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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman by Tessa Arlen

Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman is a country house mystery set just prior to WWI.  Lady Clementine Montford has been planning her annual summer ball with the aid Mrs. Jackson, her capable housekeeper.  

When Teddy Mallory, the dissolute and corrupt nephew of her husband is murdered, Lady Montford fears that her own son may be implicated.  Joining forces with Mrs. Jackson (definitely beyond the social boundaries of the time), Lady Montford steps beyond gender boundaries as well.  While certainly not in favor of the methods of the suffragettes, she does consider herself as capable of being more than a wife and mother, and she will do her best to find the guilty party.

Edwardian details--social, political, and cultural--abound in the novel.  And although both Mrs. Jackson and Lady Montford venture outside of their comfort zones, they remain products of their times and circumstances.

I found it interesting to see the prominent views of the time clearly articulated by even the protagonists; neither Mrs. Jackson nor Lady Montford are rebelling or fighting for women's rights.  Both are truly uncomfortable with the roles they feel forced to play.

This is a debut novel by Arlen, and it will be interesting to see how the lady of the manor and the housekeeper develop in future novels.

NetGalley/St. Martin's Press/Minotaur Books

Historical Mystery.  Jan. 6, 2015.  Print version:  321 pages.


  1. This sounds quite good. It seems that the author paid careful attention to the attitudes and sensibilities of the time.

  2. It was an interesting book--even though it is pretty difficult to truly understand the cultural views of the time. So many women were not sympathetic with the suffragette movement, and the novel covers this well.

  3. I really liked this book and the way the author delved into the social and cultural issues of the time. This was the first book I read this year. :-)

    1. I'm eager to see how this series continues. I'm hoping for more about Clemmie and Mrs. Jackson and their personal lives. I want them to become less circumscribed by their backgrounds, don't you? I love that the book illustrates how society's strictures impact our lives, and the book does a refreshing job of that, but I still want them more independent. I'm so glad you liked it, too!