Death at the Manor by Katharine Schellman @katharinewrites @crookedlanebks @sophiarose1816

Posted October 19, 2022 by Sophia in Book Review / 16 Comments

Review copy was received from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Death at the Manor by Katharine Schellman  @katharinewrites @crookedlanebks @sophiarose1816 Death at a Manor by Katharine Schellman
Series: Lily Adler Mystery #3
Published by Crooked Lane Books on August 9, 2022
Genres: Historical Mystery
Pages: 352
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
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Regency widow Lily Adler is looking forward to spending the autumn away from the social whirl of London society. When she arrives in Hampshire with her friends, Lord and Lady Carroway, she doesn’t expect much more than a quiet country visit and the chance to spend time with her charming new acquaintance, Matthew Spencer.

But something odd is afoot in the small country village. A ghost has taken up residence in the Belleford manor, a lady in grey who wanders the halls at night, weeping and wailing. Half the servants have left in terror, but the family is delighted with the notoriety that their ghost provides. Piqued by this spectral guest, Lily and her party immediately make plans to visit Belleford.

They arrive at the manor the next morning ready to be entertained—but tragedy has struck. The matriarch of the family has just been found smothered to death in her bed.

There was no one else in her room, and the door was locked from the inside. The dead woman’s family is convinced that the ghost is responsible. The servants are keeping secrets. The local magistrate is flummoxed. Lily is determined to learn the truth before another victim turns up—but could she be next in line for the Great Beyond?

A book pal put me onto this series since I adore Regency England and historical mysteries.  I probably should have waited and started at the beginning, but I spotted that blurb mentioning a haunted house and locked room mystery and I had to dive in here.

Death at the Manor is third in the Lily Adler mysteries.  I had no trouble diving into this one out of order, but I could see where her personal connections and background were established earlier and I might have had more of a connection to her and the others if I’d encountered them when they were introduced.

Wealthy widow, Lily Adler farewells her friend Captain Jack Hartley, when he leaves for his ship and is joined by her friends, the Carroways, for a visit in the country to her aunt in Hampshire.  Their first night at her aunts has them away to the dashing Matthew Spencer’s home for a dinner party and the ghost at nearby Belleford estate is mentioned.  Wanting to be entertained, Lady Ofelia Carroway gets the idea for their party to visit the Wrights, who don’t take their ghost that seriously in spite of the servant problem, and investigate the ghost.

Unfortunately, their visit is interrupted by the news that Mrs. Wright has died in the night and the family are convinced the ghost of the Grey Lady frightened her to death since she was alone in a locked room and was the only one to possess the key.  Lily is unconvinced of a gothic ghostly visitation and her detecting skills are needed once again when no one except Ofelia by her side, including the local magistrate, is ready to investigate it further.

Meanwhile, Lily was oblivious to Captain Jack Hartley’s interest as more than her friend, but she is warming to the charm of Matthew Spencer.

Death at the Manor was an engaging cozy historical mystery.  I liked the cast of characters led by Lily, the Regency country house backdrop was pitch perfect, and the mystery was entertaining.  I had my suspicions early and how the locked room bit was achieved.  I was right though, there are some good twists later on that gave me some good surprises.

There are some moments of lag, but the pace picks up before I could grow bored.  I think I would have enjoyed it even more if I’d been in on the series from the beginning.  Ofelia was a fun partner to Lily in detection, but Lily got help from the others at times, too.  I’m a little wary because I sense a love triangle as this series progresses and I find that distracting at the best of time, let alone in the background of a mystery, but, there is enough other elements to appreciate I might find it worth it.  But, first, I think I’ll go back for the earlier stories.

All in all, I was glad to be introduced to this series and look forward to more.  Oh, and it has a nice Jane Austen vibe for those familiar with Miss Lambe from Austen’s Sanditon.  Those who enjoy historical cozy mysteries would be a great fit for this one.


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Posted October 19, 2022 by Sophia in Book Review / 16 Comments

16 responses to “Death at the Manor by Katharine Schellman

  1. I enjoy this series though I think the first book was the strongest. I’m glad you enjoyed this one! I thought it was an entertaining read.