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Short & Sweet Review: Death Around the Bend

Death Around the Bend audiobook cover. The view through some trees to a road and a turn-of-the-century motor car.
Death Around the Bend by T E Kinsey.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Duration: 8 hrs 36 mins.
Publisher: Brilliance Audio.

Death Around the Bend - A Lady Hardcastle Mystery, Book 3 by T. E. Kinsey is another garrulous adventure for Emily and Flo, as they bimble about countryside society sticking their noses everywhere they don't belong.

Audible Summary: "When Lady Hardcastle and her maid, Florence, are invited to Lord Riddlethorpe's country estate for a week of motor racing and parties, they both agree it sounds like a perfectly charming holiday. But when one of the drivers dies in a crash during the very first race, they discover that what seemed like an uncharacteristic error in judgement may have a more sinister explanation... Closer investigation reveals that the driver's car was sabotaged - and the driver murdered. The local constabulary are quick to dismiss the case, but Flo and Lady Hardcastle are determined to find out just who has committed this dastardly act, and why.

As the pair begin to make enquiries of Lord Riddlethorpe's servants and guests, it seems that, below stairs and above, there is more to this case than meets the eye. And, even in the quiet of the countryside, death is always just around the bend.

©2017 T E Kinsey (P)2017 Brilliance Publishing Inc., all rights reserved.."

I can always rely on the Lady Hardcastle Mysteries to cheer me up, for nothing ever seems to fluster the amiable Emily Hardcastle and her loyal ladies maid. Having grown up in the circus, Lady Hardcastle's companion is useful for more than just repairing her gowns and arranging luncheon, which is especially fortunate given the pair's penchant for finding trouble. This time around we're treated to a traditional House Party murder-mystery, and not all the guests will make it through their country sojourn.

Packed with all the charm and humour of the previous books in the series, it didn't take me long to settle back into Kinsey's world and view the characters as old friends. The murders had enough twists and turns to keep me guessing for a while, and the conclusion - whilst not surprising - was satisfying. There's a cosiness to this series that means they are always relaxing, even when they're tempting me to sacrifice an hour's sleep to squeeze in one more chapter! As Lord Riddlethorpe so eloquently puts it, "Suffering is good for the immortal soul, and hers needs all the help it can get."

In this book I especially identified with "poor Miss Titmus", whose lack of confidence always left her a little overshadowed by her friends, except when pursuing her hobbies. When Lady Hardcastle asked her "Is this new, all this photography lark?" and she said "No, not really. I believe the first photographs were taken in the 1820s..." I felt her well-intentioned pedantry a little too keenly...

This audiobook has also furnished me with my favourite new expression, "Sharp as a hedgehog's overcoat", which I shall be using as frequently as I can.

The narrator, Elizabeth Knowelden, once again gave a lively and articulate performance. She handled the voices for all the characters very well especially given that there were several upper-class ladies and gentlemen of the same ages and backgrounds to try and make distinct, and neither muddled their voices in her reading nor left me confused over which who meant to be speaking.

I'd recommend this audiobook to everyone who thinks they would enjoy lighthearted cozy mysteries with a pinch of P. G. Wodehouse, and anyone who enjoys stories with humour, heart, and plenty of amateur sleuthing.

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.

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