Cover Image: Of Manners and Murder

Of Manners and Murder

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Member Reviews

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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3.5 rounded up!

I've been enjoying historical fiction more and more. I haven't read a mystery one yet (mainly historical romance) so this was a fun one to read!

Violet is taking over as Miss Hermione - the advice column her aunt writes. The first letter she receives comes from Ivy, a woman who is in need of help and fears for her life. Violet travels to see Ivy and finds out she is dead and decides she must find out what has happened to her.

This was a fun, cozy mystery that I enjoyed! The characters were fun and if you figured out the mystery early on it was still interesting to see where it ended up!

Thank you to the publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Violet Manville, spirited, intelligent, not the type to suffer fools gladly, and most unforgivably in Victorian society, not possessed of a large fortune, is not the type of young lady who is in great demand as a wife. Luckily, she doesn’t care and is happy to leave that type of thing to her younger half-sister Sephora, who is beautiful, flirtatious, and an heiress. Even she, however, is somewhat daunted when her Aunt Adelia leaves on holiday and informs her that she is expected to take up Adelia’s role as “Miss Hermione,” one of the country’s popular “agony aunts,” or in modern parlance, an advice columnist.

When one of the first letters she opens is from Ivy Armstrong, a new young wife who has experienced several "accidents" and believes that someone is trying to kill her, Violet is concerned enough that she sets off to meet with her, only to discover that she has arrived too late. Almost no one, however, seems to seriously think that Ivy was murdered, attributing her death to either suicide or accident. Violet determines to prove that she was and soon finds herself in danger from a killer who is determined not to be caught. Meanwhile, Sephora, from whose point of view some chapters are told, is involved in a secret romance that has a surprising (if somewhat far-fetched) connection to the situation.

Despite that, as well as a few other things that seemed like a stretch, like well-bred young ladies being out and about unattended, I enjoyed Of Manners and Murder very much. I liked Violet and Bundy, her aunt’s servant, who serves as a sort of Watson for her, and even Sephora, while immature, has potential. I look forward to the next in the series. 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4.

I received a copy of Of Manners and Murder from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Of Manners and Murder is the first book in Anastasia Hastings’ Miss Hermione cozy mystery series. It was a delightful read, Quite unlike anything I’ve read before.

Violet and her young sister go to stay with their Aunt Adelia in London. Unbeknownst to them, Aunt Adelia is “Miss Hermione,” a popular “Agony Aunt,” sort of a precursor to Dear Abby, or maybe Dear Prudence, to use a more current reference. No sooner do the young ladies unpack their bags than Aunt Adelia announces she will be leaving for an extended trip. Privately, she reveals her alter-ego to Violet, turning Miss Hermione’s responsibilities over to her in her absence.

Housekeeper Bunty, who assists Aunt Adelia with her duties as Miss Hermione, also offers support and guidance to Violet. Violet receives a letter from a reader that prompts her to investigate in person. She discovers a murder she is determined to unravel as she does her best to keep her flighty, boy-crazy younger sister out of trouble. There’s even a little bit of a romance brewing for Violet, but not enough to distract from the story.

This one is a strong recommend to lovers of cozies, strong female protagonists, and fans of late 19th-century settings. I look forward to following the rest of Violet’s adventures as the Miss Hermione series continues.

I received this advanced reader copy of Of Manners and Murder by Anastasia Hastings from St. Martins Press and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Of Manners and Murder, A Dear Miss Hermione Mystery was a delightful, engaging read. An historical cozy mystery with a plucky heroine, a murder, drama, and dangerous situations. I can hardly wait for the second volume of this new series!

**I received an electronic ARC from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

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When Violet takes over writing an advice column for her aunt, she never expects to be involved in solving a murder. This mystery book might seem to move slowly at first, but quickly picks up on the action. The ending is a surprise. I wish there had been more introduction of the characters at the outset, as I felt a bit confused, as if I had been dropped into the story in the middle. This was still a fun historical mystery book.

I received this novel from the publisher and from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

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3.5 stars
Started slowly and a bit confusing, as if we already knew the characters. However, it found its rhythm about 1/3 of the way through and built up to a satisfying, yet also unexpected conclusion. Looking forward to the 2nd in the series.

I received a copy from NetGalley and have written an objective review.

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OK so I only gave us a four-star because Sephora annoyed me. I hope the future books give her more growth and she’s a little bit less airheaded. I loved this. I flew through it and I can’t wait for the next one. Please please publish it soon.

*I received this book as an Advanced Reader's Copy (ARC) through NetGalley. I received this copy free in exchange for my honest review.*

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Going back and forth between 4 and 5 stars on this one.

A great historical, cozy mystery that reminded me so much of an Agatha Christie style story.

I loved the intelligent and curious MC and her beautiful but silly sister. The Dear Miss Hermione column was a great spin on how mysteries are presented and of course, the romantic pivot at the end was like the cherry on top!

I can’t wait for the next installment of this series. I’m all in!!

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This Miss Hermione mystery, featuring a woman who was enlisted by her aunt to fill in as an Agony Aunt advice column writer, is a very promising series debut. The premise, using clues learned via letters sent to the advice column writer, is very clever.

I loved the portions of the book dealing with Violet, the clever sister who is handling the advice column during her aunt's absence, but I wasn't as fond of the portions dealing with Sephora, Violet's half sister, and written from Sephora's point of view.

Nonetheless, I love a good historical mystery and this series shows much promise. Fans of historical mysteries should like this one.

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I love historical mysteries and this one was so much fun!

Violet finds out from her Aunt that she is a popular Agony Aunt called "Miss Hermione" and that she wants Violet to continue in her place while she goes traveling. She can't let anyone know about it. It should be easy right?

The first letter she gets is about Ivy who needs help because she thinks her life is in danger and Ivy can't just sit around and give her advice so she goes to find the lady and ends up getting there just in time for the lady's funeral.

Everyone thinks it was some freak accident that killed her but Ivy isn't so sure because of the letter she got that listed suspects. She decides to try and talk to these suspects and see if she can't get more information about Ivy and her life. Everyone thought she was happily married but others didn't think so, there is the vicar in town who was in love with her, a woman who could have had plans to do away with her to get to her husband, a nice list of really good suspects.

I would say the only thing I didn't like about this book was the parts that had her younger sister's POV, it wasn't real often but it was enough to be annoying because the girl was annoying. She is a teen who thinks everyone is against her because they found out about her writing to a man. Her parts do end up having relevance but she was just annoying.

I really liked Violet, she was an interesting character, I also liked some of the secondary characters and it was fun seeing her with this one guy who kept turning up now and then. There was some fun lines that made me chuckle.

I thought it had a pretty decent mystery and I had a hard time figuring it out though I did but not long before the MC did.

This was just a fun cozy historical mysytery and I would recommend it!

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When Violet’s Aunt Adelia leaves suddenly to travel to Europe with her new lover, she is stunned to realize that her aunt has been living a double life. Apparently, Aunt Adelia is none other than the famous Agony Aunt, Miss Hermione, and now that she is leaving, she asks Violet to take over her column for her. Taking matters into her own hands, Violet reviews the latest correspondence and sets about her task. The first letter she reads is from one Ivy Armstrong who is concerned about her wellbeing after several mysterious accidents have almost left her dead. Violet writes it off as a paranoid newlywed seeking danger at every turn, but when a second letter comes from Ivy naming several suspects, Violet decides that she must travel to the village to learn what is causing Ivy to be so distressed.

When Ivy arrives in the small village, she asks for Ivy’s direction and is shocked when she arrives at the town’s cemetery in the middle of Ivy’s funeral. All of the suspects that Ivy has named that have motive for killing her are also there. Violet begins her investigation into Ivy’s murder and is surprised that there were so many people who had motive to kill Ivy. Was it Ivy’s new husband? The vicar who seems to carry a torch for Ivy? The widow who was rumored to be in love with Ivy’s husband prior to Ivy’s marriage who felt jilted? With an endless supply of suspects, Violet sets out to find justice for Ivy.

This was a cute little debut for a new historical mystery featuring Violet in her new role as an Agony Aunt. Violet is smart, she is not what the upper middle class would call “sociable,” but she uses her connections to investigate what seems to be a murder in a small English village. Her sister, Sephora, who is Violet’s opposite in every way makes her own appearance in the story and tells her tale through her own words. I enjoyed reading this book and hope that Violet’s character finds herself involved in more murders in the future. I will be keeping my eye on this series in the future.

Overall Rating: 4 stars
Author: Anastasia Hastings

Series: Dear Miss Hermione Mystery #1

Publisher: Minotaur Books

Publication Date: February 7, 2023

Pages: 297

Genre: Historical Mystery

Get It: Amazon

Disclaimer: This book was given to me by the publisher, through NetGalley, in exchange for my honest review. I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

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Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martins Press for giving me the opportunity to read an advanced copy of this mystery novel, OF MANNERS AND MURDERS.

Miss Hermione is a pen name for the Agony Aunt Columnist of a newspaper in 1885 England. A woman is on the throne yet many women have very little power, if at all.

Aunt Adelia, the anonymous author of the Miss Hermione columns, falls in love with a new man and abruptly leaves her niece holding the bag. Her niece, Violet Manville, is trusted to continue the Miss Hermione columns in her place.

Violet is related to her aunt through her mother. Violet and her half sister, Sephora, share the same father though they have different mothers. And very different personalities. While Sephora does not know the secret that her half sister pens Miss Hermione nor that Adelia was the anonymous author, Sephora collects and clips the Miss Hermione columns.

A young bride writes a letter to Miss Hermione asking for help. She thinks someone is trying to kill her and unfortunately, she was right! Violet and her trusted maid, Bunty, set out to investigate and find the killer before the killer strikes again.

While I enjoyed the character developments, I struggled to follow the story. It did not grab my attention, though I'm sure that many readers will love this mystery set in Victorian England.

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When I can't even get past the first few chapters because the plot *already* feels shoehorned into this book...? I think that says it all. I stopped and started the first three chapters so many times because I *wanted* to like this book. I really did. It hits so many tropes that I really enjoy! But I could not connect with the perpetually flustered protagonist and the incredibly convoluted setup just made my head ache.

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Due to unforeseen circumstances, I was unable to read and review this novel before the publishing date, and I will not be providing feedback on this title at this time.

Thank you to NetGalley, the publishing house and the author for allowing me to read an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

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Violet unwillingly takes over the duties of her aunt’s mystery article-writing persona, while said aunt runs off with a lover. Her first task ends up taking her on a whirlwind adventure to discover the murderer of one of her aunt’s readers.

The only thing I’ll say that bothered me (and this is super silly…) is in the beginning it has one of those math problems:
Aunt is 40
Violet is 16 years her Junior
Violet was 12 when her mom died and dad remarried shortly after. Given typical mourning periods during that time to avoid scandal and the gestational period, the younger sister would have been born when Violet was at least 14.
Younger sister was 16.
Unless I misunderstood something, this isn’t lining up…

This book was so much fun! I loved all of the characters and their development. The mystery was multifaceted so it kept me guessing and reforming my assumptions. Loved Eli and seriously looking forward to the next book!

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This was a quick-paced, cozy mystery. Violet & her sister Sephora come to stay with their Aunt Adelia. Then Aunt Adelia decides to travel and she askes Violet to take over her Agony Aunt newspaper advice column "Miss Hermione".

Little does Violet know the journey she is about to embark on...a letter she reads indicates the writer is in fear for her life. Violet decides to travel to see her in person and offer assistance only to arrive in time for her funeral. She meets most of the people mentioned in Ivy's letter and feels like any of them could be a suspect. She manages to finds Ivy's diary and takes it home to read. In the meantime, Sephora is having secret meetings with "Franklin" who she loves and wants to marry. As Violet gets closer and closer to discovering the killer she narrowly escapes an attempt on her own life.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. If you like cozy mysteries it's a must read. If you like smart, take-charge women in the 1800s England this is a must read.

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In Of Manners and Murder we are introduced to Violet Manning a spinster living in 1885 London who unexpectedly finds herself answering the “ Ask Miss Hermione” advice column in the local paper. Violet has an unusual background having spent some time in India with her late father and stepmother when she was much younger. Now with both parents deceased she lives in London with her sixteen year old half-sister, Sephora and their faithful housekeeper, Bunty. Sephora is extremely pretty, naive and has inherited a large personal fortune from her mother.
In reading through the stack of Miss Hermione’s correspondence Violet uncovers two letters from a woman who fears for her life. Intrigued by the entreaty for advice, she traces the author to a small village outside of London. Violet arrives only to discover the woman has passed away under questionable circumstances. She suspects foul play and sets about investigating the young wife's death. The author alternates details of Violet's investigation with Sephora's first person account of her involvement with a mysterious suitor. In the end these two narratives blend for a satisfying conclusion.
One could consider Violet as a plucky version of Eliza Scarlet (Miss Scarlet and the Duke) with the introduction of a romantic character who is a Pinkerton detective. Yet, given that both she and her sister represent a certain social class it was difficult to reconcile how Violet was able to travel around all over London and into the countryside without support of a maid. Overall Violet’s efforts as an investigator make her more credible than Sephora who serves as her pretty but somewhat witless foil. Still there is enough to satisfy the reader who enjoys coze mysteries and ndoubtedly this book will be the jumping off place for a new series. Kudos to the choice of cover art that should definitely help promote the book.

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When Violet takes over her aunt's advice column, she is drawn to a letter from a woman who feels she is in danger. And when Violet goes to visit the letter's author, she is dead.

There are lots of motives and interesting characters, and it was fun reading a cozy mystery set in the past. I especially liked Violet's personality, and I hope Anastasia Hastings continues this series!

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