Things have been a little quiet on this site lately – I can’t really believe that over a year has passed since I last posted, but life has been a smidge chaotic. And this review, while not a year old, is a little overdue as well. The Mitford Murders, by Jessica Fellowes, was my first book of 2018, and it definitely got my reading year off to a good start.
If you’re a fan of mysteries and historical fiction, then this is the book for you. It’s set in 1919, and follows the adventures of Louisa Cannon, a young woman born to the working class and desperate to escape the clutches of her evil uncle. She finds an escape from her life in London as a nursery maid with a wealthy family, the Mitfords, and somehow falls into the role of intrepid detective as well. Along with one of the Mitford daughters, Nancy, Louisa embarks on a mission to solve the murder of Florence Nightingale Shore, who was killed on a train in broad daylight.
The writing is light and the 420 pages just whiz by. There were moments when it felt a bit like Nancy Drew for grownups, but overall, it was a highly enjoyable piece of historical fiction. Jessica Fellowes is no stranger to the genre – if her surname sounds familiar, she is indeed the niece of Julian Fellowes, creator of period drama series, Downton Abbey, and wrote a number of companion books to that series. It’s therefore no surprise that she easily transports the reader back to the period just after World War 1. I’m kind of a history nerd, and both World Wars are periods that fascinate me, so I just loved it.
The Mitford Murders is full of likeable characters, with some dastardly villains thrown in for good measure, and while the end is slightly predictable, it’s a wonderful culmination of a great mix of mystery, challenges overcome, and a little bit of first love found. This novel is the first in a series that will be set amid the lives of the Mitford sisters, and be based on real-life crimes, and I’m looking forward to reading the next one.