Cover Image: A Lady's Guide to Mischief and Mayhem

A Lady's Guide to Mischief and Mayhem

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Member Reviews

3.5 stars

A Lady’s Guide to Mischief and Mayhem was one of my most anticipated autumn 2020 releases. I’m obsessed with the cover, and after reading the blurb I was sure this would be a fun read with feminism at the forefront. While I had a few small issues with the book, I enjoyed the story and look forward to reading more from Manda Collins.
My favourite thing about this book was our heroine, Lady Katherine Bascomb. A woman owning and running a newspaper in London in 1865 was pretty much unheard of, but she inherited it from her late husband and was determined to be more than the owner in name only. Her intelligence, strength, determination, and humour made her easy to connect with and root for. I also enjoyed our steady, earnest Scotland Yard hero, Andrew Eversham, although I wish we’d got to know more about him. Kate’s new friend Caro was a really fun character too, and I’m curious to read more about her in the next book.
My issues with the book mostly came down to pacing and some inconsistencies and unanswered questions. The book took place over a short period of time, but I’m not quite sure how much time exactly. Because of that, the romance felt very much like insta-love and was hard to believe at times, especially with how hot and cold Andrew was. He pretty much hated Kate at first because she was responsible for him being taken off the serial killer case, but then he was suddenly and completely enamoured with her and boom they were in love. With the short time period of the book and a serial killer on the loose, it felt like there should have been more urgency and excitement, but I thought both were lacking. I was also confused about the age of various characters - Katherine was widowed, but how old was she? I also questioned the accuracy of the ages of some of the side characters, but can’t really say more because of spoilers.
Overall, I enjoyed A Lady’s Guide to Mischief and Mayhem. Despite the few issues I had, I found the story and characters entertaining, and I’ll definitely read the next book in this series.
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This book took me a while to get into, and then overall I still wasn't in love with it. The characters had some good moments, and the mystery was intriguing, but it was also paced in a strange way and written in a way that did not inspire me to pick it up consistently. Fans of this author might love this more than I did since this was my first attempt at her books.
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Lady Katherine Bascombe is a widow who owns and writes for the Gazette.  When a murderer, who has been dubbed the Commandments Killer, remains on the loose, Kate decides to take matters into her own hands.  She tracks down a witness, one who the police somehow failed to interview, and rather than provide than information to the police, chooses to publish it in her newspaper.  Her precipitous actions cause the inspector who was handling the case to be removed, as well as being assigned to menial tasks rather than true police work.

Police inspector Andrew Eversham is a dedicated and thorough investigator, yet the sheer volume of data involved in the Commandments Killer case forced him to use a not so dedicated fellow officer to conduct some of the interviews.  When it comes to light that his comrade failed to properly conduct his task, the blame falls to Andrew for not properly following up.  The police department is already under extreme pressure to solve the case, so Andrew is the one who takes the fall, and is removed.  Now reduced to shuffling files around, Andrew has no love for the newspaper owner, whose actions have caused a suspect to be arrested, one who Andrew is sure is innocent.

Kate is satisfied that the killer is in jail, and proceeds to attend the house party of a friend.  When a murder occurs there, in the same manner the supposedly jailed Commandments Killer used, Kate is shaken.  Was the wrong man arrested after all?  Andrew is put back on the case, and sent to the house party to investigate.  There is some initial friction between Kate and Andrew, as well as an immediate attraction.  Kate is sorry for her rushed publication of the story, and realizes she should have gone to the police first.  She regrets that she inadvertently caused an innocent man to be imprisoned, and that Andrew lost his job, albeit, temporarily.  As for Andrew, he accepts that he failed to follow up the way he should have done.

Andrew and Kate agree to share the facts they have to try to solve the case.  While their “working” relationship has some bumpy encounters, their personal relationship seems to take off.  Kate is a very strong and independent woman, which I admire, but I feel she crossed the boundary into pushy and overbearing.  She felt she truly belonged in every phase of Andrew’s investigation, but she didn’t – she’s a reporter, not a police officer.  I also found Andrew to be somewhat weak willed where Kate was concerned.  Instead of firmly keeping her out of things she didn’t need to be involved with, he seemed to just throw up his hands in defeat.  As they work to solve the case, their passion leads them to begin to think about marriage and forever.  A LADY’S GUIDE TO MISCHIEF AND MAYHEM has self proclaimed that it is first a mystery, then a romance, and that’s very true.  The mystery part was interesting, with the identity of the killer(s) being unexpected and unusual.  While I felt the passion this couple felt, I, unfortunately didn’t feel the love, or genuine romance.  I do appreciate how neither Kate nor Andrew is perfect, and each owns up to their own mistakes.  I think A LADY’S GUIDE TO MISCHIEF AND MAYHEM made for an entertaining book, one that will appeal to readers who enjoy a very strong female lead, and a story that focuses on the mystery.
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Romance mixed with historical fiction and mystery is how I'd describe A Lady's Guide to Mischief and Mayhem, the latest book (and first in a new series) by Manda Collins. Sounds pretty intriguing, right? And with a really fun cover to boot! I liked this one but definitely didn't love it. It was fun but there was something...lacking.

Here's the synopsis:
England, 1865 : As one of England's most notorious newspaper columnists, Lady Katherine Bascomb believes knowledge is power. And she's determined to inform and educate the ladies of London on the nefarious-and deadly-criminals who are praying on the fairer sex. When her reporting leads to the arrest of a notorious killer, however, Katherine flees to a country house party to escape her newfound notoriety-only to witness a murder on her very first night. And when the lead detective accuses Katherine of inflaming-rather than informing-the public with her column, she vows to prove him wrong.
Detective Inspector Andrew Eversham's refusal to compromise his investigations nearly cost him his own career, and he blames Katherine. To avoid bad publicity, his superiors are pressuring him to solve cases quickly rather than correctly. When he discovers she's the key witness in a new crime, he's determined to prevent the beautiful widow from once again wreaking havoc on his case. Yet as Katherine proves surprisingly insightful and Andrew impresses Katherine with his lethal competency, both are forced to admit the fire between them is more flirtatious than furious. But to explore the passion between them, they'll need to catch a killer.
I loved the idea of this novel. The actual practice of it? It let me down a little. I was reading an egalley so I acknowledge there could be changes but I can't check them against a finished copy since wandering around a bookstore is not encouraged right now. I felt like there were a number of scenes where Collins repeated herself and others where they seemed to be out of order. For instance, right near the beginning of the novel we meet Eversham's boss Darrow. There's a scene where the two men talk and Eversham goes about his day. But then, a chapter or so later, they're back together and that's when the reader gets some backstory on Darrow. I didn't find it necessary to begin with and it was a weird spot to have it.

Lady Katherine, or Kate as she's better known by her friends, is very much a feminist which I appreciated. What was awkward was that it seemed like Collins was going out of her way to make sure the reader knew without any doubt that Kate was feminist. Like, I get it. She wants to make sure women have a voice. She runs her own newspaper. She's not afraid to discuss topics that were not "ladylike". I love all of that and maybe it's my modern sensibilities that made it stand out so much. It was also irksome that she was of noble birth and all these rich people were commenting on society when they have no clue what it's like for the average person, like those people who were getting murdered right under their noses. There were comments on classism and racism as well that drew parallels to what we're dealing with right now. And, while I appreciated them, it just didn't quite fit into the story. It felt like they were shoehorned into the plot and dialogue and it was jarring for me.

I liked the characters but I don't really feel like we got to know them very well. I was convinced for awhile that Caro couldn't be trusted because she was a new friend even though she and Kate were acting like they've been best friends since they were young. I was also irked that 1. It took forever to learn about how bad Kate's marriage had been and 2. It was her friend Val who told Eversham, and the reader, about it, not Kate.

The mystery was really intriguing and probably the best part of the plot. It kept me guessing and I really wasn't sure who the murder (or was it murderers, plural?) was going to be. I did have an idea early on, and was right, but that didn't keep me from being interested in, and anxiously waiting for, the reveal and (hopeful) capture of the killer. There were also way more layers to the murders than I could have guessed and that helped make it even more interesting. 

All in all, A Lady's Guide to Mischief and Mayhem was fine. Manda Collins' novel didn't thrill me and I probably won't pick up the next in the series but it entertained me enough while reading it. I'm sure there are many a reader out there who would love it more than I did.

*An egalley of this novel was provided by the publisher, Forever, via NetGalley in exchange for review consideration. All opinions are honest and my own.*
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This was a good start to the series. I liked it but didn’t love the main couple. I am very interested in the budding romance of supporting character though.
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I love that the trend in historical romances right now is independent heroines.  I know this has been around for awhile but if read a few(5-8)recent historical romances and they have all centered around a woman who either works or studies.  It's been so much fun reading about these woman and Katherine was the perfect independent lady. She writes for a newspaper.  And our hero is a detective.  There is a murderer in London and they both want to find out who it is!

I loved the writing style of this book.  It was historical romance but it was also romcom with an added mystery.  It all blended together seamlessly into a story that I could not put down!
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So far I'm reslly enjoying this series.
This was a nice read.
Inread it super fast and found it to be my favorite so far from the series. 
I liked the characters and the romance. 
Didn't love it though.
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Lady Katherine (Kate) Bascomb has recently met Caroline (Caro) Hardcastle.  Kate inherited the Gazette newspaper from her late husband.  Caro is a well-known cookbook author and they decide to join forces on the newspaper.

There is a murderer on the loose called the Commandments Killer and Kate is skeptical of the competence of Inspector Andrew Eversham, of Scotland Yard who is in charge of the case.  

Kate and Caro decide to write a column on their thoughts about the Commandments Killer and plan to call the column “A Lady’s Guide to Mischief and Mayhem.”  The murder victims - 2 women and 2 men - were left with a commandment written out that seemed to coincide with something they had done.  The two ladies plan to warn people who might be at risk in their column.

When the Gazette posts an interview with a witness never interviewed by the police, Eversham is replaced by Wargrove as lead on the case.  He is deemed to be an incompetent investigator and Eversham is furious.

Kate heads to a house party at the home of the Duke of Thornfield out in the country and happens upon a body with a commandment note attached to him.  Eversham is sent to investigate.  He and Kate disagree on a lot of things.

Soon Kate and Caro begin their own investigation along with the help of Eversham.  When Kate and Eversham are alone together, they can’t help but give into an attraction to one another.  Can they solve this case and find the killer before more people are killed?

Oh dear.  This was so very boring!  I have read about eight of this author’s books and my reviews shows that most of them were hard to get into and to keep up with the plot.  Sorry, not a favorite here.

Copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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If you’re looking for a cozy mystery with a hint of romance, then this book is for you! Set in England in 1865, Lady Katherine sets off to write a column in her newspaper to help women stay informed and protect themselves in the midst of a murderer on the loose. After running into the detective, Andrew Eversham, she learns that her article inadvertently messed with the investigation. It eventually leads to Katherine and Eversham chasing clues in the country. This book felt like a murder mystery dinner where everyone is a suspect. Mischief and Mayhem was full of twists and turns, a little bit of enemies to lovers romance and women fighting to be recognized for being more than housewives. While it started a little slow for me, I enjoyed learning the clues of the case and guessing how everything was going to come together. It read like a contemporary romance with a 19th century setting, fashion included.
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A Lady’s Guide to Mischief and Mayhem is the perfect book that involves murder, romance, and secrets. I loved how the main characters kept getting involved with each other and how they hated it but secretly loved it. Eversham was an amazing detective who solved cases to catch the bad guys and not to wrongly convict someone, no matter how long it took to solve the case. Katherine was an amazing person who owned a newspaper company and wanted to use her newspaper for good and to help other women in a male dominated world. I loved their interactions and how as time went on, they slowly started to understand each other and why they do the things they do. I have to say the ending didn’t involve as much action and tension as I wanted, but it was still a good ending.
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I tried to read this book but I was so bored that I gave up at around 40%. Maybe some people will like it but it isn't for me.
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This was just okay for me, mainly because this book is way more focused on the mystery than the romance. The mystery wasn't even all that great, so I'm left feeling pretty meh after finishing this. It also took me a little while to get used to the writing style because it seemed like there was a lot of telling and not showing at first, but I feel like it got better as the book went along. Overall, it wasn't a bad book by any means, but I also wasn't blown away.
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There were several small things that annoyed me about this book. One was when Lady Katherine was hit while in the library. When it happened, it said that she didn't hear anything. Then a few pages later, it said she did. Another example was the couple that attended the house party. They were mentioned to have had a weird courtship (or something along those lines), but it wasn't mentioned what had happened. It just seemed unnecessary to include that info if it wasn't part of the story or explained. To me, this seemed like the editing process was lackluster. The plot was good, but this novel needed more work before publication.
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Lady Katherine Bascomb is making a name for herself with her newspaper column discussing all of the "unseemly" things women aren't supposed to talk about - such as murder. When her writing leads to the arrest of a notorious murderer in London, she escapes to the country to get away from the extra attention. But soon, she finds herself embroiled with another murder mystery and the apperance of the very detective, Mr. Eversham, that saw his career flounder due to her column.

There were some intriguing elements to this cozy mystery that kept me guessing for a good chunk of the book, and I very much enjoyed seeing how Kate fought societal expectations on the status quo for women. Unfortunately, I found the overall story to be a bit repetitive and stiff, particularly when it came to the interactions between Kate and Mr. Eversham. @hireader said it really well in her review - I wish it had leaned further into either the romance or mystery; it was a bit too much of both, leaving both aspects a little lacking for me. While this wasn't a big hit with me, I think readers looking for an English mystery with a lighter steamed romance will enjoy this one!

3/5 stars

Thanks to the publisher for the gifted copy.
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4.5 Stars. 

So I love romance, and I love mystery, and I really love when they are put together! This book did a great job at it. It really pulled me in from the beginning. I was a little wary of this book because I am not really one for historical romance and I was worried that it was going to be too much for me but I was pleasantly surprised. The book was paced very well, I never really felt any lulls while reading it. I did find it to be a compulsory type of read and because of that I read it fairly quickly as well. I will definitely look out for more of this author's work.  

This book follows a journalist Kate and Detective Eversham. Kate or Lady Katherine Bascom writes a news paper article with her friend to help women avoid being a victim of a serial murderer. Over all the banter and clashing between these two was amazing the strong character development was great. I just honestly felt that this was such a well written book. 

Thank you to Grand Central Publishing, Forever Romance and Netgalley for an advanced copy of this book.
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Collins has written competence porn at its finest.  Kate and Andrew work together, sometimes begrudgingly, to solve a murder.  Both respect the other and value the others input.  It is all sorts of fun to read.  If you are looking for a great mystery with not a lot of conflict, this book is the perfect choice.
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A Lady’s Guide to Mischief and Mayhem by Manda Collins 

As a young widow in Victorian England, Lady Katherine’s social station provides her with more opportunities than a less-connected widow in the same position, but nevertheless, there are some things that are frowned upon, such as using her journalistic skills to uncover a serial killer 

NB: The text doesn’t refer to the perpetrator as a serial killer, but there’s a clear pattern between a series of killings around London. 

When Kate runs afoul of Detective Inspector Andrew Eversham, she retires to the countryside and runs right into (quite literally) another victim. 

And guess who shows up to investigate? Yes, that’s right—none other than infuriating…handsome Detective Eversham. At first, this development annoys Kate, but perhaps Andrew is not so bad after all.

The best thing about this book was its homage to classic psychological thriller Se7en. Whereas the film focused on the seven deadly sins, this book features a killer whose victims have all broken one of the ten commandments. With the knowledge that the killer is among them, Kate and Andrew have to unmask the villain before they become the next victims.   

Since there would be no romance without the mystery, much of the relationship-building revolves around Kate and Andrew’s collaboration. The mystery was certainly satisfying, although one clue had a perhaps larger-than-intended effect on me, but that didn’t lessen my excitement to see the big denouement. 

Kate is a wonderful protagonist. She’s clever and progressive and assertive. She’s a good friend, and she’s concerned with justice. Andrew, on the other hand, has the distinct advantage of not being utter rubbish, and realizing Kate’s value as a friend and ally before being attracted to her. 

I would absolutely recommend A Lady’s Guide to Mischief and Mayhem. This is a wonderful start to a new series. I loved the banter between the two protagonists as well as the mystery. I am already excited for the next book in the series, which features two of the secondary characters from this book.   

I received an ARC of this book from Forever/NetGalley
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What a fun read! I love that this was more than a historical fiction romance. It has a great mystery aspect told in dual POV.

At times the narrative was predictable but still quite enjoyable. I appreciated the feminism aspects to this novel. 

Thank you Forever Pub and Netgalley for this advanced readers copy for my honest opinion and feedback. I will definitely be reading more from Manda Collins in the future.
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England 1865 and Lady Katherine is not your typical woman of her time. She owns a newspaper and writes a column called A Lady’s Guide to Mischief and Mayhem with her friend Caro. After a recent article interferes with a very attractive detective inspector’s case and brings unintended consequences, she heads to the country. She comes upon a murder, and now she wants to help the detective solve the murders, while trying not to get too distracted by their growing attraction.

This was so fun! I started it at the end of October, and it seemed like the perfect romance for spooky month. There were some comical parts in the book and the banter was on point for these two protagonists! Not to mention that I love a strong independent woman in these type of books! I can’t wait for the next one!
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3,5-4 stars

This took me by surprise and I really enjoyed it!I like the mystery   a lot.I was intrigued by the plot and I like the writing.We have a serial killer and Andrew was the officer but Katherine's article gets him kicked off.These two they are still forced to work together after another murder.This was a fun read.Katherine annoyed me a little bit and this make me not to love it as much as I wanted. I'm looking forward to more!
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