Danger on the Downs

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 18 Feb 2019

Member Reviews

Book two in the Sleuthing Starlet mysteries sees Cora attending a country house party.- It's not too long before a corpse makes a staring appearance. A wholly entertaining and pleasant read with a likeable protagonist. A gentle, enjoyable whodunit.
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If you like cosy mysteries which are part of a series set in the past this is a very good example of this genre
Inter war years, Bulgarian spies, caves and a super rich country mansion dweller. Plus movie stars and a handsome love interest. Great fun

Apart from the murder

3.5 stars
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Want to read a book while imagining the actresses of the 40's in a tense, thriller noir.

Authentic period piece, great world building takes you back to before the war in England.

Great imagery and characters.
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A funny and enjoyable historical cozy mystery.
I liked the cast of characters, the setting and the historical background,
The mystery was ok, full of twists and turns, and keeps you guessing till the end.
I look forward to reading other books in this series.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC
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Cora Clarke is a Hollywood starlet who moves to England to visit her Aunt Maggie. Mrs Ivanov, Aut Maggie’s employer, invites Cora to a house party and asks her for her help because she is afraid someone is trying to kill her husband. Because Cora had played a sleuth in her films, Mrs Ivanov believes she will be able to assist. 

At the party, a murder does happen and Cora feels guilty for not having prevented it and she starts sleuthing. Although I figured out the plot fairly quickly, I did enjoy reading the story a lot. 

The story is set in England just before WWII broke out and I really liked reading about the political sentiments of the time.

I will definitely read more books about Cora Clarke. I already tried to find the first one in the series, unfortunately, I have not been able to find it yet. 

Thanks to Netgalley for providing me with a free copy in exchange for my review.
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Thank you NetGalley for this ARC in return for my honest review. 

Child star from Hollywood, Cora Clarke, moves to England to find long-lost relatives or to look for a new life, as she is no longer can play a girl detective. She outgrew that role and was unable/did not want to get another. The reasoning was quite vague in the novel. The move was also quite ambiguous as some scandal in Hollywood was briefly mentioned. However, Danger on the Downs is a second book in the series, but haven’t read the first, I assume most of my questions were answered there. 

The book is ok, a bit slow from the start, but picks up reasonably soon. I found it a bit hard to follow, as it seems that characters were jumping from conversation to conversation, from discussing one person to the other. Few parts I found quite hard to believe and/or lack of explanations. For instance, Cora always acted on impulse, she never considered rules of the house, and was in and out of the table as she pleased. Remembering Downtown Abbey and any other movies/series set in the same period of time, that kind of behavior seemed very rude toward the hostess. 

I wish the author would elaborate more on the characters in the story and provided some kind of background. They were detached and hard to imagine.

I give the book three stars. I was into the sequences of events, but couldn’t connect to any characters and didn’t enjoy the flow.
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Cora Clarke was a child star who didn't age quite fast enough; her voice is still high, she is a bit short to be a real leading lady. Everyone knows that she's older so audiences just aren't seeing her the same way. And she's not really sure she wants to be an actor anymore anyway. She's traveling in England and her great-aunt asks her to come visit. Her aunt is one of the maids for a woman who was married first to a wealthy man and now to a foreign prince. When the hostess of the house, Mrs. Ivanov, finds out who Cora is, she invites her to join the dinner party upstairs. But she has a problem that she wants Cora to figure out (since Cora played a girl detective); who is trying to kill her husband? Cora isn't really excited about that plan but she's delighted to find out one of the guests is her best friend, Veronica. Too bad someone kills Mr. Ivanov anyway. At least that means Cora gets to see investigator Randolph again.
I wish this book had had about 80 more pages for a little more exposition. It was a nice, quick read but would have benefitted by a little more filler. The story was so pared down that I felt a little whiplashed by how fast the "ending" changed. It would have also served to make the ending a little less abrupt. 

Three stars
This book came out January 18
ARC kindly provided by publisher and NetGalley
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Definitely enjoyed this book and being whisked back to the golden age. It has encouraged me to seek out more books by the same author.
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I found Danger on the Downs by Bianca Blythe to be an amusing and charming British mystery.  The characters are all loveable and Archibald a great companion. I recommend this smart mystery to all readers in this genre.  I look forward to reading this writer's next book.  Thanks to Net Galley and Victory Editing for allowing me to read it in exchange for an honest review.
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Its 1938 and unemployed actress Cora Clarke has been invited by her Great Aunt to visit. Her Aunt who works for a Mrs Ivanov. On finding out that Cora has played a detective in films she employs her to find out who is trying to kill her husband. Tragedy strikes when he is found dead, but he is not the last.
A lightweight cozy mystery which unfortunately I didn't really find any depth to the characters or find them interesting.
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I like cozies. I like when the setting is in England in nice old fashioned houses but this particular read though it ticked all the boxes was a little too stilted, a little too constrained for me.

The gentleman of the house - suave, polished and Bulgarian was found stabbed to death in his study. There was a full party of guests in the house. Of course all are suspect. The one who has to take the fall is initially the butler who is Bulgarian himself. The Bulgarian part was given a lot of emphasis in the story as if by being Bulgarian you were automatically judged as being anarchist and looked at with suspicion by all. The butler was harmless. The guilt lay elsewhere. A second murder takes place. This time it is the innocuous Accountant. The pace hots up and the detectives know that they have a killer in their midst. 

Cora is one of the invited guests but her aunt is a servant in the house. So her position is rather mixed. Neither upstairs or downstairs though the hostess appeals to her to find out who is going to kill her husband (this was just a day before he was actually killed).  The onus of guilt spreads amongst almost all the house guests and then by a series of deductions falls on the murderer.

Cora is a former Hollywood child star. The other guests are a mixed bunch and some of them have much to gain from Mr. Ivanov's death but many have no link to him at all. When the Accountant is killed, there is no one who is going to gain by his death so who and why was he murdered.
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I read this in a few hours, and can only say I found it amazingly charming and delightful! Bianca Blythe has set us up with a lovely protagonist who takes people unawares with her sleuthing abilities as they think her only a silver screen darling.

Cora Clarke is charming and real, I liked her flaws and quirks, and I enjoyed the voice Bianca has given her. I had not read book one in this series but found it wasn't necessary which I find to be a huge bonus when you pick up a book that seems up your alley. 

The style is a bit reminiscent of Agatha Christie, a dinner party, no one else in or out which means its one of the guests or servants and it is a fun game of guess who. Some of you may find you'll know who did it right off the bat, but, she still provides enough twists and turns to divert you if you aren't sleuthing yourself for the real culprit. Overall if someone is not into grisly murder mysteries but want a good 'whodunnit' novel with some adorable romance... they'll find this one truly a delight, the sleuthing starlet is definitely a series I look forward to keeping an eye out for. 

I read a free ARC of this that I accessed from Netgalley, I was not paid or enticed to give anything but an honest review. It will run on my GoodReads from 23 (US timezone) of January/ 24 of January (US TImezone) and will be available on my blog www.thecaffeinatedreader.com on January 24 by 10am PST.
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