Cover Image: A Sinister Service

A Sinister Service

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Member Reviews

This was the first book by Alyssa Maxwell that I've had the pleasure of reading, and it won't be the last.  Lady Phoebe and her maid join forces to investigate murders and are able to cover upstairs and downstairs society in their hunt for clues.  The book captures the ambience of the post-WWI period and blends it with an interesting mystery.  This is book six in an ongoing series, but it's not necessary to have read the preceding books to enjoy it (but I'm adding the earlier books to my TBR list now!).
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This series is getting better and, most importantly, the rather unpleasant main characters are getting deeper and more sympathetic.  There is still not enough development of the investigative relationship between Lady Phoebe and her maid Eva, as it is diluted with the constant dynamics from all the other family characters. Eva's dialogue doesn't ring true, being too sophisticated for an uneducated maid. In addition, the bulldog attitude of the maids (Lady Julia's and Phoebe's) is tiresome and a bit repulsive. More dimensionality is needed. However, Maxwell does a good job in forming interesting plots with fascinating settings and new characters. Readers will find plenty to enjoy in this story, particularlly, the setting of a famous porcelain factory, the making of china and its designing, and the horrific murder. The series has a lot going for it, and the gradual maturity of the characters is a decided plus.
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The Phoebe Renshaw and her siblings are in Staffordshire to meet with designers at Crown Lily Pottery and discuss the potential purchase of a special tea service for their grandparents' upcoming anniversary. Phoebe’s brother Fox is surprised when he finds his friend Trent Cameron working at the pottery. Trent isn’t at all happy about it, since he was forced to leave school by his father, who is Crown Lily’s senior designer, and learn the pottery business from the ground up. When, the following day Mr. Cameron is murdered, Trent becomes the prime suspect and is arrested. The Renshaw’s are convinced of Trent’s innocence and Phoebe, along with Eve, her lady’s maid and partner in detection, sets out to prove it.

This is the sixth in Maxwell’s Lady and Lady’s Maid Mystery Series. I’ve read them all and enjoyed each and every one, and A Sinister Service is no exception. The mystery is extremely well plotted with an investigation that is intelligently done by amateur detectives Phoebe and Eva. And while there are only a few potential suspects, the true culprit remains hidden by some well-placed red herrings. Maxwell also does very well weaving in a great deal of fascinating information about the pottery industry in Staffordshire, and the continuing stories of Phoebe, Eva, and the Renshaw's, without overshadowing the main plot. 

Another great read in what continues to be one of my favorite historical mystery series. I’m already looking forward to the next book.
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Lady Phoebe and her maid Eve are once again involved in murder. While ordering a set of china for their grandparents, the 4 siblings become involved when a youth is accused of murdering his father, the head designer. Suspects abound, but how to prove that Trent is innocent? A nice addition to this series.
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I enjoy Alyssa Maxwell's A Lady and Lady's Maid Mysteries very much and A Sinister Service did not disappoint! Lady Julia is still dealing with the family of her late husband while she waits for her baby to be born so the siblings take a trip to Staffordshire to buy an anniversary gift for their grandparents and check out one of Lady Julia's properties. The family dynamics are always interesting with the Renshaws and Eva is so good as their assistant sleuth. I look forward to the next one!
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This series just gets better with every book!. I love the two main characters, Phoebe and Eva and both are clever and fun. Tightly plotted with witty dialog and the occasional twist and turn, this cozy does not disappoint. I learned a lot about the making of fine china/pottery and Scotland. Thank you NetGalley for the advanced readers copy for review.
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WWI is finally over. The quirky and fun Renshaw siblings decide to travel to Staffordshire with their lady's maids to visit a renowned pottery factory to have a one-of-a-kind china service designed and created for their grandparents' anniversary.  Naturally, there are as many differing opinions on style as there are siblings.

Death arrives at the factory as one of the two leading pattern designers is found in a messy position.  Mysteriously, a crucial pattern book disappears.  Eva, Lady Phoebe's Lady's Maid, inveigles her way into the factory to snoop around and befriends a female employee.  Despite ensuing danger, Eva and Phoebe investigate, though the local inspector orders them to stop.  

Meanwhile, a young friend of the youngest Renshaw siblings, Fox, is arrested for murder.  The rest of the book follows this as well as family relationships and the search for the missing patterns.

The historical pottery and china details are uniquely fascinating and really taught me a lot.  My mom collects china so will be thrilled to read this.  

Though a couple of characters were shallow in ways, there was growth, too.  I like and appreciate flawed characters.  Twists were well written.  Discover which china pattern is chosen in the end!

Cozy mystery meets historical fiction readers will enjoy this novel which oozes with charm, the sixth in the series (though could easily be read as a standalone).  

My sincere thank you to Kensington Books and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of this delightful book in exchange for an honest review.  Much appreciated.
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Our protagonist, Phoebe Renshaw and her brother and sisters have traveled to Langston to visit Crown Lily Pottery where they are going to purchase a china service for their grandparents as an anniversary present.  They meet two different designers and make arrangements to return the next day to review the designs and decide.  On their visit, Phoebe's brother Fox is delighted to run into an old school chum who had left Eton to work at the pottery.  

They are in the pottery owner's office the next day, when the body of one of designers is found.  The police arrest Fox's friend, who was known to be disgruntled about leaving school and because his dog was found at the scene of the crime.   Phoebe has solved crimes before so her family turns to her to help prove the innocence of Fox's friend.

Phoebe's maid and conspirator Eva goes undercover at the factory while their driver goes to the local pub to talk with the factory workers and gain info.  The information gathered gives them more motives to work through and the story and resolution of the murder is entertaining and well done even if Phoebe has a crisis of faith when something goes horribly wrong.

I highly recommend this series-it is a great light historical mystery,

I requested and received an ARC of the book from Kensington via NetGalley.  The opinions expressed are my own.
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Phoebe and Eva are back to solve another murder in the sixth book in the series. The designer of a set of chins has been murdered, and he’s the father of Trent, who is a friend of Phoebe’s brother. Trent is initially a suspect but then it appears to more of a rivalry from another chins manufacturer. To get to the bottom of this mystery, Phoebe and Eva work together like always and Eva gets to go undercover a bit in this book. 

As always, the mystery is full of twists and turns that keep you guessing. I like some of the historical details that pop up in the book which make it fairly obvious that this takes place in the early 1920s. The series including this book are highly recommended to anyone who likes historical mysteries.
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This series and author just gets better and better  as more novels are published. The two main characters are both feisty and fun. The writing is well crafted and both the mysterious story line and plot are extremely entertaining. Another fabulous addition to the historical mystery genre. I highly recommend this novel.
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England, cosy-mystery, historical-fiction, historical-research, amateur-sleuth, women-sleuths

November 1920. The service in the title is pottery for dining on and refers to events that transpire in Staffordshire. The publisher's blurb gives a fair intro into the convoluted family history and involvements but is a little iffy on the sleuthing and murders. There is intrigue afoot in the factory and the first murder rather coincides with the family's arrival. The sleuthing is well done by Lady Phoebe and her best friend/maid Eva, especially since they believe that the constabulary is bent on pinning the crime on the 15 year old son of the victim/co-owner of the factory. It is a well formulated story with any fascinating, if exasperating, characters. I was riveted by it!
I requested and received a free ebook copy from Kensington Books via NetGalley. Thank you!
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