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Review: An Infamous Betrayal

An Infamous Betrayal: A Regency Cozy audiobook cover. An elegant silhouette of a lady on a green and gold filigree background. An Infamous Betrayal: A Regency Cozy by Lynn Messina.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Duration: 7hrs 50mins.
#BennetSistersScale: Lizzy - 🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹 Once again, Bea is back defying convention.

An Infamous Betrayal, Beatrice Hyde-Clare Mysteries Book 3 by Lynn Messina is a lively, cosy mystery series set in Regency England.

Confirmed spinster and unapologetic bluestocking Beatrice Hyde-Clare has come a long way in the months since she solved her first murder. Not only has she made something of a name for herself as a competent investigator, but she has been adopted into society in a way no one who knew her could ever have expected. Whilst Bea can now hold a half-decent conversation with the ladies of the Ton, and even has a sponsor for Almack's, there is one skill she is yet to master; how to rid her mind - and heart - of the pesky Duke who dominates her thoughts and emotions, despite her best efforts to resist him. When the young Lord Skeffington arrives at her door with a proposal, Bea hopes the distraction will banish the Duke of Kesgrave from her contemplations for long enough to stop being so inconveniently in love with him. And so it might, had he not decided to investigate the mystery as well...
Having very much enjoyed the previous books in the series, A Brazen Curiosity, and A Scandalous Deception, I was very much looking forward to Bea's third adventure. Listening to the new book in a favourite series is like catching up with an old friend, and it was lovely to hear from so many familiar faces in Bea's latest outing.

As with the previous novel, I did feel that a little too much of this book was devoted to recapping previous events in greater detail than necessary. It is such a tricky balance to strike, though, and this time the references and recollections were woven into the narrative much better, rather than dominating the first few chapters.

The humour in this book was much more evident, with Bea and Kesgrave's growing familiarity allowing for more of their teasing and sparring. Despite - or perhaps because of - their differences, I found them to be a very likeable partnership and it was nice to see it become a little more equal. I enjoyed the direction it took but did feel that the ending was a little abrupt. Lady Victoria's role was left almost as a 'teaser' and the set up to the next mystery felt like something of a cliffhanger. It was a shame that so much of the novel was given over to recounting the plots of the earlier books, when that time would have been more gratifying had it been spent detailing the new developments.

I adored the forthright, formidable Dowager Duchess and was disappointed she did not feature more prominently. I hope that the next book in the series will give her the opportunity to shine. Given her biting candour, perhaps she will pull Bea up on her overuse of the descriptions "incomparable" and "a diamond of the first water".

Narrator Jill Smith's performance has grown in confidence and vibrancy with each book in the series, and she brings every character to life with a distinct, recognisable personality that remains consistent throughout the series. After the difficulties with the first book, I was very uncertain about this narrator continuing the series but three books in I am very glad that the author, Lynn Messina, decided to stick with Smith. An interesting Irish accent aside, their dedication to bringing the books to audio in a manner that is as faithful as it is entertaining is evident, and the quality of this most recent recording is a testament to their efforts and research.

The book does contain some niggling mispronunciations, the most notable of which were "thorough," "en route," "cloisonné," and the recurring "whilst," but they were far fewer in number and much less egregious than in previous books. I am now able to sit back and simply enjoy Smith's performance, without being constantly aware that she is acting. I have been impressed by the improvement with each successive novel.

I would recommend this audiobook to anyone who has enjoyed Miss Hyde-Clare's previous investigations, and would gladly endorse the series as a whole as being perfect for fans of cosy mysteries and Regency romance. I'd suggest listening to the series from the beginning rather than starting with this audiobook, however, as whilst it could technically function as a standalone novel, the periodic recapping thoroughly spoils the earlier mysteries if one hoped to return to them.

My reviews of the previous books in this series can be found here:

*I received this audiobook free of charge in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.

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