Cover Image: Of Manners and Murder

Of Manners and Murder

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Member Reviews

Book 1 in a new series. Violet is assigned by her aunt to take over the duties of being in charge of a Dear Abby style section of the newspaper. When one of the first one she is given is from a previous letter, she does a bit of investigating and ends up going to the funeral of the woman who had feared for her life. Obviously, for good reason. Enjoyed this one, and look forward to reading the next in the series. And hopefully her silly sister gets a bit more smart. Highly recommend.
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Super cute novel Love the characters in the setting. It’s an easy read, as well as an enjoyable one. I must have her all those that love cozy mysteries.
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I couldn’t wait to dive into this one and I really enjoyed it! If you love historical cozy mysteries then Of Manners and Murder is for you! Violet is an intelligent and independent woman living in England in the late 1800s who takes over, not willingly at first, her aunt’s advice column. Since this is a cozy mystery you can bet she’ll read a letter from someone who’s about to be murdered! I loved the setting and Violet is bound to be a top favorite character for me this year. There are several suspects and not everyone is who they appear to be which adds a layer of complexity to the story. I’m anxiously awaiting the next book in this series!
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Thank you Minotaur and NetGalley for the eARC of Of Manners and Murder!  All opinions in this review are my own.

This is a great start to the new historical mystery series!  I loved the Dear Miss Hermoine angle and I can't wait to see how that factors into future mysteries!

The mystery itself kept me guessing until the end!  I liked how the author presented a list of suspects right from the beginning so you were already suspicious of certain characters.  I liked how everything came together at the end of the novel.

However, I wasn't a huge fan of the cut scenes that followed Violet's sister Sephora.  Luckily, it all makes sense by the end, but I liked Violet much more than her sister so the interspersed chapters were something to just get through in order to get back to the real mystery.

Overall, this is a quick cozy mystery and I am looking forward to reading the next book in this series!
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Adelia runs an advice column called Dear Miss Hermione. One day Adelia quits her role as Miss Hermione and leaves her advice column to her niece Violet. As Violet starts to take over her role as Miss Hermione, a rich woman named Ivy asks her for help. She suspects her husband is planning to kill her. When Violet decides to investigate, she learns that Ivy has committed suicide. As Violet digs deeper, she realizes instead of a suicide, Ivy may have been murdered. Can Violet find out who murdered Ivy and why?

      Violet was an amazing heroine. She was very resourceful and determined. She was a very competent sleuth. I also liked Violet's compassion and willingness to help others. Therefore, Violet made an engaging woman to root for. 

     The other main character is Violet’s sister, Sephora. I found her to be an insufferable character. She was very selfish and annoying. Therefore, I found her storyline to be very unnecessary. I wished that the novel focused solely on Violet and not Sephora. I still disliked her even after I finished the book.

     Overall, this book is about secrets, sisterhood, and betrayal. I really liked all the characters and found them to be very compelling except for Sephora. There were a few times in which I thought the plot was a bit too far-fetched and unbelievable. It took me a while to get into because the story and the mystery both seemed silly. Yet, I had to let go of the story’s silliness in order for me to truly enjoy the novel. Thus, if you are willing to let go of common sense, this novel is very entertaining. I also found the romance to be unnecessary and should have been included in the next novel. Overall, it was a very engaging and fast-paced novel! I recommend this novel for The Lone Fox, Murder at Mallowen Hall, and Lady Helena Investigates!
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Thank you, NetGalley, publishers, and Anastasia Hasting for gifting me a copy of Of Manners and Murder in return for my honest review.

3.5/5 stars

1885: London, England. When Violet's Aunt Adelia decides to abscond with her newest paramour, she leaves behind her role as the most popular Agony Aunt in London, "Miss Hermione," in Violet's hands.  And of course, the first letter Violet receives is full, not of prissy pondering, but of portent. Ivy Armstrong is in need of help and fears for her life. But when Violet visits the village where the letters were posted, she finds that Ivy is already dead.  She'll quickly discover that when you represent the best-loved Agony Aunt in Britain, both marauding husbands and murder are par for the course.

I would like to start out my review by sharing that I am a massive cozy mystery fan!  I think that played against this book for me.  There was nothing special here for me.  If unlike me you haven't read a lot of cozy mysteries, especially Victorian cozies.  but also a 3.5 out of 5 is still a really good rating for me!

With that out of the way, I want to share what I did like.  Who doesn't love a strong no-nonsense female lead who sticks to her guns?  I love strong female leads and this one does not disappoint. I also really enjoyed Anastasia Hastings's writing style and I thought it was very well written. 

If you haven't read a lot of Victoriana era cozies then I would recommend this book to you!
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Thank you St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for e-ARC of the book.

Aunt Adelia is away on an adventure with her new love interest and leaves her niece Violet with an important task - to be "Miss Hermione". It all looks easy - respond to letters and give smart advice until Violet receives a letter from Ivy. Ivy fears for her life and asks for help. Violet can't ignore it and decides to visit Ivy but she is too late - Ivy is dead.

This book was out of my comfort zone as I don't really like settings in the Victorian era. The style of writing corresponded to the time period. I was pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed it - characters, descriptions and the murder mystery.
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I really enjoyed this Agatha Christie type book! Set back in the 1800s London, Miss Hermione is what we’d now call an advice columnist who gets mixed up in a suspected murder! I loved trying to figure out what happened and trying to connect all the storylines. I really liked the main character as well. In the end, the ‘whodunnit’ was a little predictable, but the getting there and ‘why’ behind it was something I didn’t see coming. Overall, this was a good cozy mystery!
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I enjoyed this, but it does slow down a bit after the whirlwind of the beginning. There is a lot of information gathered about the list of suspects and once you get past the halfway point it picks up again.

Violet is thrust into the role of Aunt Hermione by her Aunt Adelia. Aunt Hermione is the most popular Aunt Agony in all of London, Aunt Adelia has secretly filled this role but is leaving it in her niece Violet's hands so that she can take off with her newest paramour.

The first letter she receives immediately grabs her attention. Ivy Armstrong needs help and fears for her life. When Violet travels to the village where the letters were mailed, she discovers that Ivy is already dead.

Using the information Ivy sent to Aunt Hermione, Violet sets out to discover what really happened to Ivy.

Thank you so much to the author and St. Martins Press for this ARC to review.
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It’s 1885 and if one wants advice, especially women, they write to Miss Hermione, an advice columnist. Needless to say, when Violet learns that the identity of Miss Hermione is her Aunt Adelia, she is surprised; that surprise grows when Violet is asked to take over as Miss Hermionie so her aunt can go on a trip. Jumping in with both feet, Violet reads her first letter from a woman named Ivy. Ivy believes someone wants her dead and when Violet travels to the village where Ivy lives, she finds that she is too late, Ivy is dead, and Violet is determined to uncover the truth of what happened.

Of Manners and Muder, the first in the Miss Hermionie series, is a fun little mystery. I liked the characters, especially Violet; she is a strong, independent, determined woman. It is a fast-paced novel for the most part, and it kept me hooked right from the start. While most of the story is told from the perspective of Violet, there are also some chapters narrated by her sister Sephora. While I liked seeing the events through the eyes of more than one character, I honestly disliked Sephora. She is shallow, superficial, and concerned only with finding a man; I hope her character improves in the subsequent novels in the series.
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This one ended up being a miss for me. I couldn't get into the the mystery and I didn't care for the heroine in this one.
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I enjoyed the writing style and the characters in this story. The author brought all the details of the mystery together nicely toward the end. 

The love interest (or what seems the potential for one) comes in almost toward the end of the book, but I liked that the author wrote it that way. The story was more focused on the main character solving the mystery and she didn't have a potential suitor throwing her off her tracks early one. 

If you enjoyed Pride and Premeditation you'll enjoy this book. 

Thank you NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book.
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Violet Manville and her half-sister, Sephora Manville, have moved to London to live with their Aunt, Adelia Manville. Violet is studious, serious, and well-mannered. Sephora inherited her mother's fortune and is younger, more interested in parties, men, and enjoying all that is London. Their Aunt Adelia is rather a free spirit and writes the most popular agony column, Miss Hermione. Another stalwart of the household is Bunty, Adelia's housekeeper and confidant.

Neither Violet nor Sephora knew of Adelia's writing of the agony column in Woman's Place magazine until Adelia requested Violet take her place as the author while she was on vacation. No one actually deals with Adelia in person so a change of author wouldn't be noticed. Also, there are several layers of misdirection between the magazine where the letters are sent before they arrive at Adelia's study. Violet is stunned but has very little time to adjust as Adelia heads out the door.

Sephora is devoted to the column often reading the bits she believes Violet needs to live by. Naturally, Violet will adhere to Adelia's request to keep the secret from her sister. Violet's first letter is from a woman who had previously written so the first step was to read the previous letter and advice and move on to the recent letter. Only this time, the writer believes someone is trying to kill her. Included with the letter is a newspaper article from a local paper with the photos of three people circled.

Violet is concerned and she and Bunty look over both letters and, once they believe they have a name for the writer, Ivy Armstrong, and a village, Violet takes a train to talk to the woman about her fear. On arrival, she learns that the woman she seeks is currently at the churchyard. It's no joke to learn the woman fearing for her life is dead and she has arrived just in time for the funeral.

Not deterred, Violet determines to discover if Ivy was indeed murdered. Her investigation is rather haphazard. It did however gain her some clues, a list of suspects, and a disappointing measure of misogyny mixed with social customs that limit women's ability to act to protect themselves.

The characters in Of Manners and Murder by Anastasia Hastings were people that fit in their time period and were well-defined, quirky, and interesting. I'm hoping readers will be able to meet them again in future books. The plot was multithreaded, totally engrossing and, even if you figure it out before Violet, it is still well worth the time. There's some interesting and witty dialogue, some humor, and instances of social mores that seem silly to our modern sensibilities.

As a warning, there are some truly horrific instances of abuse of women that happened quite frequently during this time period. Not really physical abuse but societal injustice that is abuse when looked at it from where we are now.
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This is the first book in a new cozy mystery series set in the late 1800's.  As we are introduced to Violet and her family, we learn she is the "stable" one so her newly inherited job as an advice columnist should not be difficult.  But her first letter asking for advice is a young woman being stalked and in fear for her life.  When Violet tracks her down, only to learn the young woman is dead froman unfortunate accident, we have to wonder......
This is a really good cozy mystery.  Yes, some of the events could not have happened as they are described during this era, but this is fiction and the story moves quickly.  I believe Anastasia Hastings may have a hit on her hands.
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Downton Abbey meets a young Jessica Fletcher in this book by Anastasia Hastings. Although I would classify this as a cozy mystery, it is far more in-depth, with more interesting twists than a traditional cozy mystery. I thoroughly enjoyed the book!
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I really loved this book in a new to my series and author. I can't wait to read the next one. The characters and location really add to the plot. This book keeps you guessing until the end
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I received an advanced copy of Of Manners and Murder by Anastasia Hastings from the publisher St. Martin's Press via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

What It’s About: This is a cozy mystery that takes place in 1885 London, England. Violet’s Aunt Adelia decides to run off with her latest partner, she insists on leaving her column as advice columnist “Miss. Hermione” to her niece Violet. The first letter Violet receives is from Ivy Armstrong, a woman who claims to be in need of help and fears for her life. When Violet goes to check up on her, Ivy is already dead and Violets finds herself taking on solving the crime.

What I Loved: I liked the concept of cozy set in the Victorian times and a woman who runs an advice column being dragged into murder mysteries. I also liked the ending, I thought it was creatively a good way to end it and it clarified a lot of things. I also liked the sister relationship as a challenge.

What I Didn’t Like: I had trouble keeping track of the storylines or recognize characters. It was bit too chaotic. I didn’t feel like there is any real character growth or depth to the characters which might have made me not care to read very closely. I didn’t really buy the romantic storyline (I think it was supposed to be?).

Who Should Read It: People who like historical cozy mysteries.

Summary: A new advice columnist finds a murder lurking in her first case.
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Great story! This story captured me from the start. Can answering one letter lead you back many years?
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Dear Miss Hermione is an advice column written by Aunt Adelia. But when Adelia decides to leave town with her boyfriend, she assigns the writing to her practical niece Violet. Meanwhile, Violet's sister Sephora shines in social circles and is in love with a stranger. Yet, when Violet finds herself solving a mystery introduced to her by a woman seeking advice, she travels to a small town and discovers murder. And Violet and Sephora might be in danger, too.
I enjoyed the twists and turns of this novel. While I had figured out some of the twists, I also ended up guessing until the end. 
The book made me laugh, too. I can definitely relate to Violet and want to read more books that star her! 
I can't wait for more books in this series. It's fun, cozy and enjoyable.
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I was surprised by how much I enjoyed Of Manners and Murder. It's a fun premise that felt reminiscent of Agatha Christie stories in plotting and pacing. I really enjoyed our main character, Violet, and the "job" her aunt Adelia throws at her on the first pages of the story. The back of the book says "Bridgerton's Lady Whistledown meets Sherlock Holmes" and I believe that's a great description. Can't wait to read more in this series in the future!

Of Manners and Murder is out now!! Thank you Netgalley for my e-arc and thank you Minotaur for the print arc and e-arc access!
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