A Lady’s Guide to Mischief and Mayhem (A Lady’s Guide, 1)

Written by Manda Collins
Review by Misty Urban

When she meets like-minded Caro Hardcastle at a boring dinner party, widowed businesswoman Lady Katherine Bascomb invites her to co-author a new column for Kate’s newspaper. Their inaugural effort investigates the latest murder committed by the Commandments Killer who has been terrorizing 1865 London. Kate is horrified, though, when the “Lady’s Guide” leads to Scotland Yard detective Andrew Eversham getting fired from the case and the wrong man is arrested for the crime.

When she happens upon another murder victim at a country house party, Kate sees a chance to right her wrong by helping Eversham find the real killer. Matched in wit and determination, Kate and Eversham find attraction stirring as they sidestep gore and uncover secrets but achieving their happy-ever-after means keeping the killer away from Kate.

Collins’s style is lively and fun, and she blends cozy mystery and historical romance in a way that should please fans of both genres. The setting is lightly sketched, but Collins’ independent women grapple believably with the social and political barriers of their day, and allusions to the popular Lake Poets will please fans of 19th-century English literature. A sparkling start to a promising series.