Book Review: Murder in Postscript

*I did this review for the May edition of Historical Novels Review, the Magazine of the Historical Novel Society.


When one of her readers asks for advice following a suspected murder, Victorian countess Amelia Amesbury, who secretly pens the popular Lady Agony column, has no choice but to investigate in this first book in a charming new historical mystery series.

Amelia Amesbury—widow, mother, and countess—has a secret. Amelia writes for a London penny paper, doling out advice on fashion, relationships, and manners under the pen name Lady Agony. But when a lady’s maid writes Amelia to ask for advice when she believes her mistress has been murdered—and then ends up a victim herself—Amelia is determined to solve the case.

With the help of her best friend and a handsome marquis, Amelia begins to piece together the puzzle, but as each new thread of inquiry ends with a different suspect, the investigation grows ever more daunting. From London’s docks and ballrooms to grand country houses, Amelia tracks a killer, putting her reputation—and her life—on the line.


This Victorian mystery is the first book in the A Lady of Letters mystery series. In London in 1860, Amelia Amesbury is a countess and widow, having lost her husband to illness after a short marriage. She also has a secret. She writes an advice column for a London paper under the name Lady Agony, doling out clever answers to readers’ questions about romance, family, fashion, and more. When she receives a note from a lady’s maid who believes her mistress has been murdered, it does not end there. Amelia soon finds out the maid has been killed as well. With the help of her best friend, and assisted by a handsome marquis with secrets of his own, Amelia begins to investigate both murders. All the while, she is still trying to keep her scandalous alter ego of Lady Agony a secret.

This is a fascinating, well-thought-out mystery that will keep you guessing. The fact that a countess is writing an advice column, which would open her up to scandal if it became public knowledge, is intriguing. Each chapter heading starts with a question to and answer from Lady Agony, which is a great touch and adds a bit of humor. The main characters are engaging and well written, especially the fun-loving favorite of high society, Kitty Hamsted, who is Amelia’s best friend and sometimes partner in investigating crime. During Amelia’s investigation, we get to see both sides of London society, from Kitty’s popular parties to a peek inside the life of a servant. This is a fun take on the cozy mystery genre, and it provides a unique premise that will delight readers. Highly recommended.

I received a free copy of this from Berkley via The Historical Novel Society. My review is voluntary and the opinions expressed are my own.


Mary Winters is the author of A Lady of Letters Historical Mystery series, coming from Berkley in 2023. A longtime reader of Victorian fiction and an author of two other mystery series, Mary decided to write a new book set in Victorian London after taking a trip to England. Since then, she’s been busily planning her next mystery—and another trip! Please visit her website here.

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Poppy Redfern and the Fatal Flyers

Poppy Redfern and the Fatal Flyers is the second  book  in  the  “A  Woman  of  World  War  II”  mystery series by Tessa Arlen. Although it is the second in a series, it can be read as a standalone. It is 1942 and Poppy, employed by the London Crown Film Unit as  a scriptwriter during the war, is sent to work on location at an airfield.   The film she is working on is about       the  Air   Transport Auxiliary   pilots,   or   “Attagirls.”   This   amazing   group   of   female   pilots    flew  many   different types   of   planes   and   transported   them    to    airfields    all over Britain during    World War II. Sometimes  these  transports  occurred  during  severe  weather  conditions.  Poppy begins to work on the film and starts to get to know this intriguing group of talented and professional female pilots. When two “Attagirls”  are  killed  in  accidents  during  seemingly  routine  flights,  Poppy  and  her boyfriend Griff begin to investigate.

This was such an interesting read, especially since I had never heard of the “Attagirls.” The history of these brave  women  is  fascinating, and the author provides more facts about them in a historical note at the  end of the book.  The  murder  mystery  is  well  done,  with  many  twists,  turns,  and  red herrings.  The  villain is not easy to figure out, so the reader is surprised at the end. The characters are compelling and well developed. Our heroine, Poppy, proves to be a witty and clever sleuth. Her relationship with her boyfriend Griff is complicated at times, but that just makes it more interesting. This is a great combination of World War II historical fiction and cozy mystery. I would recommend this book to fans of both genres.

The first book in the series is Poppy Redfern and the Midnight Murders.

I received a free copy of this book from Berkley Publishing via Netgalley for Historical Novels Review. My review is voluntary.







Tessa Arlen is the author of the critically acclaimed Lady Montfort mystery series—Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman was a finalist for the 2016 Agatha Award Best First Novel. She is also the author of Poppy Redfern: A Woman of World War II mystery series. And the author of the historical fiction: In Royal Service to the Queen.

Tessa lives in the Southwest with her family and two corgis where she gardens in summer and writes in winter.