In the Market for Murder is the second book in Lady Hardcastle mysteries. Lady Hardcastle and her maid, Florence Armstrong have moved from London to the village of Littleton Cotterell. After an adventurous past, the duo are now looking forward to spending some quiet time in the countryside.
A Quiet Walk in the Country turned out to be disastrous when the duo found a body in the middle of nowhere. As the mystery behind the murder ends, Emily Hardcastle is grievously injured. In the Market for Murder starts with Lady Hardcastle now recuperating from her injury. Gertie – Lady Farley-Stroud asks Emily invites to join her on a trip to the cattle market. A week later, one of the farmers dies while eating his pie at the pub.
By now, Lady Hardcastle and Flo’s adventures are well-known and the police have their hands full so they ask the ladies to solve the case. As the story proceeds, the duo also gets to solve the mystery behind a ghost lurking in the nearby pub and theft in the local Rugby club.
“They always say poison’s a woman’s weapon,” said Lady Hardcastle thoughtfully. But perhaps it’s a wet lettuce’s weapon too.”
If you like historical cozies then this is one series that you do not want to miss. Perhaps a tad slow for those who love fast-paced mysteries – based on few ratings and reviews from Goodreads – but I love this series. I like to experiment with genres and pacing so this is one such series that I would read… like, forever!
The one thing that catches your attention in this series is the bond that Lady Hardcastle and Flo share. They are like best friends rather than a Lady and her maid. Wherever Emil Hardcastle goes, she takes Flo with her – even insists that Flo sit at the same table that Emily does. Florence Armstrong is the narrator of the story.
“I should be delighted, my lady,” I said, getting up. “I shall fetch your coat.”
“And boots, hat, glvoes and stick, please, dear,” she called as I went out into the hall. “And a flask of brandy. And…”
I returned with the required items. “Would you like me to carry you as well, my lady?”
“I say, what a good idea,” she said. “But if you’re doing that, could we pop into the village, too – we could pick up a few things from the shops.”
Florence isn’t afraid of anything… anything except cattle. As the trio – Gertie, Emily and Flo reach the cattle market, Flo is wary of the bovines around her. And, as it happens in any auction, the cattle are bid for: ‘Her-ba-da-dip-dah-dip-dah-her-ba-da-HEY-ba-da-dip-dah-dip-dah…’
I have kept my expectations high for every book in this series. The only reason I am giving this book a 4 is because the duo took their own sweet time to solve the mystery behind Caradine’s murder. The seance`, ghosts and spirits, and Mr Nelson Snelson’s mystery was something that I could do without reading. The theft in the rugby club was also an additional detail/mystery that was not necessary. But, I guess, without these side stories, the main mystery would have been dull and boring.
Constable Hancock. Sergeant Dobson and Inspector Sunderland make an appearance in this story too. There were a lot of characters and I had a hard time remembering all their names. But it didn’t matter much as they made a guest appearance of sorts (except for Sir Hector and Gertie, that is).
Overall, this was an interesting and entertaining read. The silly talks between Flo and Emily made me giggle. The duo keep mentioning their previous adventures – of China and Budapest and Calcutta – and I wish at least one of these is revealed to the readers in the future stories. I really want to know what made them flee for their lives in the middle of the night when they were in Budapest!! In the first book, there is a gist of what happened in China but I want every minute detail of it – including the monk who taught Flo a trick or two.
Anjana is also a fan of this series. You can read her opinion of In the Market for Murder here.
Writing Style: 4.5/5
Character Development: 4/5
Overall Rating: 4/5
Title: In the Market for Murder (Lady Hardcastle Mysteries #2)
Author: T E Kinsey
Published on: 20th December 2016
Genre: Cozy Mystery(Historical)
Featured Image Credits: Goodreads