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A Lady's Guide to Gossip and Murder

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How far will some go to safeguard a secret? In the latest novel in Dianne Freeman’s witty and delightful historical mystery series, the adventurous Countess Harleigh finds out . . .   Though American by birth, Frances Wynn, the now-widowed Countess of Harleigh, has adapted admirably to the quirks and traditions of the British aristocracy. On August twelfth each yea How far will some go to safeguard a secret? In the latest novel in Dianne Freeman’s witty and delightful historical mystery series, the adventurous Countess Harleigh finds out . . .   Though American by birth, Frances Wynn, the now-widowed Countess of Harleigh, has adapted admirably to the quirks and traditions of the British aristocracy. On August twelfth each year, otherwise known as the Glorious Twelfth, most members of the upper class retire to their country estates for grouse-shooting season. Frances has little interest in hunting—for birds or a second husband—and is expecting to spend a quiet few months in London with her almost-engaged sister, Lily, until the throng returns. Instead, she’s immersed in a shocking mystery when a friend, Mary Archer, is found murdered. Frances had hoped Mary might make a suitable bride for her cousin, Charles, but their courtship recently fizzled out. Unfortunately, this puts Charles in the spotlight—along with dozens of others. It seems Mary had countless notes hidden in her home, detailing the private indiscretions of society’s elite. Frances can hardly believe that the genteel and genial Mary was a blackmailer, yet why else would she horde such juicy tidbits?   Aided by her gallant friend and neighbor, George Hazelton, Frances begins assisting the police in this highly sensitive case, learning more about her peers than she ever wished to know. Too many suspects may be worse than none at all—but even more worrying is that the number of victims is increasing too. And unless Frances takes care, she’ll soon find herself among them . . .


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How far will some go to safeguard a secret? In the latest novel in Dianne Freeman’s witty and delightful historical mystery series, the adventurous Countess Harleigh finds out . . .   Though American by birth, Frances Wynn, the now-widowed Countess of Harleigh, has adapted admirably to the quirks and traditions of the British aristocracy. On August twelfth each yea How far will some go to safeguard a secret? In the latest novel in Dianne Freeman’s witty and delightful historical mystery series, the adventurous Countess Harleigh finds out . . .   Though American by birth, Frances Wynn, the now-widowed Countess of Harleigh, has adapted admirably to the quirks and traditions of the British aristocracy. On August twelfth each year, otherwise known as the Glorious Twelfth, most members of the upper class retire to their country estates for grouse-shooting season. Frances has little interest in hunting—for birds or a second husband—and is expecting to spend a quiet few months in London with her almost-engaged sister, Lily, until the throng returns. Instead, she’s immersed in a shocking mystery when a friend, Mary Archer, is found murdered. Frances had hoped Mary might make a suitable bride for her cousin, Charles, but their courtship recently fizzled out. Unfortunately, this puts Charles in the spotlight—along with dozens of others. It seems Mary had countless notes hidden in her home, detailing the private indiscretions of society’s elite. Frances can hardly believe that the genteel and genial Mary was a blackmailer, yet why else would she horde such juicy tidbits?   Aided by her gallant friend and neighbor, George Hazelton, Frances begins assisting the police in this highly sensitive case, learning more about her peers than she ever wished to know. Too many suspects may be worse than none at all—but even more worrying is that the number of victims is increasing too. And unless Frances takes care, she’ll soon find herself among them . . .

30 review for A Lady's Guide to Gossip and Murder

  1. 4 out of 5

    Yun

    A Lady's Guide to Gossip and Murder is another charming installment of the cozy mystery series featuring the widowed Lady Frances Harleigh. One of her society acquaintances has met an unfortunate end, and the police suspect Frances' well-intentioned but bumbling cousin, Charles, of having done the deed. Frances steps in to help clear his name, and soon realizes this is anything but a straightforward crime. This book reads very much like a typical cozy, with our main character nosing about and tal A Lady's Guide to Gossip and Murder is another charming installment of the cozy mystery series featuring the widowed Lady Frances Harleigh. One of her society acquaintances has met an unfortunate end, and the police suspect Frances' well-intentioned but bumbling cousin, Charles, of having done the deed. Frances steps in to help clear his name, and soon realizes this is anything but a straightforward crime. This book reads very much like a typical cozy, with our main character nosing about and talking to a lot of people in the hopes that she'll stumble upon the right answer. And also just like a cozy, the book spends a good amount of time having its main and supporting characters mull over the crime, think out loud of potential motives and suspects, and ponder their next moves. It builds nicely up to the ending, which is both reasonable and satisfying. Compared to the first book in the series, I found this one to be still fun, though not quite as exciting. I think that's largely due to the first book requiring a lot of setup and backstory, which I enjoyed tremendously, whereas this one gets right to the point with the crime. That backstory of how Frances came to be so strong and resilient at a time in history when society frowns upon women's independence was fascinating, and I wish there was more in this book. In addition to that, the witty dialogue, the romantic tension with her neighbor, and the proper Victorian decorum were all pared back a little in this book, and I miss their frequent presence. Still, this was an entertaining cozy murder mystery, and I look forward to reading more from the series. As I usually find this genre and its focal crime to be a little bit slow, it's really the side and back stories that distinguish a terrific one from an average one. So I hope for the next one, we get a little bit more of what I love, mixed in with the cozy murders.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Carrie

    A Lady’s Guide to Gossip and Murder by Dianne Freeman is the second book of the Countess of Harleigh Mystery series. This series is a bit of a different take on the average cozy mystery in that it has a historical setting mixing both genres wonderfully. In the first book of the series readers were introduced to Frances Wynn who is an American that was born to a wealthy family that found herself in an arranged marriage to her husband, Reggie. The marriage brought Frances the title of the Countess A Lady’s Guide to Gossip and Murder by Dianne Freeman is the second book of the Countess of Harleigh Mystery series. This series is a bit of a different take on the average cozy mystery in that it has a historical setting mixing both genres wonderfully. In the first book of the series readers were introduced to Frances Wynn who is an American that was born to a wealthy family that found herself in an arranged marriage to her husband, Reggie. The marriage brought Frances the title of the Countess of Harleigh and her husband access to her family funds. Frances had thought she may grow to love her husband it was soon apparent what kind of man he truly was before he was murdered. While Frances is now widowed she is still the Countess of Harleigh and has begun adapting well to her new British surroundings. Frances however is not a fan of the major hunting event that happens e very August so while all her friends and neighbors head out she expects quiet time. This season however things do not go as planned when the young woman who Frances’ cousin had been courting is found murdered. At the beginning of this series I wasn’t certain how the dynamic of having a strong female lead doing her sleuthing in historical times would balance out. After reading these books though I think the author does a good job keeping the feel of the era while mixing with cozy crime solving so this series is shaping up quite nicely and quite fun. I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley. For more reviews please visit https://carriesbookreviews.com/

  3. 4 out of 5

    Hannah

    Update: Well that was my most disappointing book of the year. I was so bored the whole time. Frances is a extremely frustrating character. She is very sensible and walks the line between finding things out while not putting herself in damsel-in-distress situations, but watching her and George's relationship 'unfold' is tedious. This dude asks her to marry him and all she does is wonder if he likes her. Please, you are an adult woman, you can tell he does, because he says so! Maybe I wouldn't be Update: Well that was my most disappointing book of the year. I was so bored the whole time. Frances is a extremely frustrating character. She is very sensible and walks the line between finding things out while not putting herself in damsel-in-distress situations, but watching her and George's relationship 'unfold' is tedious. This dude asks her to marry him and all she does is wonder if he likes her. Please, you are an adult woman, you can tell he does, because he says so! Maybe I wouldn't be so upset by it except she spends a lot of time thinking of him and then not actually making a any decisions about her own feelings, with is irritating. Then we have the actual mystery part. Zero action at all in this AND it takes the main characters half the bloody book to realize the victim was a (view spoiler)[gossip columnist (hide spoiler)] which was so obvious I had to walk away in exasperation when they finally figure it out. I had really high hopes that even though the first one wasn't fantastic there was enough potential for this series to be great, but Im giving up. Reading this was a waste of time. Original: My excitement over this is rather ridiculous. Love the cover!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    Still enjoyable and one of those rather pleasant reads, despite the murder. But I definitely was more steps ahead of the characters than I like.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Dale Harcombe

    Widowed Countess of Harleigh, Frances Wynn, is expecting a quiet time in London. That is until she learns of the murder of a friend Mary Archer. When her cousin Charles is taken in for questioning by police in regard to Mary’s murder, Frances and her friend George Hazleton, begin to assist the police in solving this crime. They uncover fraud, cryptic notes and blackmail before they eventually get to the bottom of two murders. Could they also end up in danger themselves as they move closer to the Widowed Countess of Harleigh, Frances Wynn, is expecting a quiet time in London. That is until she learns of the murder of a friend Mary Archer. When her cousin Charles is taken in for questioning by police in regard to Mary’s murder, Frances and her friend George Hazleton, begin to assist the police in solving this crime. They uncover fraud, cryptic notes and blackmail before they eventually get to the bottom of two murders. Could they also end up in danger themselves as they move closer to the truth? Having read the third book in this series I was happy to backtrack to book 2 when it was in the library. As with book 3 it was easy enough to stand alone and know what is going on without having read the previous book. I like the style of writing. It is light and amusing in tone and was interesting enough to keep my attention. The reader gets a vivid picture of life of the times, 1899 and the social mores of certain upper classes. The characters are likeable. As well as the murder mystery there is a burgeoning romance or two. An entertaining cosy read that should appeal to many. I certainly enjoyed my time with these characters. Good fun.

  6. 4 out of 5

    The Lit Bitch

    You all know how much I love a fun historical mystery and Kensington Publishing has a bevy of fabulous authors to choose from. And I have read a number of them and consistently enjoy many of their authors. So when this one came up for review, I was counting on Kensington Publishing to not let me down! This author is new to me and even though it’s the second in a series, it is only the second book so I hoped that I hadn’t missed too much by starting on book 2 rather than book 1. The cover of this b You all know how much I love a fun historical mystery and Kensington Publishing has a bevy of fabulous authors to choose from. And I have read a number of them and consistently enjoy many of their authors. So when this one came up for review, I was counting on Kensington Publishing to not let me down! This author is new to me and even though it’s the second in a series, it is only the second book so I hoped that I hadn’t missed too much by starting on book 2 rather than book 1. The cover of this book is so bright, cheerful, and eye-catching…..I almost forgot that it was meant to be a murder mystery! I was astonished that this was only the second book by this writer! The well crafted mystery and full bodied writing was polished and practiced. I really enjoyed reading this one and the snappy dialogue and cheeky characters were interesting and fun. The first chapter was spent introducing the principal characters and backstory from the previous novel, but the author is careful to not giveaway too much from the previous book for new readers. Then but the second chapter, the murder mystery is off and running. I loved that I didn’t have to spend more than a few pages getting caught up to speed with everything and the murder happened at the perfect time—just before I started to get bored with the back story, I was roped back into the new mystery and trying to puzzle out what was happening. With series, there is such a delicate balance between giving too much back story and not enough, I thought the author did a wonderful job striking that delicate balance. between the two. I thought the tone of the book was charming and cozy, and while I did figure out who the murderer was, I enjoyed following the clues laid for the reader throughout the story. If you are a fan of historical mysteries from authors like Deanna Raybourn, Anna Lee Huber, and Laurie King then you are going to love this series. It was a fast read with cleaver characters and loads of charm and I am so glad I have found yet another new author in this genre to enjoy! See my full review here

  7. 5 out of 5

    Tucker (TuckerTheReader)

    Many thanks to Kensington Book Group for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review | Goodreads | Blog | Pinterest | LinkedIn | YouTube | Instagram Many thanks to Kensington Book Group for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review | Goodreads | Blog | Pinterest | LinkedIn | YouTube | Instagram

  8. 5 out of 5

    Brittany

    I liked this one even more than the first book of the series. It felt like Dianne Freeman was in a better storytelling flow, with the scene already set. I love that there is romance but that it doesn't override the mystery. It balances just right, and I can see it pushing into the story more in the future. The main thing missing was the relationship of the women that was much warmer in the first book. I did enjoy the relationship between Frances and her cousin Charles and his eccentricities. Geo I liked this one even more than the first book of the series. It felt like Dianne Freeman was in a better storytelling flow, with the scene already set. I love that there is romance but that it doesn't override the mystery. It balances just right, and I can see it pushing into the story more in the future. The main thing missing was the relationship of the women that was much warmer in the first book. I did enjoy the relationship between Frances and her cousin Charles and his eccentricities. George is a nice guy that is confident and states his intentions but isn't a bully about it. I loved the gossip column angle, and the mystery was more complex than I was expecting. Overall, it's just a fun, light mystery read. I will definitely keep reading it. 4 Stars.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    I feel....frustrated. I love the title of this book and I love the cover. I love the idea of it. But the series still hasn't found its stride. I was willing to give it the benefit of the doubt with Book 1...but I don't think I can extend it to Book 2. We'll see if Book 3 can bring things about. Though they interconnect, I'd say the problem centers around three things: the plotting, the romance, and the heroine. How to describe the plot? The first murder occurs pretty quickly and presents the her I feel....frustrated. I love the title of this book and I love the cover. I love the idea of it. But the series still hasn't found its stride. I was willing to give it the benefit of the doubt with Book 1...but I don't think I can extend it to Book 2. We'll see if Book 3 can bring things about. Though they interconnect, I'd say the problem centers around three things: the plotting, the romance, and the heroine. How to describe the plot? The first murder occurs pretty quickly and presents the heroine with a strained but believable enough reason to investigate. And investigate she does, by...sorting through papers. Putting on her hat and calling on a friend. Taking off the hat. Sorting through more papers. Talking about the papers. Eating dinner. Putting on a hat. Calling on another acquaintance. Taking off the hat. Sorting through papers. Attending a funeral. Convincing someone to help her with the papers. Remembering she has a daughter and having a conversation with her. Sorting through papers. Attending an evening party where she visits with one person. Returns home to sort through more papers. But the contents of these papers? Relatively unimportant--or at least, unaddressed--after the first few chapters. I think it wouldn't have bugged me so much if a big 'ole red flag didn't mark the villain from almost the moment of his entrance. It feels so obvious that the painful slog to figure out the why and how really didn't move me. The plot needed some level of tension to keep things going. And the romance quite handily kills any tension that might exist. I don't mind the love interest. He's actually quite sweet and, er, modern in his progressive views of equality and marriage. But he never wants the heroine to put herself in danger. And by "in danger" I mean go on one of her random visits to call on a friend and gather some gossip. He makes a mountain out of the most mundane molehills and as a result, not only does the heroine not do anything interesting, she gets chastised for the boring stuff too. But even more deadly, the romance itself lacks spark. The couple blows hot and cold. One minute they're having a heated discussion, the next passionately making out. And then they pause to logically discuss the case. No transition. At least the hero seems consistently interested in the heroine. The heroine seems to remember he is a romantic love interest at the most random moments. Otherwise, she is all business. Granted, I didn't need her mooning about him. But something between "oh, lemme dash around with George and solve cases with him! What a great BFF" and "IS HE MY ONE TRUE LOVE? HOW COME HE DOESN'T LOVE ME" might be nice. Alas, the heroine's hot and cold attitude towards the hero represents about the only gumption we find in her this book. It is part of the appeal and also what kills the story. It is nice to have a historical heroine who doesn't run around in trousers and mix herself up with murders just 'cause. Frances is a staid, traditional Victorian socialite. She shudders at the right moments and generally avoids the taint of improper behavior. (Besides running over to the hero's house at all hours of the day, of course.) If the love interest didn't all bug drag her into the mystery, she would probably happily stay out. And when she does make any effort, no matter how minor, the hero chastises her for getting involved in something dangerous. So little wonder the reader gets caught up in the mixed signals. I like Frances. I like that she seems more focused on debuting young ladies in society than finding a second husband...or even solving a murder. I like that she gets along with the police; I still like her house full of females. But part of the charm of her in the first book was that she willingly left the home of her in-laws to go out on her own. And that independence didn't shine through in this book. It isn't that she is spineless or dangerously foolish. She just plays a few society calls and gets praised by the police for her great deductions. And I for one just wanted something a little.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Bookish Ally

    3.5 stars (rounded up). Not as good as the other two in the series but this is light fare. A murder mystery with a comedic characters and a love interest, a fun and quick series 🧡

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Brown

    I kind of wish I didn't get the 4th book in this series to review. I wasn't a huge huge fan of the first book and this one was on par with that. There's just nothing spectacular about it that makes me want more. I kind of wish I didn't get the 4th book in this series to review. I wasn't a huge huge fan of the first book and this one was on par with that. There's just nothing spectacular about it that makes me want more.

  12. 5 out of 5

    JoAn

    A Lady's Guide to Gossip and Murder by Dianne Freeman was a very enjoyable addition to this historical cozy mystery series. Ms. Freeman's writing is skillful and pulls me into the story from the first page. I enjoyed spending time with Frances, Aunt Hetty, George and a new character addition, Lottie. Lottie was adorable because she's intelligent, clever and klutzy. Frances chooses to investigate the death of an acquaintance because the police have her cousin, Charles, in their sights as a murder A Lady's Guide to Gossip and Murder by Dianne Freeman was a very enjoyable addition to this historical cozy mystery series. Ms. Freeman's writing is skillful and pulls me into the story from the first page. I enjoyed spending time with Frances, Aunt Hetty, George and a new character addition, Lottie. Lottie was adorable because she's intelligent, clever and klutzy. Frances chooses to investigate the death of an acquaintance because the police have her cousin, Charles, in their sights as a murder suspect. Frances' investigation was completely within the proper boundaries of the era and George was able to investigate the areas where women were never to be seen. Frances and George make a perfect pair. The plot twisted and turned with several suspects and red herrings to divert me as I read. I had trouble putting the book down until it was finished. I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book from Kensington via NetGalley. All of the above opinions are my own.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Gail C.

    My thanks to NetGalley and Kensington Books for providing me with an Advance Read Copy of A LADY’S GUIDE TO GOSSIP AND MURDER by Dianne Freeman in exchange for an unbiased review. This is the second in the series of Countess of Harleigh mysteries and while there are some references to the previous novel it is not necessary to have read it to enjoy this one. The book is a complete mystery within itself. There are a few relationships between characters that carry over from the first book, and if My thanks to NetGalley and Kensington Books for providing me with an Advance Read Copy of A LADY’S GUIDE TO GOSSIP AND MURDER by Dianne Freeman in exchange for an unbiased review. This is the second in the series of Countess of Harleigh mysteries and while there are some references to the previous novel it is not necessary to have read it to enjoy this one. The book is a complete mystery within itself. There are a few relationships between characters that carry over from the first book, and if you have the opportunity to read them in order, it might be beneficial to do so. However, it is entirely possible to enjoy this book without having read the first of the series. In this novel, Lady Frances, the Countess of Harleigh, is drawn into investigating the murder of a friend, in part because her cousin has been accused on the murder and partly because her “gentleman friend” George Hazelton has been pressed into service to review many of the papers found in the lady’s home. George has some connection to “king and country” although he is circumspect in sharing the specifics of his work. He has been pressed into service in this novel as there is a possibility that compromising information may be revealed about some of the more influential people in the British government. Lady Frances enjoys the challenge of investigating and is pleased when George suggests she help him by reviewing some of the papers he has in his possession. It is soon revealed that Lady Frances’ murdered friend was employed as a gossip columnist for the local paper, a fact that has been kept from the public in general because it isn’t considered “appropriate” work for a lady and also because it would be difficult to successfully pen the column if the writer’s identity were known. There are side issues as well, including the impending marriage of Lady Frances’ younger sister, Lily. With her investigative activities requiring much of her time, Lady Frances has little time to spare to help plan the activities. In addition, Lottie, a friend of the family who is spending the summer with Lady Frances, proves that despite her physical clumsiness, she is adept at organizing and assisting with the investigation. The identity of the murderer is revealed through the investigation of Lady Frances and friends rather than through clues that are sprinkled throughout the book. It is possible for the reader to determine the identity of the murderer, but more as a result of following Lady Frances and company as they investigate rather than through finding clues and solving the puzzle on their own. This book will likely appeal most to readers who enjoy historical mystery fiction. There is information regarding the period throughout the novel including societal expectations, typical fashion for women of the day, and restrictions that are imposed on women regarding their activities of work, independence, and other. If a reader enjoys period fiction, this may be the perfect novel for them.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    The Countess of Harleigh and her appealing sidekicks return in a jolly romp through the peccadillos of polite society in late Victorian London. This complex puzzler weaves mystery through the dance of a trio of aristocratic romances. Readers will enjoy playing amateur sleuth as they learn what really might be going on behind closed doors in 1899’s best British homes. Freeman continues to give her variety of female characters sharp intelligence and a lot to do, a nice change from male-dominated a The Countess of Harleigh and her appealing sidekicks return in a jolly romp through the peccadillos of polite society in late Victorian London. This complex puzzler weaves mystery through the dance of a trio of aristocratic romances. Readers will enjoy playing amateur sleuth as they learn what really might be going on behind closed doors in 1899’s best British homes. Freeman continues to give her variety of female characters sharp intelligence and a lot to do, a nice change from male-dominated action. This series has a bright future!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ellen Byron

    Another delightful addition to a great historical cozy series.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Karren Hodgkins

    I just loved this book. The author should be congratulated on keeping the plot moving forward while providing context and keeping the characters interesting. The logic was sound, it was possible to make some educated guesses along the way but there were also some unexpected twists and turns. I highly recommend the read! With thanks to NetGalley, the author and the publishers for the advanced copy for an honest opinion

  17. 4 out of 5

    Eeva

    It's definitely not as perfect as the first book but it's still a charming and wonderful read. Frances is great as usual and the murder investigation interesting. Thanks to the Author and Kensington Books for providing me a copy for an honest review. It's definitely not as perfect as the first book but it's still a charming and wonderful read. Frances is great as usual and the murder investigation interesting. Thanks to the Author and Kensington Books for providing me a copy for an honest review.

  18. 4 out of 5

    QNPoohBear

    Thank you Dianne Freeman for sending me this ARC! All opinions expressed in this review are my own. Lady Frances Harleigh is enjoying life as a widow and not interested in another society marriage, no matter how charming her neighbor George is and no matter how much he makes her blush. She is more concerned with marrying off other people, like her little sister Lily, although Frances isn't sure Lily should be marrying so young. Frances is also trying to find a match for her cousin-by-marriage, Ch Thank you Dianne Freeman for sending me this ARC! All opinions expressed in this review are my own. Lady Frances Harleigh is enjoying life as a widow and not interested in another society marriage, no matter how charming her neighbor George is and no matter how much he makes her blush. She is more concerned with marrying off other people, like her little sister Lily, although Frances isn't sure Lily should be marrying so young. Frances is also trying to find a match for her cousin-by-marriage, Charles. Heir to a viscount, Charles is courted for his face and fortune but no one can say his mind is the sharpest. Charles has been courting Frances's friend Mary Archer, but for some reason he claims they won't suit. When Mary is discovered murdered in her own home, Charles becomes the chief suspect. Frances feels bad she accidentally set the police on him she agrees to help George out with the task of going through Mary's papers to shield Society from any scurrilous gossip the police may be inclined to share. It seems Mary knew a lot of secrets. Why and how could she have come across all this private information? Was Mary a blackmailer? While George focuses on helping Charles, Frances and her sister's friend Lottie decode Mary's notes and hope to narrow down the suspects so the police can catch the real killer. I really enjoyed this mystery. It's still a Downton Abbey spin-off and very much a cozy mystery but the writing has improved a lot. The mystery wasn't as easy to figure out until the vital clue is dropped. The ONLY reason I guessed it is because I am aware of such things but someone living through the situation at that time probably would never have figured it out. I ended up being surprised by the conclusion to the plot. It is more complicated than I expected. I especially liked the romance between Frances and George. I quite like him and the last scene made me smile. The romance stays perfectly clean but conveys the feelings between the two characters very well. Lily's romance is less successful and the third is brewing slowly and sweetly. As in the first book the characters really stand out. Frances may be yet another Dollar Princess but she has more depth because her husband has died and disillusioned her about love. She's intelligent enough to be cautious and guard her heart against the fatal charmer next door. George Hazelton is handsome, intelligent and actually treats Frances like she has a brain. I love their banter and how he accepts her as an equal partner. They're good for each other and make a great detecting team. Frances is also a kind, loving mother without being overindulgent. She spends little time with her daughter by modern standards but for the time, she is closely involved in raising her own child. Rose is superfluous to the story and I didn't care for her. She's rebellious like her mother and wants to be treated like an equal with her boy cousins. The secondary characters are well written too. I'm not fond of Lily. She's selfish and bratty at times. I agree with Frances that she's too young to marry. When Lily says she hopes she and Mr. Kendrick have the same kind of relationship as Frances and George, that made me concerned for her future. If she doesn't know that already, she should take more time to get to know her man. Mr. Kendrick seems nice enough but their relationship doesn't really go anywhere. Lottie, Lily's best friend, is a different sort of young woman. I especially liked her. She's clumsy but not stupid. She has an active brain and likes to be doing something. I hope her mother's behavior doesn't affect her future in London. Something tells me it won't. She's my favorite of the new characters. I also really like Charles. He's a beta hero in the making. Sweet, kind, handsome, wealthy - what's not to love? Well, many women and men see him as a fool because he's not a quick thinker. George likes him and that's good enough for Frances. Charles reminds me of Mr.Bingley, another beta hero named Charles. The murder victim, Mary Archer, sounds like she would have been a good friend for Frances. Mary had a loving marriage and could have shown Frances what that is like. Sadly the relationship was cut short when her husband was killed in a train accident and then tragically Mary was killed. She sounds like an admirable woman for being principled and trying to remain independent from her family and her husband's family. While her sister seems lovely, her late husband Jasper's family is horrid. Jasper's brother Archer is a wealthy banker who seems to have a bit of a temper. He doesn't understand her need for independence. I think he has little respect for women. His wife Caroline sounds like a mean girl type, like Caroline Bingley. Ugh. She is very unpleasant. Frances's late husband's friend Sir Hugh Ridley and his wife Miriam are a good couple. While Hugh has his bad habits, he's devoted to his wife. He seems to respect the intelligence of women. I need to read this again more slowly and savor the historical details and the sweet romance.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Tessa Arlen

    A Lady's Guide to Gossip and Murder: Dianna Freeman's titles are simply wonderful. Perfect for her quick witted and titled widow protagonist the Countess of Harleigh. A Lady's Guide to Gossip and Murder: Dianna Freeman's titles are simply wonderful. Perfect for her quick witted and titled widow protagonist the Countess of Harleigh.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Badseedgirl

    Oooooh, I may have found my new "go to" summer reading series. Light in tone, by juicy in plot, this is right up my alley for a summer reading destination. Countess Harleigh delves into the world of investment banking and gossip columnists, and all the nefarious going-on's that entails. She is still acting as matchmaker for people, but never, ever, EVER suggest that it is her job because, fanning myself while I experience a fit of "the vapors," well-born women don't work! And things are really st Oooooh, I may have found my new "go to" summer reading series. Light in tone, by juicy in plot, this is right up my alley for a summer reading destination. Countess Harleigh delves into the world of investment banking and gossip columnists, and all the nefarious going-on's that entails. She is still acting as matchmaker for people, but never, ever, EVER suggest that it is her job because, fanning myself while I experience a fit of "the vapors," well-born women don't work! And things are really steaming up with George Hazelton And by that I mean, there has been a couple kisses and some light petting in a dark hallway. This is not what I would call a "bodice ripper" in any shape of form.... at least not yet!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Anjana

    Cozy mysteries are a hit or miss for the most part with me because sometimes the narration does not suit my mood for reading a book and/or I do not get the humour used in the context of the tale. Basically, many of them are not meant for me but I soldier on and keep trying new authors because once in a while I strike gold. This was one such book, the characterization of relationships in this book were really well done. This is historical fiction with an enterprising countess in the midst of it a Cozy mysteries are a hit or miss for the most part with me because sometimes the narration does not suit my mood for reading a book and/or I do not get the humour used in the context of the tale. Basically, many of them are not meant for me but I soldier on and keep trying new authors because once in a while I strike gold. This was one such book, the characterization of relationships in this book were really well done. This is historical fiction with an enterprising countess in the midst of it all. This is the second book in the series, but since there are painstaking efforts to ensure we are up to date with the balance of power amongst the people we are to be introduced to, it is not hard to read it without prior knowledge of the first. Frances is a widow, with a daughter and a few relatives, some from her own side and others from her late husband's who are part of their daily life. She happens to stumble upon the death of an acquaintance that she was fond of and a person she introduced to her is considered a suspect. Now with the connections and natural intelligence, she sets off to aid the officials in their quest to find the actual culprit while maneuvering around the social niceties of the time. They treat her with the respect given to her class but when she does not listen to appropriate cautions, they explain to her logically about what trouble her actions can cause! There is a mild romance in the background (more than a few) which add to the ambience of the tale.  The story does not provide enough clues to actually guess the result until the story moves towards the final reveal while being believable at the same time. I received an ARC thanks to NetGalley and the publishers but the review is completely based on my own reading experience

  22. 5 out of 5

    Janet

    Though American by birth, Frances Wynn, the now-widowed Countess of Harleigh, has adapted admirably to the quirks and traditions of the British aristocracy. She is expecting to spend a quiet few months in London with her almost-engaged sister, Lily, until the throng returns. Instead, she’s immersed in a shocking mystery when a friend, Mary Archer, is found murdered. Frances had hoped Mary might make a suitable bride for her cousin, Charles, but their courtship recently fizzled out. It seems that Though American by birth, Frances Wynn, the now-widowed Countess of Harleigh, has adapted admirably to the quirks and traditions of the British aristocracy. She is expecting to spend a quiet few months in London with her almost-engaged sister, Lily, until the throng returns. Instead, she’s immersed in a shocking mystery when a friend, Mary Archer, is found murdered. Frances had hoped Mary might make a suitable bride for her cousin, Charles, but their courtship recently fizzled out. It seems that the genteel and genial Mary was a blackmailer or was she? Aided by her gallant friend and neighbour, George Hazelton, Frances begins assisting the police in this highly sensitive case with plenty of suspects but even more worrying is that the number of victims is increasing too. And unless Frances takes care, she’ll soon find herself among them . This is the second book in the series, I haven’t read the first book but will now be doing so. A cozy mystery, that kept my interest all the way through. Well portrayed characters, I liked Frances & George. The book is well paced & very well written, there are plenty of red herrings thrown into the mix so you’re kept guessing most of the way through. If you’re looking for a fun cozy mystery then I’d recommend this book to while away a few hours My honest review is for a special copy I voluntarily read

  23. 5 out of 5

    Megan

    Found the second in the series to be much the same as the first. Likable main characters, but fairly slim on the actual mystery and deduction. While I’m happy to have a main character that isn’t unnaturally able to leap to the correct conclusion on the smallest of clues, it is rather painful as the reader to see an obvious aspect of the mystery and then wait several chapters before anyone in the story even begins to piece it together. Also, in both books, the very small suspect pool made pegging Found the second in the series to be much the same as the first. Likable main characters, but fairly slim on the actual mystery and deduction. While I’m happy to have a main character that isn’t unnaturally able to leap to the correct conclusion on the smallest of clues, it is rather painful as the reader to see an obvious aspect of the mystery and then wait several chapters before anyone in the story even begins to piece it together. Also, in both books, the very small suspect pool made pegging the culprit(s) a bit too easy. Somewhere between two and three stars for me. Would recommend if you like historical cozy mysteries that are more drawing room conversations than action.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    Thank you to NetGalley for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review. I loved the first book in this series, so I was quite excited when I saw the second instalment available to request on NetGalley. It's a fun cozy, and is perfect for anyone who is waiting for the Downton movie, or wants a lighter Sherlock Holmes fix. It is well-written, and moves along at a nice pace! Thank you to NetGalley for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review. I loved the first book in this series, so I was quite excited when I saw the second instalment available to request on NetGalley. It's a fun cozy, and is perfect for anyone who is waiting for the Downton movie, or wants a lighter Sherlock Holmes fix. It is well-written, and moves along at a nice pace!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kay (aka) Miss Bates

    Though I’m no fan of the new stylized covers, Freeman’s Lady’s Guide to Gossip and Murder WAS pink and I love pink as much as a murder mystery set in late Victorian times among the aristocratic and privileged. If only there’d been a murder at Downton … (well, there was, but it was in a hotel room). I thought Freeman’s plot convoluted, but I wanted to find another historical murder mystery series to follow, as if I didn’t already have quite a few. Ah, the complicated plotting: young, widowed, sing Though I’m no fan of the new stylized covers, Freeman’s Lady’s Guide to Gossip and Murder WAS pink and I love pink as much as a murder mystery set in late Victorian times among the aristocratic and privileged. If only there’d been a murder at Downton … (well, there was, but it was in a hotel room). I thought Freeman’s plot convoluted, but I wanted to find another historical murder mystery series to follow, as if I didn’t already have quite a few. Ah, the complicated plotting: young, widowed, single mother, Lady Harleigh, American Frances Price by birth, aristocratic British by marriage of convenience, much like Lady Grantham, is our amateur sleuth. When the novel opens, we learn Frances has refused marriage to her charming neighbour and partner in sleuthing (does he work for the Home Office?), George Hazelton. Frances lives with Rose, her seven-year-old daughter; recently affianced sister, Lily; Aunt Hetty, and the comic-relief, klutzy, American heiress, Charlotte Deaver (left to Frances’s care by her globe-trotting, toy-boy-collecting mother). Frances has a lively social life, now she’s out of mourning, and a wide circle of friends, one of whom is Charles Evingdon, a harmless, handsome, air-headed aristocrat. Frances has tried to set Charles up with one of her friends, Mary Archer. Sadly, Mary is murdered and Charles is implicated. With George’s help, Frances extricates Charles from the police. However, as she, George, and their coterie of friends, including Charles, learn more about Mary Archer, things are curiouser and curiouser. Like Frances, Mary is a widow, but one of greatly straitened financial circumstances. Mary’s widow’s weeds and circumspect life reveal themselves to be anything but to Frances and George. They discover that Mary was a collector of from potentially embarrassing to surely illegal secrets on the part of many in English high society. How was Mary going to use this information and who might kill her to prevent her from exposing them? George and Frances, Charles and Charlotte, as well as Inspector Delaney work together and apart to find how Mary’s secrets, personal and in her possession, led to her demise. Freeman’s Lady’s Guide to Gossip and Murder had the accoutrements to make me love it. An 1899 setting, practically Downton (yes, I was an unabashed fan-girl), a potential romance in Frances and George, English setting, aristocratic antics, comeuppances, and a modicum of Frances-George banter. It was, however, so very very plotty, to the detriment of my feeling any sympathy, or liking for the characters. Not that I disliked them; they were flat. And yet, there were moments when Frances’s connection to the RIP Mary, as a fellow widow who has to make her way in the world, was expressed with elegance and sympathy. Take for example, Frances’s comment about how Mary chose to make a living: “A woman would give a great deal for that sense of independence and self-sufficiency. Mary chose a way to support herself by making use of her skills … I might not approve, but I certainly understood. And I was in no position to condemn.” I wish there was MORE of George and Frances and more of these moments of connection and introspection. That being said, if you love a plotty murder mystery, smoothly, though not charmingly written, this may be the novel for you. I will, however, pass on any others in future. With Miss Austen, we say A Lady’s Guide to Gossip and Murder offers “tolerable comfort,” Mansfield Park. Dianne Freeman’s A Lady’s Guide to Gossip and Murder is published by Kensington Books. It was released on June 25 and may be found at your preferred vendor. I received an e-ARC from Kensington Books, via Netgalley.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jenna

    While I wasn’t too impressed with the first book in the series, I did like the characters and decided to try the 2nd book.  George &Frances have a slow building romance which normally would be annoying but actually fits with these characters. The writers style is to build a story slowly which she does with their relationship as well as the mystery. This time the dead body shows up at the beginning of the story and the investigation of clues propels the narrative forward. I did this one on audio & While I wasn’t too impressed with the first book in the series, I did like the characters and decided to try the 2nd book.  George &Frances have a slow building romance which normally would be annoying but actually fits with these characters. The writers style is to build a story slowly which she does with their relationship as well as the mystery. This time the dead body shows up at the beginning of the story and the investigation of clues propels the narrative forward. I did this one on audio & I think that attributed to the pace being faster and not as dull/slow as in the first book. i'll probably continue with the series as i do like Frances & want to see what happens with her.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Merry Jewelhound

    This is the 2nd in the series. A light read with characters that I enjoy. I liked the secondary characters and thought they added a lot to the cozy mystery using humor. George and the Countess have a slowly budding romance along with solving the crime. I plan to continue the series. I would rate it 3.5* and round up.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Mortisha Cassavetes

    This is the second book in the series and I just love all the characters! The story continues with Frances and her sister comes to London for the season and of course there is a murder to solve. Wonderful cozy mystery that I highly recommend.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Delaney

    This is the fun mystery I deserved!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Margaret Kelly

    Well, this was a true delight of a book! Thanks so much to Netgalley and Kensington Books for the advance review copy! A Lady's Guide to Gossip and Murder by Dianne Freeman follows Frances Wynn, Countess of Harleigh and bourgeoning amateur detective. When an acquaintance of hers, Mary Archer, is murdered and her cousin Charles is suspected of the crime, Frances throws herself into solving the puzzle of why she was killed. Dianne Freeman, in addition to deft weaving of the historical details of la Well, this was a true delight of a book! Thanks so much to Netgalley and Kensington Books for the advance review copy! A Lady's Guide to Gossip and Murder by Dianne Freeman follows Frances Wynn, Countess of Harleigh and bourgeoning amateur detective. When an acquaintance of hers, Mary Archer, is murdered and her cousin Charles is suspected of the crime, Frances throws herself into solving the puzzle of why she was killed. Dianne Freeman, in addition to deft weaving of the historical details of late Victorian London, has created a charming heroine who is determined to get to the bottom of the mystery while maintaining the respectability expected of aristocratic women. While these two women occupy different historical periods, Frances reminded me of Phryne Fisher from the Miss Fisher's Murder Mystery series in that they're both savvy, wry, and protective of their friends. In addition, Frances has a great team to assist her. Her friend and will they/won't they love interest George Hazelton is an investigator and lawyer in his own right, but in addition to his help, Frances has her Aunt Hetty and Lottie (her little sister's best friend) who each have their own set of skills to contribute to cracking the case. I prefer a colorful cast to lone wolf investigators myself, and Dianne Freeman did a great job with the character development across the board. My only quibble is that I didn't realize this murder mystery would be of the cozy sort, and I usually prefer an increased sense of danger in the mysteries I read. So, for any readers in the same boat, do know that ahead of time. That said, the mystery was well-constructed, the characters shone, and this was the light, bright, sparkling read I needed to get my summer reading started!

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