A Lady's Guide to Gossip and Murder by Dianne Freeman Excerpt and Giveaway @Difreeman001 @KensingtonBooks @hfvbt
A Lady's Guide to Gossip and Murder by Dianne Freeman
Publication Date: June 25, 2019
Hardcover, eBook, AudioBook
Genre: Historical Mystery
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...
Excerpt“What about Lottie as a match for Mr. Evingdon?”
I glanced over at Lottie in time to see the girl blush furiously. I should have seen this coming. Lily had invited her to visit during the next social season and allow me to introduce her to London society. Lottie’s mother favored the idea, but not the timing. She’d dropped her only daughter on our doorstep three weeks ago, like a twenty-one-year-old foundling, and took herself off to Paris to have a new wardrobe designed.
Or so she claimed.
Since her forwarding address was in care of the Comte De Beaulieu, I found her cover story rather weak. The Comte was the notorious libertine British husbands considered all Frenchmen to be. And penniless in the bargain. If he had designs on anything, it was likely Mrs. Deaver’s pin money. Considering the large bank draft she provided to cover her daughter’s expenses, and my own of course, I suspected her pin money to be substantial, and Mr. Deaver was unlikely to miss it or his wife. If the gossip from my mother’s letters was true, Mrs. Deaver so scandalized the matrons of New York, none of them would let their sons near Lottie.
Considering Mrs. Deaver’s reputation across the pond, it was perhaps for the best that she moved on before she could establish one here. But while I appreciated the extra funds, I was left with the problem of what to do with Lottie. The unfortunate young lady sought an aristocratic husband during a time when the aristocrats were all tucked away at their country homes preparing to shoot red grouse as soon as the Glorious Twelfth arrived.
There were few social events this late in the summer, which meant we had her company all to ourselves for the weeks she’d been here. She was a pretty girl of medium height, slender, as fashion decreed, with an oval face framed by an abundance of russet hair. I found her to be endlessly interested in everything. As I told Sir Hugo, she was easy to entertain. She was also determined to be helpful. I learned very quickly, accepting her assistance could be dangerous.
If I allowed her to arrange the flowers, she’d only break the vase and spill the water. I’d once asked her to fetch a book from a shop just a few blocks away. She’d neglected to take a maid and, lost in thought, she wandered so far out of the neighborhood, three of us had to go out in search of her. A search that took several hours from my day and, I suspect, a few years off my life as I imagined her abducted and sold into slavery. How would I ever have explained that to her family?
She seemed always to have a spot on her dress, ink on her fingers, and a trail of destruction in her wake, but it was clear she always had the best of intentions. In fact, she was very endearing and I liked her a great deal, if only I could keep her from touching anything.
But as a match for Charles? I wasn’t quite sure who would make a good match for Lottie, but I’d never have picked him. For one, his home had far too many priceless antiques to be broken. For another, though I protested Aunt Hetty’s saying it, he was a bit of a dunderhead. Lottie needed someone to help her navigate the twists and turns of society. That would not be Charles.
There was one objection I could make. “It would probably be wise to find out from Mr. Evingdon why he didn’t form an attachment to Mrs. Archer before I introduce him to anyone else.”
“What did you say her name was?”
I glanced up to see Hetty watching me over the turned-down corner of her newspaper.
“Mary Archer. Why?”
Hetty twisted her lips into a grimace. “It appears Mr. Evingdon is correct in this matter. Whatever divided them, he’ll have no opportunity to reconcile with Mrs. Archer.”
Confused, I stared at my aunt. “What are you saying?”
“I’m sorry to give you this news, Frances, but I just read about her in the paper. It appears she’s been murdered.”
Advance praise for A Lady’s Guide to Gossip and Murder“Readers will enjoy playing amateur sleuth as they learn what really might be going on behind closed doors in 1899’s best British homes.” —Heather Redmond, author of A Tale of Two Murders
“The full cast of talkative aristocrats, the lighthearted tone, and the fast pace will keep readers actively engaged. This would make a wonderful introduction to cozy mysteries for fans of Regency or Victorian romance, and it will also hit the mark for followers of Elizabeth Peters and Deanna Raybourn.” —Booklist
“A charming period mystery with enough sexual tension and credible suspects to keep the reader guessing.” –Kirkus
Praise for A Lady's Guide to Etiquette and Murder“Fans of Georgette Heyer will appreciate the hints of romance, while aficionados of Deanna Raybourn or D.M. Quincy will delight in the banter-filled dialog and period details.”—Library Journal, Starred Review
“Fans of witty, lighthearted Victorian mysteries will be enthralled.”- Publishers Weekly Starred Review
“This lighthearted debut tale of mystery, love, and a delightful sleuth will leave you wanting more—which is presumably just what Freeman has in mind.”– Kirkus Reviews
“A delightful tale of shenanigans among the British aristocracy. Lady Frances feels very real—not too smart and spunky but no shrinking violet either.” —Rhys Bowen, New York Times bestselling author
About the AuthorDianne Freeman is a life-long book lover who left the world of corporate finance to pursue her passion for writing. After co-authoring the non-fiction book, Haunted Highway, The Spirits of Route 66, she realized her true love was fiction, historical mystery in particular. She also realized she didn’t like winter very much so now she and her husband pursue the endless summer by splitting their time between Michigan and Arizona. She's been nominated for an Agatha and the prestigious Mary Higgins Clark Award, and won the 2019 Lefty Award for Best Debut Mystery.
Blog Tour Schedule
Tuesday, June 25
Review at Book Frolic
Review at The Lit Bitch
Wednesday, June 26
Review at Macsbooks
Excerpt at To Read, Or Not to Read
Thursday, June 27
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Friday, June 28
Excerpt at The Book Junkie Reads
Saturday, June 29
Feature at Historical Fiction with Spirit
Sunday, June 30
Review at Oh, The Books She Will Read
Monday, July 1
Review at Mama's Reading Corner
Tuesday, July 2
Interview at Maiden of the Pages
Wednesday, July 3
Review at Bibliophile Reviews
Thursday, July 4
Interview at Passages to the Past
Friday, July 5
Review at A Darn Good Read
Review & Excerpt at Locks, Hooks and Books
Saturday, July 6
Review & Interview at Jorie Loves A Story
GiveawayDuring the Blog Tour, one winner will receive a paperback copy of A Lady's Guide to Gossip and Murder and a $10 Amazon Gift Card! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.
– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on July 6th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to the US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.
Lady's Guide to Gossip and Murder