a rather slow beginning to get to the point of the investigation lead by the protagonists! I really am fond of stories set upon period eras and that added to my giving a high rating!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Fiona

    A highly entertaining whodunnit and an excellent blend of fact and fiction. The murder of Florence Nightingale Shore in January 1920 was a true crime and the Mitford family are not just famous but infamous! The rest is fiction. I have already read the second and third books in this series so reading this first book was like reading a prequel. It made no difference to my enjoyment though. In fact, it probably added to it because I knew I was in for a treat and it explained the background to the ne A highly entertaining whodunnit and an excellent blend of fact and fiction. The murder of Florence Nightingale Shore in January 1920 was a true crime and the Mitford family are not just famous but infamous! The rest is fiction. I have already read the second and third books in this series so reading this first book was like reading a prequel. It made no difference to my enjoyment though. In fact, it probably added to it because I knew I was in for a treat and it explained the background to the next in the series. All of the books can stand alone but this is shaping up to be an excellent series. Easily 5 stars for sheer entertainment. Roll on book number 4!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Sanne Udsen

    The only mystery here is how this could be anywhere near a bestseller list ...

  14. 5 out of 5

    Myrna

    This was largely a book of fiction but based on real events and people after WWI. I liked Louisa and the Nancy Mitford story more than the murder mystery of Nightingale. Good book but I didn’t love like I was hoping. 3.5 stars!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Lindsay

    Oh my Lord, this book is BAD! I don’t know if I’m more bothered that the crime element was so weak it would have struggled to make an engaging novella, or that the Mitfords have somehow been reduced to insipid blandness. Don’t even get me started on the ending - you CANNOT just decide that an actual real person who was never even charged let alone suspected, was guilty of the murder. A real person who was a good friend. Who was involved in running the memorial to Florence Nightingale Shore. That’ Oh my Lord, this book is BAD! I don’t know if I’m more bothered that the crime element was so weak it would have struggled to make an engaging novella, or that the Mitfords have somehow been reduced to insipid blandness. Don’t even get me started on the ending - you CANNOT just decide that an actual real person who was never even charged let alone suspected, was guilty of the murder. A real person who was a good friend. Who was involved in running the memorial to Florence Nightingale Shore. That’s just...terribly non-U! Not saying I won’t read the sequel though - I think I more love-to-hate-it than outright hate it?! Although I will be SHOCKED if the series makes it to the end of the planned 6 volumes (one for each sister). If we get to Debo I will eat my cloche!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Angie

    3.5 stars, rounded up A fun period mystery, based upon a real unsolved murder, with plenty of appearances of real people from the era. It grabbed me from the beginning, with the murder of Florence Nightingale Shore. As it still remains a mystery today, I couldn’t wait to see where the story went. I’m also fascinated by the the Mitford sisters and looked forward to reading about them. Although I enjoyed the story, I think it could’ve been even better with more details. I would classify this as a 3.5 stars, rounded up A fun period mystery, based upon a real unsolved murder, with plenty of appearances of real people from the era. It grabbed me from the beginning, with the murder of Florence Nightingale Shore. As it still remains a mystery today, I couldn’t wait to see where the story went. I’m also fascinated by the the Mitford sisters and looked forward to reading about them. Although I enjoyed the story, I think it could’ve been even better with more details. I would classify this as a “high end” cozy. I’m excited to read the next entry in the series and what the next adventures will be! **Many thanks to NetGalley, Jessica Fellowes, and St. Martin’s Press for an ARC to read and honestly review!**

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

    not for me - a young woman being violently treated by her drunken uncle is not something I care to proceed with and find the number of positive reviews hard to swallow

  18. 5 out of 5

    Holly

    I was hoping to love this one but, unfortunately, I didn't. I was expecting a cozy mystery with the possible involvement of the Mitford sisters. It was kinda like that but just not quite what I wanted. Let me first say that this wasn't badly written. Jessica Fellowes can write, and I'm sure a lot of people will enjoy this series. However, I think for me everything seemed bland. Bland characters and a bland plot. We open to Florence Nightingale Shore being murdered--which is a real life murder tha I was hoping to love this one but, unfortunately, I didn't. I was expecting a cozy mystery with the possible involvement of the Mitford sisters. It was kinda like that but just not quite what I wanted. Let me first say that this wasn't badly written. Jessica Fellowes can write, and I'm sure a lot of people will enjoy this series. However, I think for me everything seemed bland. Bland characters and a bland plot. We open to Florence Nightingale Shore being murdered--which is a real life murder that happened. Then we meet 18 year old Louise, who is poor and helping her mother with her job. She also has to fight off her uncle who is not good in any way. Somehow, Louise manages to get a job with the Mitfords, which comes at the perfect moment when she is running from her uncle. She soon becomes a confidant to Nancy Mitford, who is only 16 at the start of this series. Nancy becomes obsessed with Florence's murder and wants to solve it. Meanwhile, Guy, who is an up & coming cop, also becomes involved in solving the murder. He also has a crush on Louise. You really don't get to know the Mitford sisters as they are all very young in this book. Therefore, I think the title of this book is all wrong. I couldn't really warm to any of the characters--like I said, they were very bland. So it made my reading not as enjoyable as it could have been. Plus, every time I would set the book down, it took effort to want to pick it up again. I just couldn't care less about the mystery. It was lacking in someway that I can't explain. I also thought it was too long, but that could be because nothing exciting was happening. Nothing grabbed me about this book. I don't thing I'll be checking out the rest of the series. *Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Melanie

    The Mitford sisters have fascinated me for more than a decade, I read biographies, autobiographies, their letters, Nancy Mitford's novels etc. I don't think I am an expert, but I am familiar, so I think the main reason I found this book hard to deal with was the fact that I simply could not see any point in bringing the Mitfords into this otherwise fine murder mystery. The setting is 1919/1920 and a young girl from London tries to escape from her evil uncle and is glad to get a job as nursery ma The Mitford sisters have fascinated me for more than a decade, I read biographies, autobiographies, their letters, Nancy Mitford's novels etc. I don't think I am an expert, but I am familiar, so I think the main reason I found this book hard to deal with was the fact that I simply could not see any point in bringing the Mitfords into this otherwise fine murder mystery. The setting is 1919/1920 and a young girl from London tries to escape from her evil uncle and is glad to get a job as nursery maid with the Mitfords, on the same day she heads to the interview after jumping off a train to escape said uncle a retired nurse (the niece of that Florence Nightingale) was murdered on a train to the south coast. This is something that actually happened. The rest is mere speculation. There is various strands to this story, many people (not helped by the Mitfords themselves and their number of children) and it just felt that it should have been several novels rather than just the one. There is no doubt that Jessica Fellowes can write, the mystery itself was brilliant and if the Mitford bit was eliminated, I would have loved it. The Mitfords simply failed to add their normal glamour to this story.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Ange

    *2.5 stars

  21. 5 out of 5

    birdie

    So much wasted potential, this book just wasn’t good... Dutch review on my blog/Review will be up soon.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Joanne D'Arcy

    The Mitford Sisters have always fascinated me. How six women made such an impact on social and political history throughout the twentieth century. The people they knew and associated with jump from the pages of a history book. When I first saw this title, I was intrigued. even more so when I learnt the author is related to Julian Fellowes* of Downton Abbey fame. There must be a storytelling gene somewhere in them there Fellowes! But whilst this is a story, this is also a book based in reality, bas The Mitford Sisters have always fascinated me. How six women made such an impact on social and political history throughout the twentieth century. The people they knew and associated with jump from the pages of a history book. When I first saw this title, I was intrigued. even more so when I learnt the author is related to Julian Fellowes* of Downton Abbey fame. There must be a storytelling gene somewhere in them there Fellowes! But whilst this is a story, this is also a book based in reality, based in truth but I am not going to give anymore away about what reality and what truth - because like me you can read the book and find out in the end. Louisa Cannon lives with her mother and an unpleasant Uncle, teetering on the border of poverty in London. She finds herself escaping her uncle and going to work at the Mitford's Oxfordshire home where she becomes a maid and companion to the Nanny and the small Mitford girls but also a friend and confidante with Nancy Mitford the eldest. Her life is going to change and Nancy sees Louisa as a way to escape the confines of being in society. Florence Nightingale Shore related to her namesake and a nurse as well finds herself on a train at the same time as Louisa, the two do not know each other but their lives are about to become entwined especially as one ends up dead and the other making her own investigations. This is a book which is a mix of fact made into wonderful fiction. The settings are perfect, the insight into the Mitford Sisters early upbringing intriguing although of course we  do not know how much poetic license has been taken, but the infamy perhaps gives you an idea of the characters they were when they were small. This really is a different murder mystery book, but also seems to sit right in the Golden Age Mystery category. I am intrigued as to how the next book will pan out and what fact or reality is going to be featured and just how will the Mitford's fit in. There is so much scope with setting yourself such a task. * His adaptation of Mary Poppins for the stage is phenomenal!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Roman Clodia

    It was probably only a matter of time before someone turned Nancy Mitford into a detective! This is set between 1919-21 when Nancy is 16-18 with a climax at her coming-out ball. She's bright and sassy, with some traces of her famous wit but Fellowes gets away with it by making her so young. The other 'Mitford gals' are more or less children and babies and don't play much part in this. The main characters are Louisa, a run-away working-class nanny and friend to Nancy, and her romantic interest, a It was probably only a matter of time before someone turned Nancy Mitford into a detective! This is set between 1919-21 when Nancy is 16-18 with a climax at her coming-out ball. She's bright and sassy, with some traces of her famous wit but Fellowes gets away with it by making her so young. The other 'Mitford gals' are more or less children and babies and don't play much part in this. The main characters are Louisa, a run-away working-class nanny and friend to Nancy, and her romantic interest, a transport policeman whose bad vision made it impossible for him to fight in WW1. This is light and easy reading but I found it disconcerting that there are moments of darkness that feel a bit out of place in something so frothy and fun: Louisa's abusive uncle and his plans to prostitute her feel like they've wandered in from another book altogether. Anyone who reads a lot of crime fiction will have spotted the 'twist' as soon as it appears - but a fun read for fans of cosies and Golden Age crime.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sue Schwab

    I feel dumber for having read the first 100 pages.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jacob Overmark

    It could have been Miss Marple … There is a certain resemblance in style, and era - and it is fairly well written/translated (into Danish) Normally I would not go into the genre "historical crime fiction", but the book was on sale and it served it´s cause, providing me with, if not riveting, then a plausible plot for light summer reading. Blood, romance, rich kid - poor kid, social realism. It could have been Miss Marple … There is a certain resemblance in style, and era - and it is fairly well written/translated (into Danish) Normally I would not go into the genre "historical crime fiction", but the book was on sale and it served it´s cause, providing me with, if not riveting, then a plausible plot for light summer reading. Blood, romance, rich kid - poor kid, social realism.

  26. 4 out of 5

    MetLineReader

    I absolutely loved this book. Jessica Fellowes evokes the 1920s very well and you are transported into the lives of The Mitfords. From humble beginnings in London, the nascent transport police on the Brighton line and service at The Mitfords, there are many strands to this tale. I must confesss that I found the initial chapters confusing but persisted and am very glad I did. I loved Louisa and the policemen who brought a more human angle to the book. Very enjoyable and a bit different - although, I absolutely loved this book. Jessica Fellowes evokes the 1920s very well and you are transported into the lives of The Mitfords. From humble beginnings in London, the nascent transport police on the Brighton line and service at The Mitfords, there are many strands to this tale. I must confesss that I found the initial chapters confusing but persisted and am very glad I did. I loved Louisa and the policemen who brought a more human angle to the book. Very enjoyable and a bit different - although, given the author's pedigree, it has echoes of Downton Abbey. It didn't really need the Mitfords but it does lend the book a thread that no doubt will be followed throughout the series. I look forward to the next book in the series.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Laura Lou

    This book started very slowly and took a long time to get more thrilling or interesting. But I did rather like the last third of the book and would have given three or maybe a generous four stars. However, having heard the afterward I was appalled. This book was an ugly merge of fact and fiction. Apparently this woman was murdered but the killer was never found. So this author just decided to make a real person the prime suspect and in the book the murderer? When in real life this person wasn’t This book started very slowly and took a long time to get more thrilling or interesting. But I did rather like the last third of the book and would have given three or maybe a generous four stars. However, having heard the afterward I was appalled. This book was an ugly merge of fact and fiction. Apparently this woman was murdered but the killer was never found. So this author just decided to make a real person the prime suspect and in the book the murderer? When in real life this person wasn’t a suspect? No. Be fiction or be nonfiction. This is awful.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Tracy

    I enjoyed this book. Some of it is farfetched but I was fooled on who the murderer was so it kept me guessing. I'll carry on with the series! I enjoyed this book. Some of it is farfetched but I was fooled on who the murderer was so it kept me guessing. I'll carry on with the series!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Abigail Bok

    This historical mystery is based on a real murder—that of Florence Nightingale’s goddaughter, Florence Nightingale Shore, in 1920. In real life the mystery was never solved, but Jessica Fellowes weaves an alternate reality where good wins out in the end. She does this by creating a nursemaid for the famous Mitford family, Louisa Cannon, and a young officer of the railway police, Guy Sullivan, who team up to solve the case. Guy is an especially appealing character, dreaming of building a better li This historical mystery is based on a real murder—that of Florence Nightingale’s goddaughter, Florence Nightingale Shore, in 1920. In real life the mystery was never solved, but Jessica Fellowes weaves an alternate reality where good wins out in the end. She does this by creating a nursemaid for the famous Mitford family, Louisa Cannon, and a young officer of the railway police, Guy Sullivan, who team up to solve the case. Guy is an especially appealing character, dreaming of building a better life than that of his laborer brothers. Louisa is the daughter of a washerwoman who winds up working for the Mitfords as she tries to escape from her lowlife uncle, who wants to shop her out to his friends to pay his debts. This is a capable mystery story set in the golden age of mysteries, but for me it lacked the color and energy of the stories written in the era. None of the characters really came to life for me, and the clash of above-stairs and below-stairs figures seemed underdrawn. The real Mitford daughters were an eccentric lot, but little of what they were to become is visible here. We hear about their hair and their dresses but little about their wit or politics. Louisa is reminded of her place from time to time, but I never really felt the degradation or constraints of her position in my bones. She didn’t seem particularly ignorant, either, though she must have been given her background and upbringing. I never really inhabited this story. Maybe that’s partly down to my mood, but I think it’s the writing.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Dawn Michelle

    While I gave this book 4 stars [I really like the characters, the mystery {based on real life} was very good and the narrator is excellent], I feel it could have been about 150 pages shorter. It really bogged down in the middle and it was hard to stay focused on what was going on [because I didn't really CARE about what was going on]. Ultimately, it was an very good read and I found out who the murderer was at the same time as Louisa and that made it all worthwhile. I also liked how the author h While I gave this book 4 stars [I really like the characters, the mystery {based on real life} was very good and the narrator is excellent], I feel it could have been about 150 pages shorter. It really bogged down in the middle and it was hard to stay focused on what was going on [because I didn't really CARE about what was going on]. Ultimately, it was an very good read and I found out who the murderer was at the same time as Louisa and that made it all worthwhile. I also liked how the author handled the threat of physical and sexual abuse especially in the time frame of this book - resources for women in that situation were practically nil and this book does a good job reflecting that [and the horrors of it - there are some very uncomfortable scenes in the book around this subject] and how Louisa reacted and the feeling of partial relief at her new job felt very real and compatible with the time frame. I recommend this book, but be ready for some slogginess towards the middle of the book. Otherwise, sit back and enjoy the ride.

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