Saturday, 6 May 2017

The Victorian Mystery Series

I shall list all the books I read in  2017 at the end of the year.  But I must make mention of a new series I have just found – The Victorian Mystery Series by Robin Paige (a.k.a. Susan Wittig Albert and Bill Albert).  There are twelve in the series and I have just read the first three.  They are most enjoyable, un-put-downable, cosy crimes set in England at the end of the 19th century which is a period about which I am especially fond of reading. 

1. Death at Bishops Keep (1994)
2. Death at Gallows Green (1995)
3. Death at Daisy's Folly (1997)
4. Death at Devil's Bridge (1998)
5. Death at Rottingdean (1999)
6. Death at Whitechapel (2000)
7. Death at Epsom Downs (2001)
8. Death at Dartmoor (2002)
9. Death at Glamis Castle (2003)
10. Death in Hyde Park (2004)
11. Death At Blenheim Palace (2005)
12. Death on the Lizard (2006)

They star an early forensic scientist and photographer, Sir Charles Sheridan, and an Irish American girl, Kate Ardleigh, who comes to England as a secretary to her aunt and is – unbeknown to those around her – the author of lurid penny dreadfuls.  Together the two of them team up (or antagonise each other) to solve murders.  Great fun.

Each chapter is preceded by an appropriate quote or two, a feature I usually find enjoyable in books like this.  This quote was especially appropriate:-
“Novel-writers are a devious lkot.  Just when the question seems resolved and the answers are all known (or nearly all), a new difficulty is often introduced, startling the reader out of his complacency and throwing order into chaos once again.”  - Lenore Penmore ‘Secrets of the Narrative Arts’, 1892.

And here are some quotes from the books themselves.  I can only hope they don’t leave you too inflamed and passionate. . . .

Aunt Jaggers voice became hoarsely sententious … “It is our duty to reprove and correct those in our employ and to guard them from their own natural inclinations to become apprentices of misrule.  That, of course,” she added, but not as an afterthought, “is why the reading of novels is prohibited.”
“You do not deem novels fit reading, Kate ventured cautiously.
“A sign of moral depravity,” Aunt Jaggers replied firmly.  “Witness this teaching from The Christian Miscellany and Family Visitor.”  She took up a booklet from the table, adjusted her glasses, and again read aloud.  “Novel reading tends to inflame the passions, pollute the imagination, and corrupt the heart.  It frequently becomes an inveterate habit, strong and fatal as that of the drunkard.  In this state of intoxication, great waywardness of conduct is always sure to follow.  Even when the habit is renounced, and genuine reformation takes place, the individual always suffers the cravings of former excitement.”

Edward thought he had given up being surprised by Miss Ardleigh.  But he could not help being surprised now.  She bent down, unlaced her stout black boot and pulled it off, balancing on one foot in an altogether unladylike posture.  He averted his eyes from her slender black-stockinged foot, a part of the female anatomy that he had seen only once or twice before in his life and found, to his dismay, inordinately provocative.


  1. Great and funny quote from the book on the evils of reading novels. This series sounds good, I like the Victorian era and mysteries.

  2. I love mysteries and wonder if this is available across the pond?

  3. "In olden days, a glimpse of stocking was looked on as something shocking but now, heaven knows, anything goes!"
    You knew I would have to quote this song! :-)

    1. I did, kay. I was tempted to illustrate this quote but thought I might offend someone. :-)

  4. Those do sound very fun to read, i'll have to look into it, see if our library has or can get them.

  5. I wish that you would write a follow-up to your novel!


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