Murder Most Studious by L.M. Thornburg

Title: Murder Most Studious (An Alice Stewart Mystery #1)

Author: L.M. Thornburg

Published on: 11 June 2021

Genre: Cozy Mystery

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Rating: 4 out of 5.

Murder Most Studious is the first book in L. M. Thornburg‘s Alice Stewart Mystery series.

“I’ve been to plenty of funerals, but tripping over a dead body in the fog is something much different. It was so unexpected. I still can’t believe it really happened.”

Alice Stewart needs a change. She recently broke-up with her long-time boyfriend after he had a chat with her about his future plans – not interested in getting married or having kids. Alice hears about a vacancy at Ashbourne Ladies College in GB and decides to apply. Fast forward to the present, Alice is at the college’s doorstep, waiting in the freezing rain for someone to open the door and let her in.

Alice befriends a fellow teacher, Freya, and two other staff members – Cat and Samantha the next day. They go to a pub that evening and are witnesses to an argument between a couple. The husband is Professor Brigg, a fellow lecturer at Ashbourne college and is notoriously known for being handsy. The next day, Alice is out for a run when she stumbles across something and falls – she looks back and realizes she stumbled across a dead body. The victim is Professor Brigg.


Murder Most Studious is an impressive cozy series debut. I really loved the setting, the series plot and the characters. A dash of romance makes the story charming.

Alice Stewart is in Great Britain and is looking forward to starting her career as a Literature Professor at Ashbourne Ladies College. She misses her family back in the US but she’s here not only for a change (after the breakup and whatnot) but also to research her Scottish heritage.

What Alice does not expect is finding a dead body less than two days after joining her new job. What’s more? The police have only one suspect – Alice. She’s questioned and let off after no evidence is found to suggest she is guilty. Alice befriends three women (all staff at the college) – Freya, Cat and Samantha. From her new friends, Alice learns Professor Briggs was harassing few of his colleagues, Samantha being one of his ‘victims’.


Soon, the news of finding a suicide letter in Brigg’s office spreads around. Alice is not convinced the man killed himself so she decides to poke her nose where it does not belong – classic amateur sleuth move! Alice talks to Freya about a trip to Edinburgh. The four women plan a weekend in Edinburgh and Alice ends up meeting Malcolm – a potential love interest – in Scotland.

The writing is crisp and clear. Character development is good – although, I wish there were more details on Alice’s background (more than what’s mentioned in the book). Though a first in the series, the spotlight is on mystery behind the murder… and, romance of course. 🙂 Alice and Malcolm share a sweet relationship and I am curious to know what’s next for the newly-in-love couple.

Murder Most Studious is an engaging and engrossing cozy mystery. I am looking forward to reading the next book in this series. If you are a cozy mystery fan and love mysteries with academic setting, you might want to give Murder Most Studious by L. M. Thornburg a read.

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