Lady Emily Hardcastle and her maid Florence Armstrong are invited to the race by Lord Riddlethorpe. Lord R owns a racing track and there is a friendly racing competition amongst his friends – 4 cars, 4 men and 4 women. Men win the toss and go first On the second lap, one of the racers loses control of the car and rams it into a tree. He’s killed instantly.
The police are called in and they rule it as an accident. But Lady Hardcastle has her doubts. On further inspection of the car, it is found that the brakes were tampered with. If this goes out to the press, Lord R’s name will be ruined so he asks Emily and Flo to investigate.
Lady Hardcastle Mystery series is one of my favourite historical cozies. As usual, Lady H and Flo are being very friendly with each other (no surprises here!) Harry, Lady H’s brother, is also with them so there’s a lot of brother-sister teasing going on. Flo is treated as an equal and is allowed to take part in the race too – but she’s not allowed to sit at the dinner table with the rest of the guests. Flo doesn’t mind this either so… *shrugs*
Lady Lavinia (Lord R’s sister) and her friends are also present. While Miss Titmus (Titmouse, as she’s called) us friendly and shy while Mrs Beddows is downright rude and arrogant! She never misses a chance to belittle everyone, her main target being her maid Betty or her friend Miss Titmus. Betty and Flo share a servant’s room and gel well with each other.
I have very high expectations from this series. I guess it’s okay to keep such a high expectation, especially when it’s a series that you really like. 😉 So, taking that into consideration, I would say that Death Around the Bend was a tad slow. Also, there wasn’t much of sleuthing as there were in the other books in this series.
A couple of red herrings are surely going to take you on a wrong direction – especially if you are the kind of reader who likes to play detective and solve the crime before the main character in the story does!
In my previous reviews, I *cough* whined * cough* about how the reader is given glimpses of Lady Hardcastle and Flo’s previous adventures but the details are still missing. I got to know a few things about Lady Hardcastle’s role in serving her country – more details on this is in the next book.
Most of the servants at Lord R’s house are in awe of Lady Hardcastle and Flo’s amateur sleuthing skills. But there were many such instances and this made the story a bit draggy.
The ending is brilliant. The climax keeps you on the edge of your seat. I couldn’t identify the killer until Flo’s light-bulb-moment but then, I usually don’t play detective while reading a story so it didn’t matter much. 😉
A few more details that caught my attention in the story – ironing a newspaper (to dry the ink??); Different dresses for breakfast, lunch, tea, dinner, tennis and whatnot. Phew! I am very lucky that I wasn’t born in the early 1900s 😉 I cannot think of changing five to six dresses every day! That too, all those painfully tight corsets and heavy skirts and all.. nopity nope!
Anjana is also a fan of this series. You can read her review of Death Around the Bend here.
Writing Style: 4.5/5
Character Development: 4/5
Overall Rating: 4.25/5
Title: Death Around the Bend (Lady Hardcastle Mysteries #3)
Author: T E Kinsey
Published on: 8th June 2017
Genre: Historical Cozy
Featured Image Credits: Goodreads