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Past Crimes: A Compendium of Historical Mysteries

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Step into the past through three historical mysteries that reach from Imperial Rome to Victorian London. A Soupçon of Poison (Kat Holloway Victorian Mysteries) Kat Holloway, a young cook who is highly sought after by the wealthy of Victorian London, becomes embroiled in murder and must clear her name. Only the mysterious Daniel McAdam, who is much more than he seems, can Step into the past through three historical mysteries that reach from Imperial Rome to Victorian London. A Soupçon of Poison (Kat Holloway Victorian Mysteries) Kat Holloway, a young cook who is highly sought after by the wealthy of Victorian London, becomes embroiled in murder and must clear her name. Only the mysterious Daniel McAdam, who is much more than he seems, can come to her aid. Blood Debts (Leonidas the Gladiator Mysteries) Leonidas, freedman, once the most popular gladiator in Rome and champion of the games, now must fight for his life outside the arena. A man who owed him money was murdered, and Leonidas is a prime suspect. With the assistance of Cassia, daughter of a Greek scribe who has been bestowed upon him as his slave, Leonidas fights for justice in the back lanes of Imperial Rome. The Necklace Affair (Captain Lacey Regency Mysteries) Captain Lacey agrees to help a society matron discover what has become of her cherished diamond necklace and to clear her maid, who has been arrested for its theft. Lacey quickly becomes enmeshed in scandal and past secrets, and finds himself competing with the underworld criminal, James Denis, for the necklace's retrieval. This collection includes three novellas of about 25,000-30,000 words each.


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Step into the past through three historical mysteries that reach from Imperial Rome to Victorian London. A Soupçon of Poison (Kat Holloway Victorian Mysteries) Kat Holloway, a young cook who is highly sought after by the wealthy of Victorian London, becomes embroiled in murder and must clear her name. Only the mysterious Daniel McAdam, who is much more than he seems, can Step into the past through three historical mysteries that reach from Imperial Rome to Victorian London. A Soupçon of Poison (Kat Holloway Victorian Mysteries) Kat Holloway, a young cook who is highly sought after by the wealthy of Victorian London, becomes embroiled in murder and must clear her name. Only the mysterious Daniel McAdam, who is much more than he seems, can come to her aid. Blood Debts (Leonidas the Gladiator Mysteries) Leonidas, freedman, once the most popular gladiator in Rome and champion of the games, now must fight for his life outside the arena. A man who owed him money was murdered, and Leonidas is a prime suspect. With the assistance of Cassia, daughter of a Greek scribe who has been bestowed upon him as his slave, Leonidas fights for justice in the back lanes of Imperial Rome. The Necklace Affair (Captain Lacey Regency Mysteries) Captain Lacey agrees to help a society matron discover what has become of her cherished diamond necklace and to clear her maid, who has been arrested for its theft. Lacey quickly becomes enmeshed in scandal and past secrets, and finds himself competing with the underworld criminal, James Denis, for the necklace's retrieval. This collection includes three novellas of about 25,000-30,000 words each.

30 review for Past Crimes: A Compendium of Historical Mysteries

  1. 5 out of 5

    Glen

    A pretty good trio of mysteries. In the first, a female chef during the Victorian era finds herself under suspicion for the murder of her employer. A rogue seems to be her only hope of escaping the rope. In the second, a retired Roman gladiator and his companion try to find out who murdered a moneychanger. The third is about an adventurer during the Regency era trying to find out what happened to a diamond necklace. All of these stories do a good job of introducing the property's setting, character A pretty good trio of mysteries. In the first, a female chef during the Victorian era finds herself under suspicion for the murder of her employer. A rogue seems to be her only hope of escaping the rope. In the second, a retired Roman gladiator and his companion try to find out who murdered a moneychanger. The third is about an adventurer during the Regency era trying to find out what happened to a diamond necklace. All of these stories do a good job of introducing the property's setting, characters, and milieu, and leave you wanting to read more. A good job by the author.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Sophia

    This is a lovely tasting tray of three novellas that showcase three of the author's historical mystery series: Ancient Rome for one and Regency England for the others. I'm always happy to give new to me historical mysteries a try so I was eager to dive in and sample them all. Soupcon of Poison #.5 Kat Holloway Series I enjoyed this introductory novella to the series that showcases Regency era cook, Kat Holloway and enigmatic 'more than he seems' jack of all trades, Daniel McAdams work a clever mur This is a lovely tasting tray of three novellas that showcase three of the author's historical mystery series: Ancient Rome for one and Regency England for the others. I'm always happy to give new to me historical mysteries a try so I was eager to dive in and sample them all. Soupcon of Poison #.5 Kat Holloway Series I enjoyed this introductory novella to the series that showcases Regency era cook, Kat Holloway and enigmatic 'more than he seems' jack of all trades, Daniel McAdams work a clever murder in which Kat is the prime suspect. There was background on Kat and just enough a teaser to the characters to get the reader eager for the rest of the series. It worked. The characters were engaging and the plot good. I'm ready for more. Blood Debts #1 Leonidas the Gladiator series A mystery set in ancient Rome was most welcome especially when the protagonist is a freed, retired gladiator named Leonidas and he must defend his innocence with the help of his bright and intelligent slave, Cassia. The author described the world so well and I loved both world-weary Leonidas who isn't impressed with his own fame and his exact and orderly Cassia. I can't wait for more mysteries in this series. The Necklace Affair #4.5 Captain Lacey series Captain Lacey is called upon to locate a stolen necklace and get an innocent maid freed of the charges. What seems at first more of a pathetic domestic squabble between rival women turns into something more as a crime lord, a tarnished French aristocrat, and an angry husband all approach Lacey adding further developments. I enjoyed my first introduction to the Captain Lacey series set in post-Napoleonic War Regency England for wounded former cavalry-man trying to make his way in life. So, I cannot believe my luck to stumble across not one, but three new series I want to devour now. I like the author's writing style, her attention to historical setting, and the clever mysteries. I can recommend this compendium of samples from three different series to other historical mystery fans.

  3. 5 out of 5

    SheLove2Read

    Three historical mysteries from author Jennifer Ashley (written under her pseudonyms). A Soupçon of Poison - (Kat Holloway Victorian Mysteries) - 5 stars I really enjoyed this one! Our heroine, Kat Holloway, is a 28 year old cook who is highly sought after by the Ton and royals alike. When she is framed for a murder she didn't commit, the mysterious Daniel McAdam comes to her rescue and helps her to solve the mystery. I liked that Kat wasn't perfect, and that Daniel is not who he says he is. It m Three historical mysteries from author Jennifer Ashley (written under her pseudonyms). A Soupçon of Poison - (Kat Holloway Victorian Mysteries) - 5 stars I really enjoyed this one! Our heroine, Kat Holloway, is a 28 year old cook who is highly sought after by the Ton and royals alike. When she is framed for a murder she didn't commit, the mysterious Daniel McAdam comes to her rescue and helps her to solve the mystery. I liked that Kat wasn't perfect, and that Daniel is not who he says he is. It made the mystery that much more compelling. I can't wait to read the next book in this series. Blood Debts - (Leonidas the Gladiator Mysteries) - 4 stars How often do you find yourself reading about characters set in Ancient Rome?! Leonidas is a former gladiator who has won his freedom - and a slave assistant named Cassia - from a mysterious benefactor. A man who owed him money was murdered, and Leonidas is a prime suspect, but with the help of Cassia, he clears his name and discovers the true villain. You can tell that Cassia is just a slave in name only as far as Leonidas is concerned. He feels protective of her in ways he doesn't understand. Cassia herself is an anomaly. She's a slave, originally from a Greek family, that knows how to read and write and she is wicked smart as well. I will definitely be on the lookout for more in this series. The Necklace Affair - (Captain Lacey Regency Mysteries) - 3 stars While the writing is stellar, I didn't enjoy the plot or like the characters as much as the two previous entries.

  4. 4 out of 5

    deana

    What did you do?! Damn you- I specifically did not want to get pulled into another series... What harm could these novellas do? Now, here I am , realizing I have plenty more to read. The characters are incredibly developed, the atmosphere described so perfectly that I lost myself in it all. Well done!!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Cara

    I wasn't wild about any of these novellas, each featuring a sleuth from a different historical mystery series authored by Ashley Gardner/Jennifer Ashley/Allyson James (why anyone needs more than one pseudonym is beyond me, especially when the connection between the three is public). "Blood Debts" introduces Leonidas the Gladiator, a recently freed gladiator in Nero's Rome with a mysterious benefactor who has paired him with a Greek slave, Cassia. "A Soupcon of Poison" introduces Kat Holloway, a I wasn't wild about any of these novellas, each featuring a sleuth from a different historical mystery series authored by Ashley Gardner/Jennifer Ashley/Allyson James (why anyone needs more than one pseudonym is beyond me, especially when the connection between the three is public). "Blood Debts" introduces Leonidas the Gladiator, a recently freed gladiator in Nero's Rome with a mysterious benefactor who has paired him with a Greek slave, Cassia. "A Soupcon of Poison" introduces Kat Holloway, a talented Victorian cook who has a flirtation with the mysterious Daniel McAdam and is unjustly accused of murdering her sleazy employer. Finally, "The Necklace Affair" visits Gardner's most-established character, Regency-era Capt. Lacey. I don't like that Gardner writes all of these in the first-person. First-person narrative keeps you firmly in the head of your narrator, so they had better be interesting. But Leonidas and Lacey, in particular, don't have a lot of personality. It's jut not that interesting to be in their heads. And though Kat has a bit more personality, she's not terribly compelling. Also, using this point-of-view provides an excuse to do an information dump by having the narrator "think" about current events, social conditions, etc., without doing the hard work of figuring out how to "show" it, instead. Leonidas' character is most annoying in this regard. He's constantly thinking about things that Cassia has explained to him (like who Augustus was). I'm not sure I believe that the most successful gladiator of his time, even if he spent the majority of his life in slavery, really knows so little about the city in which he's lived (particularly as he notes that he was able to leave his ludus to take odd jobs, etc.). If the character has a distinctive voice/personality, it makes the inevitable information dump far less obvious and far more enjoyable. For example, Lindsey Davis' Marcus Didius Falco mysteries have a lot of historical context to deliver, but Falco is such a distinct character that the information dumps feel organic. I'm also not a big fan of the obvious "mystery" in a narrator's life. For Leonidas and Cassia, it's obvious that the identity of their benefactor is going to matter very much at some point and be a major plot point. For Kat, it's the mysterious McAdams who is not what he seems but always seems to be able to pull a rabbit out of a hat. I have my suspicions about his true identity (if not a name, at least his likely social class and profession), but I'm not sufficiently intrigued to keep reading to find out if I'm right. Gardner's a competent writer and plotter, but not really original or surprising. There's nothing to significantly dislike in these stories, but also not much to love.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Ted Tayler

    "Let the past stay in the past" At first, this seemed a reasonable method of introducing readers to the attractions of historical novels. Take three widely differing eras and produce examples/excerpts to encourage people to purchase one of the series. I don't profess to understand why this author felt the need to write under different names? That's just confusing, as the writing style in all three stories was clearly by the same hand. Historical fiction isn't everyone's cup of tea. The books need "Let the past stay in the past" At first, this seemed a reasonable method of introducing readers to the attractions of historical novels. Take three widely differing eras and produce examples/excerpts to encourage people to purchase one of the series. I don't profess to understand why this author felt the need to write under different names? That's just confusing, as the writing style in all three stories was clearly by the same hand. Historical fiction isn't everyone's cup of tea. The books need a good deal of research to make them feel genuine and of the period. I didn't spot any 'howlers' but truth be told, I got bored with the format in the end. Maybe, that's because I prefer coffee to tea? This compendium will have its fans, no doubt, and the author will achieve her goal of new readers, but by the end of the Regency period I was done with history.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Nina

    Three novellas written in the context of three different historical periods: Victorian, Ancient Rome, and Regency. Each one had the customs of the era down pat. Well researched! And each demonstrated how crimes could be solved at that time. My absolute favorite was the freed gladiator in Rome, although apparently there is only one full length book about him. My next favorite was the Victorian cook, but there's only a few books with her. There seem to be many, many books with the retired British Three novellas written in the context of three different historical periods: Victorian, Ancient Rome, and Regency. Each one had the customs of the era down pat. Well researched! And each demonstrated how crimes could be solved at that time. My absolute favorite was the freed gladiator in Rome, although apparently there is only one full length book about him. My next favorite was the Victorian cook, but there's only a few books with her. There seem to be many, many books with the retired British army captain in the regency period. The novella about him was ok, but definetley not the best of the bunch. There is a promise of more tales of Leonidas the gladiator, so I'll watch for those.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Barbara Monajem

    This book includes three novellas, each of which introduces a different series. My favorite was the first one, A Soupçon of Poison. The main character, Kat Holloway, is the cook in a wealthy Victorian-era household. She’s a wonderful character, a joy to read, and her counterpart, a mysterious male, is delightfully intriguing. The second novella takes place in Ancient Rome, another era I like to read about. The hero is a retired gladiator, and his female counterpart is brilliant. I hope this deve This book includes three novellas, each of which introduces a different series. My favorite was the first one, A Soupçon of Poison. The main character, Kat Holloway, is the cook in a wealthy Victorian-era household. She’s a wonderful character, a joy to read, and her counterpart, a mysterious male, is delightfully intriguing. The second novella takes place in Ancient Rome, another era I like to read about. The hero is a retired gladiator, and his female counterpart is brilliant. I hope this develops into a long series. The third novella intros the Captain Lacey series, of which I’ve read and enjoyed quite a few.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Delta

    Free today on Amazon, B&N, and iBooks. 06-21-18

  10. 5 out of 5

    Elaine Hargrave

    Enjoyed reading. Very easy to read if you don't want a big reaf. Each story is good in its own right. Enjoyed reading. Very easy to read if you don't want a big reaf. Each story is good in its own right.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Marty Tool

    Three mysteries that range from Nero' s Rome with a gladiator and his "slave" solving a murder, to Recency and Victorian Britain using a cook and ex-soldier solving the mysteries. Each novella gives you a good mystery with likeable characters, you will feel like you are there with them while they travel their cities and solve the crimes. I do read this author already, however these would have made me look for her work to follow these characters. Much research was done on the time period, cities, Three mysteries that range from Nero' s Rome with a gladiator and his "slave" solving a murder, to Recency and Victorian Britain using a cook and ex-soldier solving the mysteries. Each novella gives you a good mystery with likeable characters, you will feel like you are there with them while they travel their cities and solve the crimes. I do read this author already, however these would have made me look for her work to follow these characters. Much research was done on the time period, cities, and life for each of the main characters. Very enjoyable.

  12. 5 out of 5

    H.L. Carpenter

    Very well written set of three complete mystery novellas featuring three very different characters: a Victorian cook, a retired Roman gladiator, and a Regency ex-soldier. Hard to say which was more enjoyable, though that gladiator might just edge out the other two...reader with a soft spot for principled men here... :) Lovely enjoyable sample and beautiful introduction to each series. No hanging endings here (sorry, that has been a pet peeve lately with multiple books).

  13. 4 out of 5

    Atiye Chappell

    I love mysteries, always have and the idea of historical mysteries did catch my eye when I saw the title of this book, but despite the time periods I didn't find anything memorable about these stories. Past Crimes fell flat for me - a good mystery should draw you in and hold your attention to the very end and that just doesn't happen here. I love mysteries, always have and the idea of historical mysteries did catch my eye when I saw the title of this book, but despite the time periods I didn't find anything memorable about these stories. Past Crimes fell flat for me - a good mystery should draw you in and hold your attention to the very end and that just doesn't happen here.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    3.5 stars Three novellas with different characters. Each good in its own way.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Clive Gerrard

    Three historical novellas in this trilogy. The first set in Edwardian/Victorian London, the second set in ancient Rome and the third during the Regency period, also in London.The quality of the stories varied considerably in my opinion. The first, about a cook was awful! The characters were cliches of their time: the butler stealing the silver, a single parent cook, struggling to survive and a master who bullies everyone (yawn!). The hero, who we never seem to know anything about, is able to obt Three historical novellas in this trilogy. The first set in Edwardian/Victorian London, the second set in ancient Rome and the third during the Regency period, also in London.The quality of the stories varied considerably in my opinion. The first, about a cook was awful! The characters were cliches of their time: the butler stealing the silver, a single parent cook, struggling to survive and a master who bullies everyone (yawn!). The hero, who we never seem to know anything about, is able to obtain seemingly everything at will in half an hour and expects no payment (even out of season fruit and veg) and this is frankly absurd! and from that moment on, I found the whole scenario ridiculous. The second, and the best story, is about a 'Freed' Gladiator called 'Leonidas' (named after the Spartan King at Thermopylae) and his slave 'Cassia'. who endeavour to solve the murder of a money-changer. I felt this story was historically accurate and led to the characters being believable and the plot then lends itself to the intricacies of Roman life. His skill as a Gladiator are put to good use and his reputation precedes him in his (and Cassia's) quest. As you can tell, I quite enjoyed this story. The third, about a former cavalry officer endevouring to find a missing necklace, was okay but a disappointment after the previous story, which was a shame. The plot line needed more and I felt the understated Lesbian relationship between the two female protagonists and they're relationship to the master of the house (wife and mistress) who again is cast a 'Bully' was straight out of a Victorian Melodrama . Yes, the plot was weak and the ending lacked any drama or tension. So something of a 'Curate's egg' of a book for me.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Evelyn Grabas

    Enjoyed the three mysteries very much. The first book was interesting, even if a little confusing. Perhaps later books will define Daniel more fully. The whole thing with the sugar caster was most confusing. I got that the arsenic was on the outside of the sugar caster, but the switching of the casters scenario was confusing. Particularly when one was buried in the planter and the other ?. A little too discombobulating for me. May look into this series further in the future. The gladiator story b Enjoyed the three mysteries very much. The first book was interesting, even if a little confusing. Perhaps later books will define Daniel more fully. The whole thing with the sugar caster was most confusing. I got that the arsenic was on the outside of the sugar caster, but the switching of the casters scenario was confusing. Particularly when one was buried in the planter and the other ?. A little too discombobulating for me. May look into this series further in the future. The gladiator story being my favorite. Will be looking into further books in that series. I say it is my favorite because I have read all of the Capt. Lacey Regency series and enjoyed every one. In fact, I absolutely love Capt. Lacey. Fell in love with him in the first book and remain that way to date. So, the Gladiator story was new and is the only reason it overshadowed the Capt. Lacey story in my mind. Ms Gardner does herself no favor by switching names for different books. I latched onto her books after reading the Lacey series and looked for other books bearing her name. I would never have picked up a book by Jennifer Ashley. This compendium is the only way I was introduced to the Kat Holloway series. I sincerely hope Ms. Gardner/Ashley doesn't have any other names she writes under.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sharon

    I read and thoroughly enjoyed The Hanover Square Affair, so I was excited about this collection of short stories. I liked the Kat Holloway mystery, "A Soupçon of Poison," and thoroughly enjoyed "The Necklace Affair," which brought back the Captain Lacey of "The Hanover Square Affair." In the first, Kat is suspected of murder and has to figure out how to clear her name. In the latter, Captain Lacey is asked to help find a missing diamond necklace .. and winds up embroiled in far more complications I read and thoroughly enjoyed The Hanover Square Affair, so I was excited about this collection of short stories. I liked the Kat Holloway mystery, "A Soupçon of Poison," and thoroughly enjoyed "The Necklace Affair," which brought back the Captain Lacey of "The Hanover Square Affair." In the first, Kat is suspected of murder and has to figure out how to clear her name. In the latter, Captain Lacey is asked to help find a missing diamond necklace .. and winds up embroiled in far more complications than he expected. The third tale, which is the middle one in the book, was "Blood Debts," featuring a gladiator called Leonidas. He's out trying to collect monies owed to him and comes across a dead body -- and is, of course, a suspect. Honestly, this one left me a little cold. It wasn't about the period (I know quite a bit about it) or that it was poorly written. It just wasn't my particular cup of tea. This is a very good sampler for those unfamiliar with Ashley Gardner's writing.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Theresa

    Excellent reading All three novellas are well written, absorbing and fun the read. Of course, spending time with the wonderful Captain Lacey is always a treat, but getting to know Leonidas,a retired 1st century Roman gladiator was also an unexpected pleasure. And, while Kat Holloway doesn’t enthrall me quite the way the good captain does, I still like her story and that of her friends. One if the great strengths of Ms. Ashley’s work is her character development fir both main characters as well a Excellent reading All three novellas are well written, absorbing and fun the read. Of course, spending time with the wonderful Captain Lacey is always a treat, but getting to know Leonidas,a retired 1st century Roman gladiator was also an unexpected pleasure. And, while Kat Holloway doesn’t enthrall me quite the way the good captain does, I still like her story and that of her friends. One if the great strengths of Ms. Ashley’s work is her character development fir both main characters as well as secondary characters. I feel like I could pick any one of them out of a line up. I think Captain Lacey and Leonidas share many of the same endearing personality quirks and insecurities as well as a pretty well developed sense of honor. I think Leonidas suffers from a higher degree of PTSD and depression than Gabriel Lacey but by golly, I really like him and can’t wait to read more of his story. Bottom line: these three stories are a terrific read and a great way to spend a hot afternoon indoors.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Birgit

    Three "samples", i.e. shorter stories, of three of this author's series of more or less willing crime-solvers from the past, without the help of today's technology, and I loved them all! In the Victorian Era, Kat Holloway, a young cook, gets involved in a murder case and has to clear her name, with the help of the mysterious Daniel McAdam, so she goes out and looks for the murderer herself. Rome at Nero's times: Ex-Gladiator Leonidas and his slave Cassia have to solve the murder of a money lender, Three "samples", i.e. shorter stories, of three of this author's series of more or less willing crime-solvers from the past, without the help of today's technology, and I loved them all! In the Victorian Era, Kat Holloway, a young cook, gets involved in a murder case and has to clear her name, with the help of the mysterious Daniel McAdam, so she goes out and looks for the murderer herself. Rome at Nero's times: Ex-Gladiator Leonidas and his slave Cassia have to solve the murder of a money lender, as Leonidas is the prime suspect in this case. Regency Era: Captain Lacey agrees to help find a stolen necklace for an elderly lady, only to find that all is not what it seems. All three stories are told with a very good sense of humour, witty dialogues, and strong protagonists who take on what life throws at them, with dignity (more or less), intelligence, and stubbornness. These are not full of nail-biting tension, but so captivating that I did not want to put them aside and interrupt my reading. I want more of this author, definitely!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Christopher Taylor

    This is a collection of three short stories, mysteries set in different historical eras. The first is the story of a cook in Victorian England accused of murdering her aristocratic, handsy boss. The second is of an ex-gladiator in Nero's Rome who finds a dead banker, and the third in post-Napoleonic War England of an ex-Army captain who associates with the aristocratic types investigating a theft. All three are well written stories rich in historical and cultural context, and the cook's story the This is a collection of three short stories, mysteries set in different historical eras. The first is the story of a cook in Victorian England accused of murdering her aristocratic, handsy boss. The second is of an ex-gladiator in Nero's Rome who finds a dead banker, and the third in post-Napoleonic War England of an ex-Army captain who associates with the aristocratic types investigating a theft. All three are well written stories rich in historical and cultural context, and the cook's story the most amusing and entertaining. All three feature at least one strong, intelligent women who do most of the crime solving even when merely side characters. All three have weak, annoying men, the first none of whom are pleasant or decent. It was a fair introduction to the author's skill and style, for free off Amazon, so it was a decent deal but the style didn't prompt me to want to read any more of her writings.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sharen

    Really 3 and a half stars from me I really like historical novels, and I hate to give anything like a negative review...because every book suits someone and has an audience. This author just does not especially suit me. She has a VERY good writing style. But, what turned me off was that...while there was no graphic sex (thankfully), too many authors seem to dwell too much on the “master of the house has absolute control over his wife and his female employees and can do whatever he wants with them Really 3 and a half stars from me I really like historical novels, and I hate to give anything like a negative review...because every book suits someone and has an audience. This author just does not especially suit me. She has a VERY good writing style. But, what turned me off was that...while there was no graphic sex (thankfully), too many authors seem to dwell too much on the “master of the house has absolute control over his wife and his female employees and can do whatever he wants with them” aspect. And while I will agree that was prevalent back then (and to an extent still is), I just don’t want to dwell on it in my reading material. Captain Lacey seems like an entertaining character and I may look into one of her books about him. None of these three books in the “compendium” were the first books in each of those series...so, sadly, there was a lot of missing backstory about the lead characters.

  22. 5 out of 5

    kathie

    This is a great deal on Amazon. Today (7-24-21) it is $0.00 and it has been for quite a while. It is a collection of three of Ashley Gardner/Jennifer Ashley mysteries. Each one is available separately as a novella and they each cost $2.99. The three are: Blood Debts-Leonidas the Gladiator Mysteries A Soupcon of Poison-Kat Holloway Mysteries The Necklace Affair-Captain Lacey Mysteries I had already purchased and read the Kat Holloway and am very familiar with the Captain Lacey series. It was Blood De This is a great deal on Amazon. Today (7-24-21) it is $0.00 and it has been for quite a while. It is a collection of three of Ashley Gardner/Jennifer Ashley mysteries. Each one is available separately as a novella and they each cost $2.99. The three are: Blood Debts-Leonidas the Gladiator Mysteries A Soupcon of Poison-Kat Holloway Mysteries The Necklace Affair-Captain Lacey Mysteries I had already purchased and read the Kat Holloway and am very familiar with the Captain Lacey series. It was Blood Debts I was most interested in. I wasn't sure how I would like a book about a Roman gladiator but, to my surprise, I liked it very much. I have since read the two complete novels in that series that have been published. I am coming to realize that I love just about anything Jennifer Ashley writes....except the paranormal perhaps. As I said, this is a great deal and a good way to see if you might like any of the three mystery series.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Macaire

    Fantastic trio of mysteries - I was hooked from page one. The first features a cook as a the heroine, and I loved the way the mystery tied in with the food (poison, of course!) and how the mystery was solved. The characters were wonderful, really a great start to a terrific series. The second story was my favorite - book I in the Leonidas the Gladiator Mysteries -and here Ms Gardner shows her flair for creating unusual characters in unusual settings - and making everything work. The research was Fantastic trio of mysteries - I was hooked from page one. The first features a cook as a the heroine, and I loved the way the mystery tied in with the food (poison, of course!) and how the mystery was solved. The characters were wonderful, really a great start to a terrific series. The second story was my favorite - book I in the Leonidas the Gladiator Mysteries -and here Ms Gardner shows her flair for creating unusual characters in unusual settings - and making everything work. The research was terrific, and it really helped the story along, making it incredibly realistic even though it was set in ancient Rome! Kudos! The third story was (in my opinion) the weakest, but it was still a page-turner, with a stolen necklace, a love triangle, and an ex-soldier detective who is wonderfully drawn. All in all a great read. I'm thrilled to have discovered this author!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Roger Campbell

    Three mysteries are set in three historical time periods with one common denominator, the wrong person has been accused. I enjoyed reading all three stories because the author did an outstanding job of presenting the era of each story with authentic scenarios. The first story involves a freed Roman gladiator who happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Was he set up to take the fall for the murder of a shady money lender? The second story involves a young Victorian cook, a murder by p Three mysteries are set in three historical time periods with one common denominator, the wrong person has been accused. I enjoyed reading all three stories because the author did an outstanding job of presenting the era of each story with authentic scenarios. The first story involves a freed Roman gladiator who happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Was he set up to take the fall for the murder of a shady money lender? The second story involves a young Victorian cook, a murder by poison, and a mystery that she must solve to clear her innocence. The final story concerns a British Army officer back from the Napoleonic wars who is recruited by a society matron to find her stolen necklace and prevent her maid from being unjustly convicted. All are unique and very enjoyable prose. I am looking forward to following futures episodes of each tail.

  25. 5 out of 5

    T&R Hart

    As always well written Jennifer Ashley / Ashley Gardner is one of my favorite writers. The characters are authentic with positive qualities as well as faults. The times in which the characters live are so thoroughly researched one can almost hear the street sounds & smell the cities of each respective story. I'm already a fan of the sometimes cranky Capt. Lacey. Kat is a new favorite character. I look forward to reading her 2nd novel. And in Leonidas we are treated to an unusual hero. A freed gla As always well written Jennifer Ashley / Ashley Gardner is one of my favorite writers. The characters are authentic with positive qualities as well as faults. The times in which the characters live are so thoroughly researched one can almost hear the street sounds & smell the cities of each respective story. I'm already a fan of the sometimes cranky Capt. Lacey. Kat is a new favorite character. I look forward to reading her 2nd novel. And in Leonidas we are treated to an unusual hero. A freed gladiator in Nero's Rome with a compassionate heart. I can't wait for his 1st full length novel. I highly recommend this book as an introduction to these wonderful characters for mystery lovers.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Holly

    Enjoyable trio of novellas I took a chance on this collection of novellas despite some negative reviews and I'm glad I did. The writing style is similar in all three, not always true with these e-books. Each features a different main character, time period, and setting. Not all involve murder but all are mysteries to be solved. You get just enough background on each main character to read the novella, but to learn more you must read the books in that series. Each novella completes its story, thou Enjoyable trio of novellas I took a chance on this collection of novellas despite some negative reviews and I'm glad I did. The writing style is similar in all three, not always true with these e-books. Each features a different main character, time period, and setting. Not all involve murder but all are mysteries to be solved. You get just enough background on each main character to read the novella, but to learn more you must read the books in that series. Each novella completes its story, though, no cliffhangers. No bad language or sex and any violence is pretty tame. The writing is competent. It's a light, enjoyable read that kept my interest through the three stories and I may just read more in each series.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Italo Italophiles

    I had that feeling with each story: Yes, but... The cook's story was cute but the crime had similarities to themurder in the film Gosford Park. The one set in Ancient Rome was interesting, but the first person narration made the many explanations of Roman customs just come across as odd. 3rd person narration would have been better, since a narrator from the period would have no need to explain things to a contemporary reader. The Captain Lacey story was the one I enjoyed the most, for the interplay I had that feeling with each story: Yes, but... The cook's story was cute but the crime had similarities to themurder in the film Gosford Park. The one set in Ancient Rome was interesting, but the first person narration made the many explanations of Roman customs just come across as odd. 3rd person narration would have been better, since a narrator from the period would have no need to explain things to a contemporary reader. The Captain Lacey story was the one I enjoyed the most, for the interplay of the characters, but it was written to come between two of the many novels in the series, not as an introduction to the series, like the other two stories, so I felt like I was joing something mid-way. So, yes, I enjoyed them well enough (despite some typos), but...

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    Three Great Stories! I loved these three well-researched, period pieces! Each historical tale of mystery covered a different era; and introduced a different protagonist; but all were complete stories. They do not leave you hanging at the end, nor do they require prior knowledge of the main characters. Ms. Gardner is an excellent writer, who deftly weaves captivating plots, likable characters, diverse crimes, and puzzling clues into three intriguing cases that will draw you in and keep you reading Three Great Stories! I loved these three well-researched, period pieces! Each historical tale of mystery covered a different era; and introduced a different protagonist; but all were complete stories. They do not leave you hanging at the end, nor do they require prior knowledge of the main characters. Ms. Gardner is an excellent writer, who deftly weaves captivating plots, likable characters, diverse crimes, and puzzling clues into three intriguing cases that will draw you in and keep you reading to find out what happens next. I loved this book...couldn't put it down...hated for it to end! Thank you, Jennifer/Ashley!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Leanne

    Romanceopoly 2020 Challenge Moon pack:  Sleuth Street Read a mystery where the main character is an amateur sleuth This rating is solely for Soupçon of Poison. I wasn't really in the mood to read the others, I enjoyed the prequel to Kat Holloway's series but not enough to continue it for now. I did find Daniel intriguing and if I did read the other books it would probably be for him. The mystery didn't really grab me and Kat annoyed me a bit at times. Part of that could be because it was a nove Romanceopoly 2020 Challenge Moon pack:  Sleuth Street Read a mystery where the main character is an amateur sleuth This rating is solely for Soupçon of Poison. I wasn't really in the mood to read the others, I enjoyed the prequel to Kat Holloway's series but not enough to continue it for now. I did find Daniel intriguing and if I did read the other books it would probably be for him. The mystery didn't really grab me and Kat annoyed me a bit at times. Part of that could be because it was a novella and the author just didn't have the page count to develop a truly complex mystery. It'll be interesting to see what happens in a proper length novel.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Judy

    This is three short stories in one book. One story is about a former Roman gladiator who finds a dead body as he tries to collect a debt for this person. Afraid that he will be accused of killing this person and then sent back to the arena to fight for his life in the gladiators' games, Leonidas leaves the scene of this crime in the company of a small boy. Was this child a witness to the murder? The next story is about a cook in an elderly gentleman's house, mid 1800's. The "gentleman" makes imp This is three short stories in one book. One story is about a former Roman gladiator who finds a dead body as he tries to collect a debt for this person. Afraid that he will be accused of killing this person and then sent back to the arena to fight for his life in the gladiators' games, Leonidas leaves the scene of this crime in the company of a small boy. Was this child a witness to the murder? The next story is about a cook in an elderly gentleman's house, mid 1800's. The "gentleman" makes improper advances toward his very young cook. Later, he's found dead with her knife in his back. The third story is about a Lady who's necklace is stolen and her maid is accused of the crime.

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