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A Pinch of Poison
Cover of A Pinch of Poison
A Pinch of Poison
Lady Phoebe Renshaw and her lady's maid, Eva Huntford, encounter an uncharitable killer at a charity luncheon sponsored by a posh school for girls . . .

Good deeds build good character, and good character is what the Haverleigh School for Young Ladies is all about. Lady Phoebe—with the tireless assistance of Eva—has organized a luncheon to benefit wounded veterans of the Great War, encouraging the students to participate in the cooking and the baking. But too many cooks add up to a recipe for disaster when the school's headmistress, Miss Finch, is fatally poisoned.

The girls at Haverleigh all come from highly respected English families, none of whom will countenance their darling daughters being harassed like common criminals by the local police. So Lady Phoebe steps in to handle the wealthy young debutantes with tact and discretion, while Eva cozies up to the staff. No one is above suspicion, not even members of the school's governing body, some of whom objected to Miss Finch's "modern" methods. But Lady Phoebe and Eva will have to sleuth with great stealth—or an elusive killer may try to teach someone else a lethal lesson . . .

"Colorful information on the postwar period is combined with plenty of suspects, all neatly wrapped up in the style of a classic mystery."
Kirkus Reviews
Lady Phoebe Renshaw and her lady's maid, Eva Huntford, encounter an uncharitable killer at a charity luncheon sponsored by a posh school for girls . . .

Good deeds build good character, and good character is what the Haverleigh School for Young Ladies is all about. Lady Phoebe—with the tireless assistance of Eva—has organized a luncheon to benefit wounded veterans of the Great War, encouraging the students to participate in the cooking and the baking. But too many cooks add up to a recipe for disaster when the school's headmistress, Miss Finch, is fatally poisoned.

The girls at Haverleigh all come from highly respected English families, none of whom will countenance their darling daughters being harassed like common criminals by the local police. So Lady Phoebe steps in to handle the wealthy young debutantes with tact and discretion, while Eva cozies up to the staff. No one is above suspicion, not even members of the school's governing body, some of whom objected to Miss Finch's "modern" methods. But Lady Phoebe and Eva will have to sleuth with great stealth—or an elusive killer may try to teach someone else a lethal lesson . . .

"Colorful information on the postwar period is combined with plenty of suspects, all neatly wrapped up in the style of a classic mystery."
Kirkus Reviews
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About the Author-
  • Alyssa Maxwell knew from an early age that she wanted to be a novelist. Growing up in New England and traveling to Great Britain fueled a passion for history, while a love of puzzles of all kinds drew her to the mystery genre. She and her husband reside in Florida, where she loves to watch BBC productions, sip tea in the afternoons, and delve into the past. You can learn more about Alyssa and her books at www.alyssamaxwell.com.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    October 24, 2016
    Maxwell’s middling second Lady and Lady’s Maid mystery (after 2015’s Murder Most Malicious) centers on Lady Phoebe Renshaw’s alma mater, the Haverleigh School for Young Ladies, in the Cotswolds. In the spring of 1919, 20-year-old Phoebe organizes a luncheon at the school to benefit needy Great War veterans and their families. Tragically, the miniature cake specially made for headmistress Henrietta Finch is laced with cyanide. When Constable Miles Brannock urges Phoebe and her maid, Eva Huntsford (herself once a Haverleigh scholarship student), to interview students and staff, they find motives aplenty for Finch’s murder. Her progressive philosophy has ruffled feathers, a grading scandal is brewing, and the school’s nurse and handyman hide secrets. Maxwell leaves the two protagonists’ budding romances intriguingly unresolved. But with a surfeit of minor characters hastily introduced at the start and a crime that has no personal stakes for the sleuths, the noticeable similarities to TV’s Downton Abbey don’t extend to taut or emotionally charged drama. Agent: Evan Marshall, Evan Marshall Agency.

  • Kirkus

    October 15, 2016
    A titled lady and her maid work to solve a murder at a girls' school.World War I has come to an end, but life in England continues to change in many ways. Phoebe Renshaw, granddaughter of the Earl of Wroxly, wants more than the rich husband that still seems to be the limit of her older sister Julia's ambition. In collecting items useful to returned veterans and their families, Phoebe's been helped by the students at the Haverleigh School for Young Ladies, where her younger sister, Lady Amelia, is a pupil. When the headmistress, Miss Finch, drops dead over her cup of tea, chaos ensues. Luckily, Phoebe and Eva Huntford, the lady's maid the three sisters share, are on hand to quell the panic until the police arrive. Constable Brannock and his remote chief inspector at first dismiss the incident as an accidental poisoning, but, later, the constable suspects cyanide. Miss Finch alone had been served a cake supposedly made especially for her by haughty Lady Zara, who looks down on many of her fellow students, especially the scholarship girls. Brannock, who recalls how well Phoebe and Eva worked together solving another mystery (Murder Most Malicious, 2015), is eager to benefit from their inside knowledge this time. Verity Sedgewick not only wanted Miss Finch's job, but is suspiciously well-dressed for an assistant headmistress; the school nurse's wartime service includes a legacy of PTSD; the garden boy is hiding secrets; and Miss Finch herself had changed Lady Zara's marks to high ones even though everyone knew she did the least amount of work possible. The unlikely sleuthing duo uses information from both upstairs and downstairs to solve the case. Colorful information on the postwar period is combined with plenty of suspects, all neatly wrapped up in the style of a classic mystery.

    COPYRIGHT(2016) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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