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September 14, 2020

A Witness to Murder by Verity Bright ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

I have discovered the most delightful cozy mystery series. I saw mention of the upcoming Christmas book in the series and since I'm a sucker for Christmas stories I went to Netgalley in hopes of scoring an ARC. That book wasn't listed yet but I did find that a new book in the series was available. I requested it straight away and couldn't wait to start reading it.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

A Witness to Murder
September 2020; Bookouture; 978-1838887575
ebook, print (264 pages); cozy mystery 

A Witness to Murder
is book 3 in the Lady Eleanor Swift Mystery series. I haven't read the first two books in the series, but when has that stopped me from jumping right in? I'm glad that I did as I loved every minute of this book.

From the first pages, I fell in love with Eleanor. If I was a titled Englishwoman she is who I would want to be. She is a bit of a combination between Lady Edith and Lady Sybil from Downton Abbey. While she has a title and has inherited a large estate, she is very down-to-earth. I think in some ways she would rather just be called Eleanor and invited to the farmwife's kitchen for tea.

There are some particularly delightful scenes like Chester taking a pram full of cats for a walk and the chasing of runaway piglets. That added a quirky vibe to the town, which tipped the scales towards light-hearted when weighed in the balance with the more regular townsfolk she encounters. I thought the ordinary and oddity was well-balanced overall. It kept the story light without becoming a farce.

Chapter 19

The series is set in 1920s England. The ideas of a modern woman, women's rights, and even the breaking down of class barriers all seemed in step with the time period. However, the chocolate peanut butter fudge and peanut allergy felt out of place - a bit too futuristic. I'm not saying that there weren't peanut allergies in the 1920s. But how popular was peanut butter in England at the time? It is much more of a North American (the process was patented by a Canadian in the 1880s) food. I would have thought marzipan (popular in many parts of continental Europe) would have been the nut product of choice. And how would Mr. Aries have known he had a severe peanut allergy unless he had a reaction before? Epinephrine was in use in the 1920s but I'm not sure how widely available and easily accessible it was. If one small bite of fudge killed him so quickly it is likely any previous encounter with peanuts would have done so as well without quick access to epinephrine. Now that I'm really thinking about this scene, I wonder how silently he would have killed over. Anaphylaxis usually results in difficulty breathing and one reacts as if they are choking or by taking loud, wheezing breaths. How would his dinner companions not see he was in distress? 

Thankfully the whole death scene is quick and most of the investigation is focused on the motives to kill so it is easy to suspend disbelief in favor of entertainment.

As I mentioned I have not read the first two books in the series, and I had no problem jumping in with book three. It is still early on in the series so plenty of the backstory is explained, making it simple to start here. But if you are one who must start at the beginning it shouldn't take long to catch up. For me, I have the delight of enjoying two more books in the series while I wait for book 4.

Buy A Witness to Murder at Amazon

Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the founder of Girl Who Reads and the author of how-to marketing book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour.

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  1. This is on my list to read. It looks so good.

  2. This sounds fun. I love a good cozy mystery and a good Christmas story as well. Even though the Christmas one wasn't available it sounds like this one fit the bill! Glad it worked!