Eliza Mace

The thrilling new Victorian detective series

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Pub Date Mar 07 2024 | Archive Date Feb 22 2024

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A twisty Victorian mystery featuring quick-witted would-be detective Eliza Mace


In the first of a thrilling new Victorian detective series, Eliza Mace, on the cusp of adulthood, is battling for her independence. Stuck in a crumbling manor house in the Welsh borders in the 1870s, she is thwarted by powers that conspire to protect, control and deceive her. But when her father goes missing in mysterious circumstances, Eliza’s determination to uncover the truth is unstoppable.

Joining forces with the charismatic new police constable, Dafydd Pritchard, she sets out to solve the case, but that’s no easy task. Her father has run up debts in town and beyond, and there are many who bear him a grudge. As she searches for evidence, Eliza exposes dark secrets that threaten to tear her world apart...

A twisty Victorian mystery featuring quick-witted would-be detective Eliza Mace


In the first of a thrilling new Victorian detective series, Eliza Mace, on the cusp of adulthood, is...

Advance Praise

'A detective you'll love and a mystery you'll want to solve' Louise Davidson, author of The Fortunes of Olivia Richmond

'A detective you'll love and a mystery you'll want to solve' Louise Davidson, author of The Fortunes of Olivia Richmond

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ISBN 9780715655122
PRICE £16.99 (GBP)

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Average rating from 69 members

Featured Reviews

Ever since the revival of Enola Holmes I’ve quite got to love this genre! I love a good historical mystery and this definitely fits the bill! I’m beyond excited to share this with readers and take our readers on a fun journey with Eliza! This would make a great movie or tv series.

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I was very excited to read this as a fan of Enola Holmes. I can't wait to read more, definitely recommended for fans of the TV show.

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This flowed really nicely and was a breeze to get through - I read it in two sittings!

This is a cosy murder mystery for fans of The Thursday Murder Club series. I've got to admit, I did go into it expecting a bit more of a heavy historical crime book, but the lightheartedness of it wasn't an unpleasant surprise and made for a really refreshing read.

I really enjoyed it overall, however, it did srop a star purely because I felt like the murderer's identity being revealed was kind of rushed, which took the element of surprise away a bit for me. Having said that, it is a great book and I will definitely be reading the rest of the series!

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A paced-out story with a strong focus on characters that reads a lot like an origin story for further mysteries.

This is an interesting approach for something marketed as a mystery series. Most detective stories dedicate less time to the characters, painting everyone in quick strokes while the plot drives the story along. In this case, it feels like the story unrolled at its own pace while we learned more about the characters. The first third of the book dedicates itself to setting the scene. Characters are introduced, plot points are set up, and we don't get the actual mystery until about a third of the way through. Instead, we get a lot of backstory and some in depth character building that help us learn who Eliza is, and why she is the way she is. It takes another third of the book before Eliza actually starts actively working on the mystery herself, and the mystery takes a bit of a backseat to working through Eliza's feelings and growth. It's got a very origin story vibe that feels like it would cut out at the end to an older Eliza saying "And that's why I decided to become a detective!" The extra time spent with the characters is appreciated. Eliza's uncle is a particular favorite, with his own story arc that feels more thoughtful than the way some mysteries might play it. The secondary lead Dafydd doesn't get nearly as much attention in this volume, but I'm fine with that. If this is to be a series, I expect we'll have plenty of time to learn more about him later. Overall I think this book would land well with readers looking for a paced out, character-focused historical fiction.

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First in a new detective series starring the intrepid Eliza Mace, a 16-year-old girl from a landed family in Wales, living in a crumbling manor house in the 1870s, chafing against the strictures imposed on women by Victorian society ― and she’s not getting any sympathy from her mother! With mum it’s all about ladylike behaviour and society expectations. When her father is murdered, many family and community secrets are unearthed, and Eliza helps Constable Daffydd Pritchard with his inquiries. The familiarity with which Daffydd shares information about his investigations with Eliza is a bit startling to begin with, but I soon grew used to the character development this incites. Eliza is a delightful protagonist – a young lady ahead of her time, intuitive, logical, mature, intelligent and kind. Despite the privileges of birth, she is eager to find the truth, no matter what; an admirable trait. When requested to visit the accused in jail, she agrees without hesitation, because it’s the honourable thing to do. I read this lovely story in one sitting. I didn’t want to put it down. I am intrigued and eager to see where the author takes this sleuthing team next, since this story takes place so close to home. Wales makes for such a beautiful setting and what a gorgeous book cover! Bravo!

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Victorian mysteries are a favourite of mine, and I found myself escaping into this one. I thought the author brought the characters and the story to life very well. I liked Eliza as a protagonist, as she seemed a strong-willed character. If this is going to be part of a series, I would be interested to read some more books featuring Eliza as a protagonist.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for a free copy to review.

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" 𝑇ℎ𝑒𝑟𝑒'𝑠 𝑎𝑙𝑤𝑎𝑦𝑠 𝑐ℎ𝑎𝑛𝑔𝑒, 𝐸𝑙𝑖𝑧𝑎. 𝑊𝑒 𝑐ℎ𝑎𝑛𝑔𝑒. 𝑇ℎ𝑒 𝑤𝑜𝑟𝑙𝑑 𝑐ℎ𝑎𝑛𝑔𝑒𝑠. 𝑁𝑜𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑠𝑡𝑎𝑛𝑑𝑠 𝑠𝑡𝑖𝑙𝑙, 𝐻𝑜𝑤𝑒𝑣𝑒𝑟 𝑚𝑢𝑐ℎ 𝑤𝑒 𝑤𝑎𝑛𝑡 𝑖𝑡 𝑡𝑜.."

Set in a countryside of Wales in 1870's, ' Eliza mace ' is an intriguing murder mystery that follows the FMC who goes by the same name, as she races against time to catch her father's murderer. Being in debt to almost all the people in town and loathed by many, her father's murder was something each person in the town secretly wished for, making it hard for the police to suspect a single person. When newly arrived local constable Daffyd Pritchard seeks Eliza's help, she jumps right in at the opportunity to become the detective she desired to be.

' Eliza mace ' explores young Eliza's struggles to prove herself in front of the people who still considers her as a child. Deeply portraying the difficulties faced by the teenagers through Eliza, the story also discusses the social disparities in the 1870's. The author skilfully depicts it in more than one instance, through the characters of Todd, Fletcher and Morgan.

The blurb is quite captivating with the mention of Enola Holmes, which was the reason I requested the ARC. But the story didn't meet my expectations. Though the first half seemed to move in a slow pace, the second half was fast paced and action packed. Eliza mace is a perfect read for the historical fiction fans who love a cozy murder mystery set in Wales countryside with less action and adventure.

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One of the best Victorian books I've read, ever.

I'd compare this to Agatha Christie purely because of my reading experience, an excellent buildup with a... not shocking (?) ending.

My favourite part of this is Eliza's issues with her parents, specifically her mother. It really sums up the teenage experience (or atleast mine). That, and Eliza's sense of feeling invincible was the part that made this book quite realistic in regards to Eliza's behaviour.

Very cozy, atmospheric, and fun to read.
I would've rated this higher if the ending weren't so rushed. It feels like the killer was rather obvious, atleast in the last 30-ish% of the book. I'm definitely interested in reading the rest of the series.

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Sarah Burton and Jem Poster do a great job in writing Victorian detective novel, it had a strong concept and I was invested in the mystery going on. I enjoyed getting to know the characters and figuring out what the mystery was during this story.

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I like mystery stories, and I also enjoy Victorian novels, and novels set in the Victorian era, so this was a must-read book for me.

The mystery element is a good puzzle, and although I did correctly identify the culprit some time before the main protagonist did, this in no way spoiled the book for me. There are plenty of historical details, and the characters are very well developed, suggesting (I hope) that this will be the first in a series featuring the feisty Eliza and policeman Pritchard. The book would make good TV.

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I enjoyed this one! Eliza was an interesting character and her bravery helped push the plot forward. I enjoyed the “detective story” elements and would recommend this for fans of historical fiction.

Thanks so much to the publisher and netgalley for the advanced copy in exchange for my honest review!

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This is a very well-written book. I loved the characters and ended up becoming quite emotionally invested in many of them. Because of this, I am left feeling sad that the story has ended. There are still questions which are left unanswered, so I hope that there will be a sequel at some point in the near future.
The mystery was intriguing and I was shocked, yet I also realize that the clues were there all along, but I simply didn’t pick up on them.

Thank you to NetGalley for sending me an ARC in exchange for a review.

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I wondered at first if I mistook this book as mystery while it was actually a regular historical fiction - the death mentionned in the blurb happens at the 30% mark so it was pretty late and kind of off-puting. We put a lot on Eliza and who she is and how she thinks, the relationships between all caracters and the family's history. I wasn't expecting to go so deep into the caracter's, but it's totally understandable and welcomed when you think this is a series!

I really liked Eliza and her way to think and act, even if sometimes I wanted to make her move, especially when she was hiding something - which was in a way understable as well. The small gossip stories around the mother, father and uncle were really interesting. I really liked Dafydd as well and his way to act and think, even tho I'm a little bit confused on what the author wants to give us between Eliza and him... If there should be anything between us then I expect a very slow burn within all books of the series and waiting until she's 18 to have something happening between them (while I do know it's a totally normal and legal age back then, it's still disturbing as a reader).

The mystery was done well but it felt like the killer reveal was a bit too fast : we get so much to turn us to think of everyone but them and then the moment they're mentioned, they're caught, and the end. I don't know what kind of mysteries we're going to have in the next books, but I do hope for a better way to reveal the culprit with better hint here and there (and not only towards the end) without making it too easy!

Anyway, it was entertaining and I enjoyed it overall, so I would gladly be reading the next books in the series :)

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"Enola Holmes meets the novels of Laura Purcell in this Victorian mystery featuring quick-witted would-be detective Eliza Mace.

The Welsh borders, 1870s: on the cusp of adulthood, Eliza Mace is battling for her independence. Stuck in a crumbling manor house on the fringe of a small town, she is thwarted by powers that conspire to protect, control and deceive her. But when her father goes missing in mysterious circumstances, Eliza's determination to uncover the truth is unstoppable.

Joining forces with the charismatic new police constable, Dafydd Pritchard, she sets out to solve the case, but that's no easy task. Her father has run up debts in town and beyond, and there are many who bear him a grudge. As she searches for evidence, Eliza exposes dark secrets that threaten to tear her world apart..."

Oh yes, I need something to fill the void left by Enola Holmes!

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Enola Holmes meets the novels of Laura Purcell in this Victorian mystery featuring quick-witted would-be detective Eliza Mace.

I have to be honest...I picked this book because the main character and I share the last name. HOWEVER - I wasn't disappointed.

Eliza fights against expectations of her class and gender and in turn is an excellent detective. When her father goes missing, things come to a head and the crumbling Mace household is in disarray. Eliza pursues the truth without understanding the cost.

This book was such a quick read because I couldn't put it down! I could relate to Eliza on more than one level. I would describe it as a cozy murder mystery. I did feel the reveal of the murderer's identity was squished and could have been fleshed out more, but overall very enjoyable read.

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Eliza Mace is on the cusp of adulthood and is battling for her independence, but her family feels differently and is trying to keep her in line with the rules of society.

When Elizas father goes missing, she joins forces with Constable Pritchard to solve the case, but it won't be easy, and some dark secrets are to be unravelled along the way.

The first book in a new Victorian Mystery series by Sarah Burton and Jem Poster. Eliza is a great female protagonist who is sure to stand her ground on any views she may have, which I loved about her. The book is well written, and the mystery is strong throughout.

I am really looking forward to reading the second instalment and following Eliza on her journey.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for the digital copy.

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The first book in what appears an entertaining series. Eliza is seventeen, living in the big house. Caught by her mother’s desire for doing the right match for a girl of her standing. Eliza though makes up her mind she has come of age to decide her own future. That here is to use her skills of observation to find a murderer. Her mother is not happy with this, but gumption is something Eliza has in spades! I look forward to more in this series. Thank you to Duckworth Books and NetGalley for the ARC. The views expressed are all mi e, freely given.

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This Victorian cosy mystery tells the story of Eliza Mace and the mysterious disappearance of her father, who she later finds dead in the woods. His ill temper, debts and poor relationships with family members, friends and neighbours alike mean there are no shortage of suspects for the local police force to choose from. The local constable Dafydd Pritchard is leading the investigation, and soon Eliza is proving herself invaluable to him, much to the dismay of her mother. Even though perhaps not entirely historically accurate, the descriptions of the local countryside are very evocative. I had formed my own conclusions as to who the murderer was, and was delighted to be proven wrong! The story romps along and was very enjoyable, and I would definitely be interested in reading more in the series.

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At just 16 years old, Eliza hails from a prestigious family in Wales, residing in a dilapidated manor during the 1870s. However, her spirit rebels against the suffocating confines of Victorian society, especially under the disapproving gaze of her mother, who insists on strict adherence to societal norms.

When tragedy strikes and Eliza's father is murdered, a Pandora's box of family and community secrets is opened wide. Taking matters into her own hands, Eliza joins forces with Constable Daffydd Pritchard to unravel the mystery. Despite initial surprise at Daffydd's willingness to share investigative details with her, I soon found myself captivated by the depth of character development it spurred.

Eliza emerges as a captivating protagonist—a beacon of intelligence, intuition, and compassion far beyond her years. Despite her privileged upbringing, she possesses an unwavering commitment to uncovering the truth, displaying a commendable sense of honour. Without hesitation, she accepts the responsibility of visiting the accused in jail, driven by her unwavering dedication to justice.

This is a first for me by the author and one I enjoyed and I would read more of their work. The book cover is eye-catching and appealing and would spark my interest if in a bookshop. Thank you to the author, publisher and Netgalley for this ARC.

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Eliza is 16 and at the stage of not being an adult but not being a child either. She is well aware of the tension on the household but her mother , Hannah, doesn’t want her worried about family matters, so doesn’t let her know what the problems are. Eliza is an intelligent person and usually finds out what is going on. When her father goes missing, Eliza is determined to find out what has happened and him, even though she has been warned to stay out of the investigation by her mother. However, Eliza is determined no one will stop her. I did enjoy this story, my one complaint was that the pace was a little slow at first but later on this improved. There were several possible culprits and I didn’t see how it would all pan out. I received a copy and have voluntarily reviewed it. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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I loved The Strange Adventures of H by Sarah Burton and so was thrilled to to get the opportunity to read Eliza Mace.
I loved Eliza’s spirit - that never give up attitude she had. Her determination to uncover the truth and be included in the conversations was admirable if not a little out of place for the time and her family’s position in society. The relationships in this story are fascinating- secrets and lies surround the household and Eliza is so frustrated to be kept in the dark. The mystery element was well thought through and enough little clues to keep the story spinning. This is an enjoyable mystery with a dysfunctional family theme that kept me guessing til the end.

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I found the book at the start a bit slow going but as it gained momentum it got a bit more exciting.

Eliza Mace lives with her Father, Mother and Uncle James. Her parents are always arguing over the Father’s ventures that he keeps getting involved in to make money but they don’t it is just a waste. Her Father goes missing and the police becomes involved with a young Constanle called Dafydd doing the investigation Eliza helps him.

The interesting part of the book was the investigation it kind of kept leading you down the gardening path, some of it I had guessed with things but other bits I hadn’t.

I liked the book and the final third of the book was good but not so much the start.

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March is off to a great start with this fantastic book. I love historical fiction and this book really transported me to the Victorian period where the murder mystery is set.
The story is narrated by 15 year old Eliza Mace who lives in an old manor house with her parents (Robert and Hannah Mace) and Uncle James, along the Welsh borders. When Eliza’s father goes missing she sets out to help Detective Dafydd Pritchard solve the case. With her father's unpopularity and debts to several tradesmen Eliza starts to uncover more secrets amongst the local community than she was expecting.
I loved Eliza and the way her feisty character breaks all the society's conventions at the time as she starts investigating her father's disappearance. I enjoyed the slower pace to the first half as we get acquainted with the characters and found it an atmospheric read. The murder mystery kept me turning the pages towards the end, keen to find out what had happened.
This is the first in a brand new series so I'm really looking forward to meeting Eliza again in book 2! If you like character driven historical mysteries I'd definitely recommend getting hold of a copy.

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The first in a brand new Victorian murder mystery set on the Welsh borders I was very excited to meet Eliza Mace.

Eliza is the second born daughter to Hannah and Robert- Hannah comes from a wealthy family and owns the Mace family home, Robert is slowly ruining the family estate and reputation through his reckless and selfish actions and owes money to neighbours.

When Robert goes missing Eliza finds herself thrust into the investigation alongside recent arrival in the community Constable Dafydd Pritchard - as the investigation progresses family secrets and revelations come out that rock the community!

I enjoyed this book, it was easy to read and while the subject matter was heavy (it’s murder mystery!) at times it had a such cozy yet adventurous feel to it the kind of book you curl up with.

As it’s the first in the series there is a lot of information and world building - we learn a lot about Eliza and the family dynamics and the family standing within the community and this means that the mystery part takes a while to kick in, having said that it’s book 1 in a series so I think it’s justified and necessary.

I enjoyed Eliza as a character but because of their age at times it did feel a little YA and the interactions seemed naive. I loved Eliza’s resistance against Victorian societal norms and her mother’s traditional ambitions for her future! Her personality made her much loved within the community despite her father’s actions.

The reveal and resolution for me when it came did come quite abruptly but I certainly didn’t see it coming and I almost wished that there had been more suspense around it, I did appreciate the focus after the event and the repercussions.

To sum up a really enjoyable and I will most definitely be picking up the next book in the series and am very excited to find out what’s in store for Eliza Mace next!

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The 1870s a village on the border of Wales. A family who had money, lands but a wastrel father who has run through every bit of money available. The family is in debt to every tradesman around and even to their employees.

On one of his finding his fortune sprees, Eliza’s father goes missing and since he is a man who is disliked by many for his temperament which was vile, on top of the debts no one is particularly interested in his going missing. Eliza his daughter, is the only one, who pushes the local detective Daffyd to pursue many leads, which she discovers on her own.

Eliza is a force, and goes against all conventional norms of the time, meeting up with people on the estate, visiting the police station on her own and unraveling clues which lead to many being taken into custody. Both the Detective and Eliza realise that they may hang the wrong man if they don’t uncover the actual truth.

The suspect was more sinned against than being the sinner but he did pay the price. He killed Eliza’s father and the jury only looked at that, not the circumstances. Justice was different in those times.

The difficulties a woman faced by being different, unconventional are portrayed very well in this story.

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Move over Enola Holmes, there's a new juvenile sleuth in town! Eliza Mace bursts onto the scene with an absolutely captivating Victorian detective series that had me glued to my Kindle, eagerly turning virtual pages until the very end.

In this first installment, readers are treated not only to Eliza Mace's budding sleuthing skills but also to a rich tapestry of her home life and family dynamics. From the whispers of gossiping servants to the weight of her father's debts and her mother's struggles in a failing marriage, Eliza's teenage years are anything but ordinary.

The narrative paints a poignant portrait of a young girl who holds her father in high regard, despite his frequent absence and failure to provide for the family. When he goes missing, Eliza emerges as the sole advocate for his well-being, undeterred by rumors and gossip swirling around her. With unwavering determination, she resolves to uncover the truth behind her father's disappearance, bravely confronting the dark secrets lurking within her family.

The storytelling is nothing short of enchanting. As I was reading through, it felt like a movie playing in my head. With every turn of the page, I found myself immersed in the richly detailed world of 'Eliza Mace,' eagerly envisioning its potential as a captivating TV or movie adaptation.

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Perhaps due to this being the first in a series, a good portion of this book doesn't focus on being a 'murder mystery' but instead an historical novel providing a background the character of Eliza Mace. She is a wonderful main character, clever and fastidious, willing to go against the conventions of her society for what she believes in. Perhaps some of her actions were too modern but nevertheless, when the murder (of her father no less!) finally happens and the sleuthing begins, I couldn't put it down and I rejoiced as Eliza began to uncover clues! I'll certainly be looking out for the next novel in the series.

**Thanks to NetGalley, the publisher and author for the opportunity to read an advanced e-copy of this book. All opinions are my own **

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A fabulous period mystery novel, set in the Welsh Borders in the 1870s.
Eliza is a young woman, feeling stifled and striving for freedom, she’s frustrated by her position as a female and that her mother still has tight reins on her.
Her father on the other hand has always been a dreamer and has wasted the family fortune endless no hope schemes.
Eliza fears the worst when he disappears without a word.
Then follows the arrival of a new charismatic police constable, Dafydd Pritchard, who is assigned to the case and enlists the help of Eliza to search for evidence.
They become a dynamic detective duo.
Loved Eliza as a character and the way she refused to adhere to the ‘proper ways’ a lady should behave, she certainly made a sassy super sleuth.
Thanks @sarah_burton_author, @jem_poster_author, @duck_books & @netgalley for the fantastic new historical mystery series

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The first in a new Victorian detective series and I found it a very pleasurable cozy read. Set in a Manor House and grounds in 1870’s Wales close to the English border, we meet Eliza, the second daughter of parents who are all but estranged. Her father is a wastrel who has squandered his fortune and their home is now run with a skeleton staff and is becoming increasingly dilapidated. There is a lot of scene and character setting which was fine for the first in the series and I enjoyed finding out more about her life.

Briefly, when her father goes missing after tricking his wife out of some money Eliza determines to help find him. Constable Daffydd Pritchard has recently been transferred to the village from Cardiff and is given the case as he has been a very successful officer, albeit he left Cardiff under a bit of a black cloud. Eliza and Daffydd strike up an unlikely friendship, to her mothers dismay, and although told she mustn’t spend time with him she ignores her mothers orders.

Eliza is an incredibly strong and determined person, ahead of her time in her belief in doing what’s right rather than acting as a woman of her class was expected. Daffydd is also a believer in doing what’s right but much more single-minded than Eliza, a bit of a cold fish. The story was good and well written and I didn’t guess the killer until very near the reveal, and that doesn’t happen often. A very enjoyable and entertaining read and I’ll look forward to book 2.

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Love love love! The heroine is a different age group than my usual Victorian Cozy Sleuths, but Eliza Mace is absolutely fantastic despite being just 16!

Eliza is strong willed in the best way and not about to allow herself to be dragged along by the dysfunction of her parents or the dramatic events in her life. Albeit naiively, Eliza jumps head first into investigating the disappearance of her father, meeting a new friend on the way. Tact however, is not our Eliza's strong point!

Wonderfully accurate in social norms and well researched, but also reflective of thos women (and girls) who chose to fight against those norms and led toward the suffrage movement

Brilliantly written, very entertaining and I have a feeling this will become an enduring series!

Thank you to Netgalley, Duckworth Books, Sarah Burton and Jem Poster for this fantastic ARC. My review is left voluntarily and all opinions are my own

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A Victorian murder/mystery with a great cast of characters. It's a slow burn read and it ticked all the boxes for the perfect read.

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