Monday, March 27, 2023

Book Review: Murder in Postscript

By Jami Denison

If you’re missing Bridgerton – or if you wish the series had more of a mystery than just “how are these two people who seem to hate each other going to end up together” – the first book in Mary Winters’s new Lady of Letters mystery series may help fill the hole. Murder in Postscript stars Victorian countess Amelia Amesbury, a respectable young widow who is raising her late husband’s ten-year-old niece. But, like Penelope Danbury, Amelia also has a publishing secret: she’s answering letters in a London penny newspaper as Lady Agony, the 19th century version of Dear Abby. When she gets a letter from a housemaid claiming that she knows a secret about her mistress’s seemingly accidental death, Amelia goes to meet the woman—and finds her body. Feeling responsible for the girl’s murder—she wouldn’t have died if Amelia hadn’t been late!—Amelia vows to find the killer.

Murder in Postscript is almost flawlessly executed, with all the supporting characters a reader expects in mystery and Regency romance. There’s the dashing-but-heartbroken marquis who insists on investigating the case with Amelia and trading quips and long looks with her. There’s the fashionable best friend, good for throwing balls and planning capers. There’s the charming, talented child. And then there’s all the mystery of the victim’s family. Each chapter begins with a letter to Lady Agony that neatly matches the dilemma of the current plot twist. The murder mystery ties up neatly, with an appropriate villain who has a very Victorian reason for their crimes. The romance, however, is on such a slow burn, it may take several books for it to boil over.

My only quibble is that Winters chose to end the book on an abrupt cliffhanger. For a novel with nearly flawless pacing up to that point, it felt jarring and a bit manipulative. Most series authors find a way to wrap up the current book while still leaving a few threads to be picked up on the next one. However, Winters may have been trying to imitate actual Victorian authors, who were more likely to use tricks like these to keep readers interested.

In any case, Winters can rectify this mistake by publishing the second book in the series as soon as possible. 

Thanks to Berkley for the book in exchange for an honest review.

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