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Review: A Quiet Life In The Country

A Quiet Life In The Country audiobook cover. A stylised view of a country house through trees. An elegant woman and a maid stand before it and there are jewels and a rope woven into the trees. A Quiet Life In The Country by T E Kinsey.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Duration: 7 hrs 43 mins.

A Quiet Life in the Country - A Lady Hardcastle Mystery, Book 1 by T. E. Kinsey is a cosy mystery with a lot of character and an incorrigible sense of humour.

Lady Emily Hardcastle is an eccentric widow with a secret past. Florence Armstrong, her maid and confidante, is an expert in martial arts. The year is 1908 and they’ve just moved from London to the country, hoping for a quiet life.

But it is not long before Lady Hardcastle is forced out of her self-imposed retirement. There’s a dead body in the woods, and the police are on the wrong scent. Lady Hardcastle makes some enquiries of her own, and it seems she knows a surprising amount about crime investigation…
I was initially a little uncertain about this book, as the narrative style felt a little distant and reserved despite the characters' personalities being far less formal or conventional than the manner in which they were introduced. It reminded me a little of the way Holmes' investigations are reported from Watson's perspective, but without their easy charm. (Though there was an amusing little dig at Conan-Doyle later in the book, without being too explicit.)

I wasn't at all sure if I was going to warm to this audiobook, but I finally began to settle into the story about half-way through when the ladies commenced their investigation alongside the Inspector. However, once Lady Hardcastle and Miss Armstrong felt like friends, the book became very enjoyable. It was easy to listen to and the assortment of entangled mysteries were compelling. Whilst the resolution to their investigations was not a surprise, there were plenty of tortuous twists and turns along the way to keep it interesting.

The narrator, Elizabeth Knowelden, performs the parts well, in a very lively but natural fashion, handling the various accents adroitly. Her narration is engaging but also relaxing enough that I could listen to this audiobook in the evenings.

For me, the best test of a new series comes in the moments after finishing it, and as I submitted my rating for this one I instantly purchased the next. I'd recommend this book to anyone who enjoys cosy mysteries, convention-defying female characters, and quaint English villages with an astonishingly high murder rate.

The Lady Hardcastle Mysteries in order are:

#2 - In the Market for Murder.
#3.5 - Christmas at the Grange.
#4 - A Picture of Murder. 
#5 - The Burning Issue of the Day.
#6 - Death Beside the Seaside.

(Click here to buy this book, listen to a sample, or add it to your wishlist!)

1 comment

  1. I listened to this a while ago, and loved it! I bought the second one immediately, too 😉


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