Book: “Death in Kew Gardens” a Below Stairs Mystery

“Death in Kew Gardens” a Below Stairs Mystery

By Jennifer Ashley

( 294 pages, Historical Mystery, 2019)

In Victorian era London, young cook Kat Holloway is going shopping for the household when she accidentally knocks down an elderly Chinese gentleman named Li.  She meets Li again when handing out leftovers to the poor after supper.  Li gives her an exquisitely carved box with delicious tea in it, a quality of tea that Kat had never tasted before.

News comes the next day that the master next door has been murdered!  Sir Jacob, who had an extensive collection of objects from China, has been killed and his study ransacked.  Kat, her feisty young assistant Tess, and Kat’s friend Daniel begin searching for the murderer.   Kat and the staff must also deal with a horrible new housekeeper that the lady of the house has hired for some reason.  This housekeeper seems determined to cause trouble among the staff, and likes to try blackmail to get her way.

Li is an “Old China Hand” which is a Chinese scholar who speaks English and is an expert in the customs of China.  Kat is convinced that he is not a killer. But a witness says that they saw Li outside of Sir Jacob’s house on the night of the murder.

This is a fast-paced mystery that takes place in Kat’s kitchen, the houses of wealthy Mayfair families, and the beautiful Kew Gardens.  There are likeable characters, deadly secrets, a stolen item of immense value (livelihoods depend on it), and an exciting ending!  This is the third in the “Below Stairs” mysteries.  If you like the sound of it, you might want to start with the first one, Death Below Stairs.  There are six in the series right now, and the author is working on a seventh one.

I really enjoy Kat’s characte.  She is a strong woman who can manage a household staff, cook up scrumptious meals, and also assist in solving murders to help a friend out!

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Author: Robbin Bailey

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