From The Reading Table: Lady Hardcastle Mysteries

Looking for a cozy book series that has some interesting twists and turns before the actual mystery?

Author TE Kinsey has created a series focusing on two women of different classes set in the early 1900’s.

The friendship between lady’s maid Florence Armstrong and her employer of many years, Lady Hardcastle, is unusual in that the two share an actual affection towards each other. There is respect and trust built on years of mutual support. It doesn’t hurt that the two have apparently been involved in some … interesting escapades in many locations around the world.

Starting with the very first book in the series, the reader is introduced to suggestions of the two women’s past adventures, albeit with passing references and not that much detail. We are left to imagine…all sorts of things. 🙂 As the series unfolds, the backstory is filled in. A bit.

The series begins with what appears to be a retirement to the country, but since the two can’t seem to be all that far away from murder and mayhem, retirement is in name only.

The stories are interesting, well developed and peopled by a broad array of characters that are intriguing and, often, humorous.

Think “Downton Abbey” meets “Murder, She Wrote”. Sort of.

I particularly enjoy the unfolding of the history of the two along with the attention to detail the author employs.

As for the mysteries, those, too, are well constructed and presented. All in all, a good series to add to your To Be Read List.

There is an interesting interview with the author here.

From The Reading Table: Beryl and Edwina Mysteries

I’m a huge fan of Barbara Rosenblat, who reads a variety of books for audio. One of her most well known series is the Amelia Peabody books. When I discovered that she was reading the Beryl and Edwina Mysteries for author Jessica Ellicott I couldn’t resist checking them out.

The series is set in England in the late 1920’s. It features Beryl Helliwell who is a boisterous American and Edwina Davenport, a very proper British woman. The two are life long friends who reconnect when Beryl decides to stay in England after America has implemented prohibition.

Currently at three books, the stories are centered around Edwina’s home village of Walmsley Parva. The village is full of interesting characters – many hearken back to similar cozy mysteries – and the setting is both comfortable and interesting.

Jessica Ellicott has an interesting website providing information on the series as well as the opportunity to sign up for a newsletter to keep up with the goings on.

I do recommend reading the books in order. There is some back story that feeds not only the main story of each of the book but the series and the character growth will make more sense as you read.

As I said, I love Rosenblat’s work and she does an admirable job with all the voices. I enjoy it so much, the series is one I return to time and again when I need a little something to curl up with.

Please add these to your To Be Read List for the next time you want to read (or listen to) something a bit cozy. 🙂