Murder in Postscript
reviewed by Pam Guynn
Mary Winters has penned the first book in a new series featuring Victorian era countess Amelia Amesbury and is set in London, England. This cozy historical mystery, Murder in PostScript, features great characterization and a view into the lives of the class system that existed as a backdrop to an investigation.
Amelia is a widow as well as the mother and guardian of her late husband’s niece, Winifred. She also secretly writes the Lady Agony column for a London penny paper. When a lady’s maid, who believes her mistress was murdered, asks Lady Agony to meet her, Amelia agrees, albeit in disguise. She’s determined to solve the case with the help of her best friend Kitty, and a marquis friend of her husband’s family, Simon Bainbridge.
Amelia is honest and forthright. She stands by her convictions, and she’s outspoken when she feels strongly about something. The remaining characters aren’t as dynamic, but have complex traits that may be expanded upon in future books in the series. I enjoyed the interactions between the various characters and am looking forward to seeing how they develop in future novels.
Readers can easily understand why Amelia is bored and looks forward to the afternoon post which enables her to provide advice on fashion, relationships, and manners anonymously. Initially, only her friend Kitty and her childhood friend, Grady Armstrong, who is the editor of the penny magazine, know that Amelia is Lady Agony.
The author is a wonderful storyteller and I found myself progressing effortlessly through the narrative. With plenty of levels to the plot and several red herrings and twists, the story kept me engaged throughout. Multiple believable suspects with realistic motives give readers the opportunity to solve the mystery along with Amelia and her friends. Most of the action is relegated to the end of the book, but I enjoyed the journey. While the main mystery is solved, there was a thread that I wanted to be resolved that wasn’t. Hopefully, it will be pursued in a future book. There’s also the hint of a possible romance to be explored in the series. Themes include murder, friendship, family, infidelity, integrity, and much more.
Overall, this entertaining story contained humor as well as some somber aspects to it. It grabbed my attention with likeable characters, a mystery to be solved, and a society that was undergoing changes. The Author’s Note at the end of the book provides some history of advice columns and how they changed over time. I’m looking forward to reading more books by this author.
Berkley Publishing Group and Mary Winters provided a complimentary digital ARC of this novel via NetGalley. All opinions expressed in this review are my own. The publication date is currently set for March 28, 2023.
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