The Sign of Death: A Victorian Book Club Mystery

Written by Callie Hutton
Review by Susan McDuffie

Bath, 1891: Lady Amy and Lord William enjoy a close friendship that includes attending meetings of the local mystery book club. That group at times even reads books secretly written by Lady Amy under the pseudonym E. D. Burton. However, the couple’s relationship grows more complicated when Lord William’s man of business drowns in the River Avon. Lord William, who had suspected something amiss in his business dealings, resolves to investigate; Lady Amy insists on helping in this despite his objections. The book club plans a literary event featuring an in-person appearance by E. D. Burton, which means Amy’s secret career could become public knowledge, inviting scandal. William’s mother unexpectedly arrives to share his home and to push him toward matrimony. He has no interest in marriage, nor does Lady Amy. Or do they? And, as their investigation grows more dangerous, will they live long enough to find out?

The Sign of Death is a cozy mystery set in Victorian England. Lady Amy and Lord William have a feisty and supportive relationship, while plenty of twists in the plot lines, both mystery and romantic, keep the book moving right along. At times I must confess I found the amateur investigation a trifle implausible, and despite the usual Victorian trappings I somehow did not feel the characters were completely authentic and of their time. However, despite those concerns, the book is a pleasant read that lovers of historical cozies should enjoy.