Cover Image: Of Manners and Murder

Of Manners and Murder

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Member Reviews

I am so pleased to have discovered the wonderful  Dear Miss Hermione Mystery series by Anastasia Hastings. She has started off the series brilliantly with Of Manners and Murder, a well-written, well-researched mystery.
The settings of 1885 Victorian London and a small village in the countryside come to life with vivid descriptions and the main character of Violet, a young woman before her time, is fascinating and relatable. The point of view switches between Violet and her sister Sephora, and the contrasts between the two are vast. The younger sister is vapid, silly, and naïve while Violet is worldly enough to anonymously take over an advice column for women from her aunt.
The column provides some of the most humorous moments in the book, and it is through her letters that Violet comes across the mystery of the novel. The murder mystery is complex, with many suspects and fascinating characters, and it keeps the reader guessing and turning the pages to the very end.
I must say that the description of the book does it no favours, as the book is far better than it makes it sound.
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A victorian Dear Abby style cozy mystery. I love reading Dear Abby so this instantly grabbed me. I fell in love with it. This is exactly what you need on a cool night with a warm blanket and a fire going. This was so good, probably one of my top 3 this month. 
I just reviewed Of Manners and Murder by Anastasia Hastings. #NetGalley
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This is the first in the new Dear Miss Hermione series, and it started out as a mixed bag for me, however by the latter half, the good outweighed the issues for me. 

Set in 1885 England, Violet’s Aunt Adelia (who is an Agony Aunt in London’s newspaper world) abruptly leaves her column in her niece’s hands as she leaves town with her paramour. 

Violet receives a dire letter from a young woman, Ivy Armstrong, asking for her help as she believes she is going to be murdered, and she even points out four possible suspects. But as Violet arrives in Ivy’s village, she discovers Ivy has met with an “accident”, and she becomes determined to find justice. 

Violet is the principal voice here, however her 16-year-old half sister Sephora has her own misadventures (told in her own voice). I found Sephora an annoying, entitled, rude girl, and I found it hard to sympathize with her at all. However, thankfully, by the end of the book there were signs that Sephora’s character might begin to change, hopefully for the better. There was also a very late introduction of a character out-of-the-blue that threw me and heralded another unexpected facet to the series. 

The writing was good, I very much enjoyed Violet’s character and the mystery (even though guessable) was entertaining. I would definitely give the second one a try. 

My sincere thanks to the author, NetGalley and Minotaur Books for providing the free early arc for review. The opinions are strictly my own.
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I requested to read and review this book for free from St. Martin Publishing Company. What a great start to a new series. This book has drama, romance, mystery and so much more. You will cheer on Violet who is wicked smart. Has a no nonsense attitude in life that serves her well. Bunny makes a great side kick that doesn't miss to many things. And you will also meet Sephora the sister that is a hopeless romantic. When Violet takes over for her aunt. Can she help Ivy find the truth about what is going to happen. How hard is it to put pieces of a puzzle together when the person that has part of the pieces can't tell you. The truth always comes out one way or another.
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new-series, first-in-series, amateur-sleuth, 1885, sly-humor, verbal-humor, sisters, situational-humor, historical-fiction, historical-research, England, law-enforcement, cozy-mystery*****

Violet lived a peripatetic life in places where tea grows with her father and family. Now she lives in London with her ditzy half-sister, aunt (who just fled with a latest love which left Violet with tasks), and the family retainer. The tasks that were left involved taking over the lovelorn advice column! One letter is from a young woman who claims that someone is trying to murder her. Because it sounds so odd, Violet leaves to visit the woman only to arrive just in time for her funeral. And then the mischief REALLY begins! Violet feels it is a case of murder (the locals call it suicide or accident) and so the sleuthing begins. This book is totally fun (except for the ditzy sister) with a grand complement of delightful characters, a steady plot with ingenious red herrings, and a surprising twist or two. Loved it!
I requested and received an EARC from St. Martin's Press/Minotaur Books via NetGalley. Thank you!
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In this enjoyable Victorian era mystery, Violet is suddenly left to write the newspaper’s Dear Miss Hermione column which, unbeknownst to her, had previously been penned by her Aunt Adelia. One of the first letters she gets leads her to be concerned for the life of the writer. She takes matters into her own hands and begins to look deeper into the matter, only to find herself soon investigating a murder in a nearby idyllic community.

I really enjoyed the character of Violet, a young “spinster” in 1885 London, and her younger half-sister Sephora, a flighty heiress. Hastings gives just the right amount of detail about their past and present to make me want to learn more in future books.

The mystery was a little slow-paced throughout, with a lot being revealed in the last few chapters and did leave me with a few questions. However, it was a really fun read once I got into the swing of it. I’d love future books to have more Aunt Adelia, and I look forward to spending more time with Violet and Sephora.

I’ve read many first books in mystery series’ and not been particularly interested in continuing the series. That isn’t the case here. I think the setup (answering the newspaper’s Miss Hermione advice column) is unique and the characters are interesting. I plan to keep reading the series.
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As I’ve developed as a reader (or gotten old per my kid) I have learned I am starting to enjoy cozy books more. Sure, I still must be in the mood, and maybe its just the holidays, but I have found myself reading and enjoying more of them lately. This one is a cozy mystery.
The year is 1885 and things are bustling in London, England. When Violets Aunt becomes absorbed with her new partner, she leaves her super popular newspaper guidance moniker to her. One of the first letter Violet receives is from a new wife unsure of her role. Violet responds expecting the problem solved but then she receives another letter, this time, the young women is worried for her life. Violet sets out to uncover who might want the women dead, only to arrive the day of her funeral. Now Violet is determined to solve this mystery, but soon realizes she’s putting herself in danger.
This one was well paced and written. I felt like the story moved along at a nice pace to where I didn’t get bored despite there not being a ton of shocks and awes. I know those aren’t the standard for this genre, but they are usually what hold my interest – yet I didn’t become disengaged with this one. I wanted to figure out the killer right along with Violet and kept rooting her one. Overall I really enjoyed this one and found it to be a nice cozy read.
This one is out Feb 7th, and you won’t be disappointed with it. Huge thank you to @netgalley and the publisher, @stmartinspress,  and Minotaur Books, for my advanced e-arc in exchange for this honest review.
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I couldn't force myself to keep reading after three chapters -- much too many words to establish that a woman has died, and Violet (after learning her aunt was a literal Agony Aunt) wants to find out who is responsible. I couldn't keep dragging myself though the excessive prose, and I didn't care about any of the characters, whether Violet, her flighty half-sister Sephora (which kept making me want to go makeup shopping), or a kind housekeeper/plot device. It was just too dry and earnest.
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This is the first in a really fun Victorian London mystery. There are many twists and turns as Violet, turned sleuth, tries to uncover a murderer. Look forward to the the next episode..
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Curl up and enjoy. Love and romance…family and friends, a lovely Victorian mystery which I hope will be the first of many more..
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This book offers a fabulous opportunity to become immersed in Victorian London, not with Sherlock Holmes, but with Miss Violet and her sister Miss Sephora.

The girls' aunt, their guardian, goes on an unexpected holiday, leaving Violet in charge of answering letters as "Miss Hermione," in the local agony column. When Violet stumbles upon an apparent mystery, she decides to solve it.

Meanwhile, Sephora is slipping out of the house to meet her secretive paramour.

I won't go deeper into the plot. Suffice it to say there are good twists and turns in the plot.

The author has a great feeling for the vocabulary and pacing for a Victorian detective story. I loved the protagonist, a strong young woman who was not afraid to think for herself and make decisions that were not entirely appropriate for a young woman of her status.

If you love Victorian mysteries, you'll love this book. I hope it's the first of a series.
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Not without its charm despite the slippery conventions and unreasonably obvious plot. A strong series start for sure.
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I enjoyed this first book in the Miss Hermoine series, which is set in Victorian England and features Violet Manville, who has taken on the responsibility of writing the Dear Miss Hermoine advice column from her aunt, who has run away with a lover. Violet was raised abroad and is an independent woman in her 20s (I believe). She also is not wealthy; however, her half-sister, Sephora, does have money and wants nothing more than to move in high society. Violet becomes entangled with a mystery when she investigates a letter she has received. There also is a secondary plot involving Sephora and a questionable suitor. I thought the book started out a bit slow, and I determined the villain long before the end. I also thought it a bit odd to introduce a love interest in the final few chapters of the book. Having said that, I am intrigued enough with the characters that I will read this cozy series.  .
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This is a quick fun read with quirky characters…when Auntie leaves, someone else must take her place…advice…love and romance…family and friends…this novel, written by a talented author, is historical fiction at its best,  lightly read.  This book was sent to me electronically by Netgalley for review.  Curl up and enjoy.
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It seems this is the season for “Agony Aunt” mysteries. Although Mary Winters’ March release, Murder in Postscript is set twenty years earlier than Anastasia Hastings’ Of Manners and Murder, both books feature young women tasked with writing advice columns in London. And, both women find themselves involved in an investigation when one of their correspondents ends up dead.

The ” Dear Miss Hermione” column in A Woman’s Place magazine is popular in 1885, so Violet Manville is shocked when her Aunt Adelia announces she’s running off to the continent with her latest fling, and she’s leaving her “Miss Hermione” advice column in Violet’s capable hands. However, when the first letter writer claims that someone is trying to kill her, Violet thinks she needs to track down her correspondent and reassure her. The writer, Ivy, sends along some newspaper clippings, so Violet decides to set off to the village of Willingdale to meet the nervous young wife.

While Violet hatches her schemes, her half sister, Sephora, plots to leave the house and rendezvous with the man she loves, Franklin Radcliffe. He’s handsome, with dark hair, and a strong jaw. But, Sephora can’t meet him often because he has an invalid mother. The fluttery young lady just accepts all his excuses, but she’s determined nothing will keep her from the man she loves.

Violet and Sephora both have the opportunity to tell their stories. Violet takes the train to Willingdale only to discover she’s too late. Ivy is dead. Despite various stories as to how Ivy Clague Armstrong died, Violet is now convinced she was murdered, and that Ivy might have left behind clues as to who wanted to kill her. In the meantime, Sephora seeks help from someone who might give her advice about her relationship. She writes to ” Dear Miss Hermione”.

While the story is a little slow, and it takes time for Violet to realize what is actually happening, Of Manners and Murder reaches an exciting climax, plotwise and emotionally. The final scene offers hope for the future of the series, and a possibility of unexpected romance. I’ll be watching for the next in this series.
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Quirky and delightful - a young woman takes over her aunt’s advice column - one of the writers winds up dead so the young woman is off to investigate 
Will be a fun character to follow over a series
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Of Manners and Murder  is the first outing of the Miss Hermione series. It is an entertaining read featuring Violet , a twenty something spinster, who takes over her aunt’s newspaper advice column. What follows is a murder that entangled Violet and her family.

The book had a slow start for me but did pick up as the mystery evolved. Sephora, Violet’s sister, drove me crazy but her dilemmas certainly added to the overall story. I found this to be a pleasant start to the series and one that made me curious as to what Violet will get involved with next. If you are looking for a light entertaining historical mystery this may be the book for you.

Thank you Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press for DRC in exchange for my honest opinion.
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Of Manners and Murder: A Dear Miss Hermione Mystery begins the new Dear Miss Hermione series by the new to me author, Anastasia Hastings. I thought it was a good mystery. It was slightly predictable but definitely worth reading. Four stars.
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Fun read and a nice introduction to the characters and world.  I will be looking for more books from this author in the future.  Well plotted and paced, memorable characters, and engaging story telling.
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Delightful from start to finish. The sisterly dichotomy is fun, and I loved the premise. Will definitely be following Miss Hermione in future!
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