Harm for the Holidays by Katherine H. Brown

Title: Harm for the Holidays (Annabeth Watson Historical Cozy Mystery novella #1)

Author: Katherine H. Brown

Genre: Cozy Mystery

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Rating: 4 out of 5.

Having lost her post as a governess, Annabeth Watson returns home. When she left home five years ago, her father was not happy with Annabeth’s decision. He wanted her to marry and settle down – marry the lecherous Lord Gresham. Annabeth and her sister Caroline are not on friendly terms either. The reason for this hostility is unknown to Annabeth though…

Annabeth learns her mother is hosting a party. The party is supposedly going to end with Caroline’s engagement – many bachelors are invited too in the hope that Caroline will choose one to be her husband. The day after the party, Annabeth finds one of the house maids (Bettie) dead in Caroline’s room. The police are called in and Bettie’s death is declared as accidental. But Annabeth has her doubts, after all, she found a cufflink in the room – suggesting there was a man in her sister’s room; a man who might have killed Bettie…

Harm for the Holidays is the first book (novella) in Katherine H. Brown’s Annabeth Watson Historical Cozy Mystery series.

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The story starts with Annabeth returning home. All the way home, she was preparing herself for the worst; her father was angry when Annabeth decided to leave home 5 years ago in search of work. Annabeth is pretty sure she’s going to hear a lot of “I told you so” for the next few days. Instead, she learns of a party her mother’s organizing and everybody is busy prepping for it.

At the party, Annabeth meets Lord Wright. The next day, Annabeth finds maid Bettie dead. When Annabeth voices her opinion on Bettie’s death being a murder and not an accident, Lord Wright decides to help her solve the mystery.

It is pretty clear there’s some spark between Annabeth and Lord Wright. When Annabeth comes face-to-face with the killer, it’s a damsel-in-distress-handsome-prince-to-the-rescue kinda scenario.

Though a novella (68 pages in length), the character introduction was impressive. As the first in the series, the reader is given a gist of what to expect – Annabeth as an amateur sleuth and Lord Wright as her love interest. Though a short story, Annabeth’s sleuthing skill is excellent.

Overall, Harm for the Holidays by Katherine H. Brown is an impressive start to a brand new historical cozy mystery series. I am looking forward to reading more of Annabeth’s sleuthing adventures and hopefully, as a full-length novel next time.

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