A Picture of Murder (A Lady Hardcastle Mystery)

Written by T. E. Kinsey
Review by John Kachuba

In 1909, life is relatively quiet in England, the clouds of global warfare still a few years in the future. Lady Hardcastle and her trusted lady’s maid, Florence, live a pleasantly unruffled life in the bucolic village of Littleton Cotterell. But that simple life is rudely interrupted when a troupe of actors comes to the village with their spooky moving picture, The Witch’s Downfall, and one by one, the actors are murdered in ways eerily similar to their “death scenes” in the movie. With the local police flummoxed by the murders, Lady Hardcastle summons up her amateur sleuthing skills to try and solve the case.

This genteel murder mystery evokes nostalgia for a time and place and a manner of living that is long gone. It depicts English country life in all its fine detail, especially regarding society and class. But the novel is not at all stuffy and abounds with humor. The witty repartee between Lady Hardcastle and Flo breaks with proper social etiquette of the time, adding nice touches of humor throughout the novel. This is a thoroughly enjoyable read and is highly recommended.