A Lady’s Guide to Mischief and Mayhem (Lady’s Guide #1) by Manda Collins
Publication Date: November 10th, 2020
Genre: Historical Mystery Romance
England, 1865 : As one of England's most notorious newspaper columnists, Lady Katherine Bascomb believes knowledge is power. And she's determined to inform and educate the ladies of London on the nefarious-and deadly-criminals who are preying on the fairer sex. When her reporting leads to the arrest of a notorious killer, however, Katherine flees to a country house party to escape her newfound notoriety-only to witness a murder on her very first night. And when the lead detective accuses Katherine of inflaming-rather than informing-the public with her column, she vows to prove him wrong.
Detective Inspector Andrew Eversham's refusal to compromise his investigations nearly cost him his own career, and he blames Katherine. To avoid bad publicity, his superiors are pressuring him to solve cases quickly rather than correctly. When he discovers she's the key witness in a new crime, he's determined to prevent the beautiful widow from once again wreaking havoc on his case. Yet as Katherine proves surprisingly insightful and Andrew impresses Katherine with his lethal competency, both are forced to admit the fire between them is more flirtatious than furious. But to explore the passion between them, they'll need to catch a killer.
I had such a fun time reading this one. It’s kind of a Clue-style murder mystery with romance and a dash of women’s rights commentary. Honestly, such a successful mix!
It was a little odd to me to have a prologue that was only one week prior to the start of the story and I didn’t find it necessary but I was still along for this journey right from the get-go. I loved Katherine’s tenacity and self-reliance and her friendship with Caroline was a wonderful part of the story. Eversham’s character was also one that I absolutely adored and he is a smart, capable, cinnamon roll of a man.
In a similar vein to Evie Dunmore’s Bringing Down the Duke series, Manda Collins was able to do a great job of integrating women’s rights into the story. It wove into the narrative in such a natural way that had me even more invested in these characters. Because of this, and others, the plotting was layered and I never felt it to be a one-note idea.
There was also a great introduction to Caroline’s character and what will come in the next book of this series that I absolutely cannot wait for. Yes, this was Katherine and Eversham’s story, but Collins integrated side characters backstories in a way that left me wanting more. Also, there’s a male-female relationship in here that isn’t strained with sexual tension! Genuine friendship between the sexes and it is SO nice to see.
Obviously, going into this story, you know that there is going to be romance and there was a solid base to the relationship of Katherine and Eversham. They were familiar to each other to the point of general knowledge but it was enough to give us a solid enemies to lovers transition with a hint of misunderstandings. Albeit, the transition was quick and jarring but it was still believable enough for me to get over relatively quickly.
The murder mystery that kept the plot moving forward was also very well done as it could have easily turned into a side plot that was pretty basic. It was actually a great mystery! I felt like there were twists and turns and I never really knew what the outcome would be until the pieces started to fall together.
Overall it was a lovely blend of historical fiction, romance, mystery and commentary. I already want to re-read this book and cannot wait for Caro’s story in book 2!