Of Manners and Murder: A Dear Miss Hermoine Mystery by Anastasia Hastings
Cozy Mystery | Historical Fiction
Fans of cozy, historical mysteries, make space on your bookshelf! There is a brand new series coming your way — Of Manners and Murder by Anastasia Hastings!
This series follows the plucky and determined Violet who finds herself suddenly in charge of answering the letters that arrive for Miss Hermoine, England’s most popular “Agony Aunt” (an advice column.) Violet is the perfect person to assume this role as she is full of opinions and independence herself. But one specific letter soon leads Violet to something more than her typical blunt advice about “proper etiquette” and “delinquent husbands.”
This was a really fun cozy full of amateur sleuthing, red herrings, and classic murder-mystery suspects. For those focused on historical accuracy, there were some elements that proved a stretch — no matter how liberated the household may be. But it made for a fun novel with some great characters.
The story is told in first person from the perspectives of both Violet and her much-younger sister Sephora. The character of Sephora really got on my nerves — but she was supposed to! Love her or hate her, this younger sister certainly evoked emotion from the reader, and that made her a huge success in my mind. Similarly, the character of Violet was a lot of fun and her narrative balanced everything out for me.
In terms of the mystery, I was able to figure out “who dunnit” fairly early on. Still, it never detracted from the enjoyment of the read. (After all, you always have to keep reading to find out if you’re right!) And it was fun to see all the strands woven together in the final reveal.
With its amusing characters, witty and fun writing, and classic cozy mystery vibes, this is one series that I wouldn’t hesitate to pick up in the future!
Fans of cozy, historical mysteries with a female amateur detective
This post contains affiliate links; as an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Advance copy of the book provided courtesy of Minotaur Books. All opinions expressed are my own.
About the book:
1885: London, England. When Violet’s Aunt Adelia decides to abscond with her newest paramour, she leaves behind her role as the most popular Agony Aunt in London, “Miss Hermione,” in Violet’s hands.
And of course, the first letter Violet receives is full, not of prissy pondering, but of portent. Ivy Armstrong is in need of help and fears for her life. But when Violet visits the village where the letters were posted, she finds that Ivy is already dead.
She’ll quickly discover that when you represent the best-loved Agony Aunt in Britain, both marauding husbands and murder are par for the course.