Historical fiction, Mystery

A Lady Eleanor Swift Mystery #10 #11 by Verity Bright

After reading and reviewing books that were a little off my comfort zone, I am back to a familiar series. I have been routinely entertained throughout this from the very first book. If you think we will find out what happened to our lead protagonist’s parents in either of these, you are mistaken. That does not look like a topic that is going to be tackled any time soon.

The French for Murder:

In this instalment of the book, our vivacious protagonist needs some downtime. Her butler comes to her rescue and sets up a holiday in a location that is supposed to not be in ‘season’ for holidayers. They are not there for even a day when Clifford almost stumbles on a corpse (literally and figuratively). Unfortunately for them, the dead man is an American, the kind who is famous and whose killer needs to be caught in a hurry to preserve the town in a positive light. This is where Clifford comes in. The mayor decides that he is the perfect fall guy unless Lady Swift and all the ‘detecting’ in her past can flush out the real culprit.
The story moves at a fast pace, with a lot of partying and characters moving in and out of the scene. The ending was unexpected in some ways, but thinking back, it made sense to me.
The writing, the central cast and their interactions continue to be the highlight of this series. It is fun without being mindless, and the plot of the mystery was quite intriguing. There was an actual need to delve into the investigative world here, and Eleanor comes out with flying colours.
I would not recommend reading this without having read the rest only to have a better perspective of all the people we follow. That said, if there was to be an independent book that someone could pick up without knowing the background of both ‘Lady Swift’ and her all-knowing butler, Clifford, this might be it. One can always go back and peruse the series at leisure at any time.

Death Down the Aisle:

This eleventh book in the series is not one to be read randomly. The basis for why Eleanor investigates and the latent comfort/discomfort in interacting with the head of the investigation will only make sense if you have met them all earlier and watch the relationships build.
Eleanor is not one to make friends, given her eccentric lifestyle before returning home to her title. Luckily, she was able to find a few over her adventures at home and otherwise who like her as she is. One of them is all set to be married and is hoping that Eleanor will be by her side until the wedding goes off without a hitch. This latter part is very important given the information that comes to light in the week before the wedding, and the body associated with the chaos is not found to be breathing.
With murder mysteries of this ilk, there can be two types of solutions. One where the reader can figure out who could have committed the crime based on the trail of breadcrumbs left by the author. The other is where you let the story wash over you, knowing you have no way of having all the information and watching the narration reveal everything in its own time, including the finale. This plot lies somewhere between the two. The parts we were supposed to pick up (or at least I thought so, even after the reveal), I did and kept it close but was unable to do anything with it. The final piece that was required to set it all together is only provided at the very end. I am not mentioning this as a spoiler but instead as a statement so that the reader does not overly stress about pointing out the culprit.
I am not sure how many more books will be in the series, but I will continue to read them if and when I can! I highly recommend this series to anyone who likes long series with equally high-quality content in each, regardless of how many books it’s been since we first met the protagonist and she found her first dead body.

I received an ARC thanks to NetGalley and the publishers but the review is based on my own reading experience of this and all the books previously written in the series.

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