Rummanah Aasi
  Today I'm wrapping up my Death by Gaslight reading challenge. This challenge has allowed to discover new a sub-genre of historical mysteries that I haven't ventured before in my reads. Through this challenge I discovered some wonderful series and great authors. Today I have mini-reviews of the second and third book of the highly entertaining Lady Emily series by Tasha Alexander as well as Two Crafty Criminals, a middle grade book, by Philip Pullman. 

Description: London's social season is in full swing, and Victorian aristocracy is atwitter over a certain gentleman who claims to be the direct descendant of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. Adding to their fascination with all things French, an audacious cat burglar is systematically stealing valuable items that once belonged to the ill--fated queen. But things take a dark turn. The owner of one of the pilfered treasures is found murdered after the theft is reported in the newspapers, and the mysterious thief develops a twisted obsession with Lady Emily Ashton. It takes all of Lady Emily's wit and perseverance to unmask her stalker and ferret out the murderer, while faced with a brewing scandal that threatens both her reputation and her romance with the dashing Colin Hargreaves.

Review:  Blending romance and historical mystery, the Lady Emily series is highly entertaining. Rich, young widow Lady Emily Ashton occasionally has tea with the queen, but she isn't your conventional Victorian lady. She may appear pretty and poised, but her preference for port and cigars, her devotion to both popular novels and classic Greek literature, her involvement in solving the mystery of her husband's death, and not to mention her flirtatious relationship with the debonaire Colin Hargreaves have made her the subject of plenty of gossip. Her forthright opinions stir up trouble and raises eyebrows once again when she becomes curious about the theft of several items once owned by Marie Antoinette and a new "gentleman" on the social scene, who claims to be an heir to the throne of France. Though Lady Emily is far from realistic, I adore her tenacity, wit, and charm. Alexander's witty treatment of the trivial pursuits of the aristocracy made me chuckle in several occasions. The mystery is engaging and had me guessing throughout the entire book. I also absolutely loved the banter and romance between Emily and handsome Colin Hargreaves. Readers looking for a light mystery with a good dose of romance should definitely try this series out.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: The book is relatively clean, however, there are mentions of the philandering Mr. Charles Berry. Recommended to teens and adults who enjoy historical mysteries.

If you like this book try: Fatal Waltz (Lady Emily #3) by Tasha Alexander, Lady Julia Grey series by Deanna Raybourne, Gaslight Mysteries by Victoria Thompson, Thomas Pitt series by Anne Perry


Description: When her friend's husband is wrongfully accused of murder, Lady Emily searches for answers from London's glittering ballrooms to Vienna's sordid alleys.

Review: Lady Emily Ashton is back in her third episode of romantic suspense set in the Victorian world of mannerly gentlemen, conniving mothers, and scandals behind closed doors. Out of the three books I've read from this series so far, I felt A Fatal Waltz was much stronger. The murder mystery is much more serious as it could lead to the death of two highly important characters, including Lady Emily's love interest. In the last two books, we have seen Lady Emily be very confident in her skills but she is now constantly tested in this book as she meets Colin's past love interest and skillful partner, the worldly Kristiana von Lange. It was nice to see Emily's vulnerabilities shine through as well as travel to Vienna for some excitement. This is a captivating addition to this fun series and I really can't wait to see if Lady Emily and Colin take the next step in their relationship.

Rating: 4 stars


Words of Caution: The book is relatively clean, however, there are mentions of the aristocrats who have an open marriage. Recommended to teens and adults who enjoy historical mysteries.

If you like this book try: Tears of Pearl (Lady Emily #4) by Tasha Alexander, Lady Julia Grey series by Deanna Raybourne, Gaslight Mysteries by Victoria Thompson, Thomas Pitt series by Anne Perry


Description: Eleven-year-old Benny Kaminsky leads a rag-tag gang of neighborhood children as they use improbable disguises and crazy ruses while investigating such crimes as counterfeiting and stolen silver in 1894 London.

Review: Originally published as two separate stories in Britain, Two Crafty Criminals gives us two stories featuring the New Cut Gang, a group of young mischief-makers, rules the streets of late-19th-century London and solves mysteries. In the first case, "Thunderbolt" Dobney and the rest of the gang investigate a coin counterfeiting resurgence. Things get more serious when Thunderbolt's father is arrested, and it is up to the kids to clear his name and find the real criminal. The second story has them finding the crook who stole the gas-fitter's silver. This case intersects at many points with some of the more impish members' attempts to win a bet by setting up two of their neighbors. These two stories reminded me a lot of the old Scooby Doo cartoons. They are charming, fun, light, and wholesome. The focus is more on plot rather than character development. This would be a good choice for a classroom read-aloud.

Rating: 3 stars

Words of Caution: None. Recommended for Grades 3 and up.


If you like this book try: Diamond of Drury Lane by Julia Golding, Horton Halfpott by Tom Angleberger
2 Responses
  1. Jenny Says:

    I've never heard of the Tasha Alexander series Rummanah, but it sounds really great! I think Lady Emily is someone I could easily support, even though she's not realistic:) Also, yay for romance!


  2. Candace Says:

    Oh those first two sound good! I haven't read a historical mystery in ages! I don't think I have heard of these. I'm off to look up the series...


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