Death Below Stairs

· A Below Stairs Mystery Book 1 · Sold by Penguin
4.1
20 reviews
Ebook
336
Pages
Eligible

About this ebook

Victorian class lines are crossed when cook Kat Holloway is drawn into a murder that reaches all the way to the throne.

Highly sought-after young cook Kat Holloway takes a position in a Mayfair mansion and soon finds herself immersed in the odd household of Lord Rankin. Kat is unbothered by the family’s eccentricities as long as they stay away from her kitchen, but trouble finds its way below stairs when her young Irish assistant is murdered. 

Intent on discovering who killed the helpless kitchen maid, Kat turns to the ever-capable Daniel McAdam, who is certainly much more than the charming delivery man he pretends to be. Along with the assistance of Lord Rankin’s unconventional sister-in-law and a mathematical genius, Kat and Daniel discover that the household murder was the barest tip of a plot rife with danger and treason—one that’s a threat to Queen Victoria herself.
4.1
20 reviews
Janet B
January 6, 2018
Highly sought-after young cook Kat Holloway takes a position in a Mayfair mansion of Lord & Lady Rankin and soon finds herself immersed in the odd household. Kat is unbothered by the family’s eccentricities as long as they stay away from her kitchen, but trouble finds its way below stairs when her young Irish assistant, Sinead is murdered. Kat turns to the ever-capable Daniel McAdam, who is certainly much more than the charming delivery man he pretends to be. Along with the assistance of Lord Rankin’s unconventional sister-in-law Cynthia and a mathematical genius, Kat and Daniel discover that the household murder was the barest tip of a plot rife with danger and treason, one that’s a threat to Queen Victoria herself. A well written page turning book that had twists & turns throughout it & the murderer was a surprise to me. The characters were well developed, Kat & Daniel are very likeable as are the secondary characters. The pace of the story was very good & kept me engrossed & I look forward to more stories about the crime solving duo & ultimately finding out who exactly Daniel is. I particularly liked the way the author drip fed information about Kat & Daniel that only my interest grow. Definitely a keeper & one to reread My honest review is for a special copy I voluntarily read
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Sheila Melo
January 3, 2018
FINAL DECISION: A lively main character combined with a far reaching mystery and the presence of a man with many secrets makes this Victorian historical mystery an enjoyable read. THE STORY: Cook Kat Holloway has found herself a new position which almost immediately embroils her in the murder of one of the servants. Determined to discover who has murdered the young girl, Kat asks for help from her friend/acquaintance Daniel McAdams, a man with a lot of secrets. Kat and Daniel's search takes them far from the murder of an Irish servant to the possibility of treason. OPINION: I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I began reading mysteries and I always liked the ones with relationships between the "detectives" and this book fits right in that tradition. While the mystery is interesting and keeps the pace of the story lively, what I really love about this book is the strength and independence of Kat and her relationship with the mysterious Daniel. Kat is strong and lively and I loved reading about her struggles. Unlike most women in historical novels, Kat works hard every day and has a career that she has created for herself. It is interesting to read about her daily life and the status differences "below stairs". The struggles and limitations on women of all status is emphasized here. Daniel's character is also intriguing as he has plenty of secrets that are slowly revealed -- although not all of them are uncovered in this book. He is a good match for Kat and his obvious caring and concern for her even while they are friends makes their romance a slow burn but an interesting one. The cast of characters, which includes the offspring of both Kat and Daniel, are tossed into a high stakes mystery. Like all good murder suspense stories, this one begins with what seems to be an insignificant death and eventually turns into quite a big deal through a series of twisty plot turns. I enjoyed the mystery as well as the romance in this one. Everything meshed so well so that all the interesting characters were given something important to do in the unfolding plot, but no one seemed out of place. I enjoyed this one and would read it again to see all the little turns that I missed. WORTH MENTIONING: This is a continuing series where the romance between Kat and Daniel is slow moving and part of the continuing storylines of the series with a book emphasis on a particular mystery. CONNECTED BOOKS: DEATH BELOW STAIRS is the first novel in the Kat Holloway Murders series. There is a prequel book that introduces the characters. While it is not necessary to read that novella first, it certainly provides some background to the characters here. STAR RATING: I give this book 4.5 stars. NOTE: I received an ARC of this book via First to Read by applying points that I earned. I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.
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Kristina Anderson
January 8, 2018
Death Below Stairs by Jennifer Ashley is the first installment in A Below Stairs Mystery series (also called Kat Holloway Mysteries). Mrs. Kat Holloway is twenty-nine years old and a cook in London (1881). She has just obtained a position at Lord and Lady Rankin’s home in Mayfair. Kat comes down to work the next morning to discover her assistant dead in the larder. Kat sends for the mysterious Daniel McAdam to assist her in uncovering what happened to the poor girl. The eccentric Lady Cynthia (Lady Rankin’s sister) joins them on their quest to discover what happened. It seems that Kat’s assistant had gotten herself involved with the wrong people. What had the young woman come across that got her murdered? Death Below Stairs had my attention for the first couple of chapters, but then it became tedious (I wish the whole book had been like the beginning). The author is overly descriptive. Every little detail is provided. It does create a rich environment (reminds me of the show Upstairs Downstairs). Readers are given detailed accounts of clothing, how Kat sharpened her knives (more than once), how Kat prepares each dish, description of rooms, people, buildings, etc. The pace was glacial, and the book did not hold my attention. The murder mystery was interesting, but it was not the main focus of the book. The mystery took them into the world of the Fenians. I found some parts of this section to be implausible. I believe many people will be surprised by the killer’s identity. I was curious how Kat was able to run around looking for a killer. Most cooks are busy from the moment they enter the kitchen in the morning until late at night. Kat, who just started her position, manages to run around London and then take several days off in the pursuit of answers. It was also odd that she never consulted the lady of the house regarding meals. Most cooks met once a week with their employer to discuss the meals for the upcoming week (food had to be ordered by the housekeeper). Kat is an interesting character. She has a secret that could ruin her and her career. Daniel McAdam is an enigma. We are given scant details on him. After I began Death Below Stairs, I felt I was missing something. It did not feel like the first book in the series. After a little research, I found that there is a prequel titled A Soupcon of Poison. Events from the prequel are alluded to in Death Below Stairs. Death Below Stairs felt more like a romance novel (at times) than a mystery. Kat and Daniel are attracted to each other. We get to hear how attractive Daniel is and how his kisses make her “lips tingle” (many, many times). The author tried to put too much into this one book. I wish she had stuck with the murder mystery and excluded the plot to eliminate Queen Victoria and the Fenians.
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About the author

Jennifer Ashley is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Death Below Stairs; the Shifters Unbound paranormal romances, including Red Wolf and Guardian’s Mate; and the Mackenzies historical romances, including The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie and The Stolen Mackenzie Bride. Winner of a Romance Writers of America RITA Award, she also writes as USA Today bestselling mystery author Ashley Gardner. She lives in the Southwest with her husband and cats, and spends most of her time in the wonderful worlds of her stories.

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