Book Review: Murder Most Malicious by Alyssa Maxwell (A Lady and Lady’s Maid, 1)

Murder Most Malicious is a mystery novel written by Alyssa Maxwell. The book is the first in the “Lady and Lady’s Maid Mystery” series and takes place in the early 1900s in England. The story follows the main character, Lady Phoebe Renshaw, and her lady’s maid, Eva Huntford, as they investigate a murder that takes place in their wealthy and influential social circle.

Lady Phoebe is a member of the aristocracy and is well-known for her keen intellect and investigative skills. Eva is her loyal and trusted lady’s maid, who has a sharp mind and is always eager to help Lady Phoebe in her sleuthing endeavors. When a murder takes place at a high society party, Lady Phoebe and Eva are determined to uncover the truth and bring the killer to justice.

As Lady Phoebe and Eva begin to investigate the murder, they discover that the victim, Sir Wylde, was a well-known and highly respected member of society. However, as they delve deeper into the investigation, they find that Sir Wylde was not as innocent as he seemed. The investigation uncovers secrets and scandals involving many of the guests at the party, including Lady Phoebe’s own family.

Throughout the investigation, Lady Phoebe and Eva must navigate the complicated social hierarchy and the strict expectations placed on them as members of the upper class. They must also work to keep their investigation a secret, as their sleuthing could bring scandal and ruin to their families and reputations.

As the investigation progresses, Lady Phoebe and Eva face many challenges, including threats to their safety and opposition from those who wish to protect the secrets and scandals that the investigation has uncovered. However, Lady Phoebe’s intelligence and resourcefulness, along with Eva’s loyalty and determination, help them to solve the case and bring the murderer to justice.

One of the strengths of Murder Most Malicious is its well-developed characters. Lady Phoebe is a strong and independent woman who is not afraid to take risks and follow her instincts. Eva is a loyal and devoted friend who is always willing to help Lady Phoebe in any way she can. The supporting characters, including Lady Phoebe’s family members and the guests at the party, are also well-drawn and have their own motivations and secrets.

Another strength of the book is its detailed descriptions of the early 1900s upper-class society. The novel provides a vivid and detailed portrayal of the social customs, dress, and expectations of the time period. The descriptions of the parties and gatherings are particularly engaging, and the author does an excellent job of bringing the setting to life.

The mystery itself is also well-crafted, with plenty of twists and turns to keep the reader engaged. The investigation is complex, with multiple suspects and motives, and Lady Phoebe and Eva’s sleuthing skills are put to the test. The resolution of the case is satisfying and ties up all the loose ends.

One of the only drawbacks of the book is the pacing. At times, the story moves slowly, and the investigation can feel bogged down by the many social customs and expectations that must be observed. However, this is a minor issue, and the rich character development and engaging mystery more than make up for any slow parts.

Murder Most Malicious is a well-written and engaging mystery that is sure to appeal to fans of the genre. The characters are well-developed and interesting, the setting is vivid and detailed, and the mystery is complex and satisfying. The book is a strong start to the “Lady and Lady’s Maid Mystery” series, and readers will be eager to follow Lady Phoebe and Eva on their next investigation.


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