A Mystery for Downton Abbey Fans

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Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman is Tessa Arlen’s first mystery, and it is quite enjoyable.  The murder is set in a large country house during a lavish weekend party.  The time frame is just after Edward VII’s death and before World War I, and in the background it is clear that many things are changing in England and for the characters in this book.  The murder causes Lady Montfort and her housekeeper Mrs. Jackson to consult and work together in a damage control effort.  This is an interesting partnership, and in general the interplay between Upstairs and Downstairs is entertaining.  I found Mrs. Jackson to be the most interesting character, but the Lady Montfort character also held some surprises.  This is a relatively light book and a quick read, so I would have found it helpful to have a Cast of Characters section at the beginning of the book.  All the lords and ladies were confusing.  It was difficult enough to keep track of the host family and its staff, but the aristocratic visitors frequently appeared without introduction.  That small reservation aside, if you like Downton Abbey and enjoy light period mysteries, this is a very good read.

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