31 July 2020.
ISBN: 979-8667847021 (PB).
Published in Kindle by Darkstroke/Crooked Cat,
10 September 2020.
The story opens at the end of April
1918 and follows the stories of Alexandra (Alix), Christabel (Christy) and
Adelaide (Addy) Fyttelton. The three sisters are well- born but far from
wealthy young women, who are struggling to make a reasonable living despite
rationing and other privations of war, while they still mourn the death in the
trenches of their much-loved brother, Bertie. The narrator of the story is
eighteen-year-old Christy, the middle sister and the sensible one. Alix is
sweet-natured and hard-working, but she is wrapped up in her dream of finding
the perfect husband, while fifteen-year-old Addy is intellectually brilliant
but tempestuous and emotionally immature. Their mother helps the family finances
by her popular romantic novels but lives more in her fictional world than in
real-life, so it is Christy and her practical grandmother, Lady Elspeth
Gillespie, who deal with the practical aspects of family survival.
the family has little income, they do own two houses, the one they live in and
another next door. One way that Christy and her grandmother contrive to earn
more money is by having redecorated the spare house and renting rooms to the
female relatives of soldiers who are recuperating at the nearby military
hospital, Groom Hall. At the start of the book, a new group of convalescent
soldiers are due to arrive, which means that there are relatives looking for
accommodation. Soon Christy welcomes a meek, down-trodden lady who is grateful
for the respite from her overbearing husband, a hearty woman with prodigious
energy and an appetite to match, and a fearful, very young bride who is in the
last weeks of pregnancy.
Christy has not considered marriage, she has an increasingly warm friendship
with Harry Makepeace, a young officer, now discharged from the army and working
as a solicitor. Harry had been a friend of their brother, which makes him a
welcome guest. The family are delighted to meet Harry’s cousins, Mr Edgar
Makepeace and Miss Bertha Makepeace, but are less happy about the constant
intrusions of Bertha’s friend, Miss Portia Diplock, a domineering woman who
believes she has the right to order everybody about, especially younger people
like Christy and her sisters.
continues well with the family: the new lodgers form unlikely friendships, a
new, small, temporary school is established in the basement, and Alix seems to
have finally met her longed-for perfect mate. In the meantime, Addy helps
Christy to come to a decision about her own writing, switching from stories for
boys about adventures in the trenches, which Christy had found increasingly
depressing, to school stories for girls. The sisters are looking forward to the
May Day celebrations in the town, although determined not to be bullied into
joining the dancers around the maypole. When a sudden death occurs everybody is
shocked and, despite her youth, Christy finds herself assisting the doctor. It
is assumed that the death is from natural causes, but Christy finds herself in
possession of information that indicates otherwise and has to decide whether
taking the matter further is the right thing to do.
Merry Month of Murder
is the second in the Fyttelton mysteries and could be classified as the cosiest
of cosy mysteries. It is a delightful read, with fascinating historical detail
and thoroughly engaging characters, especially Christy, whose wryly humorous
narrative is a delight. In many ways, it reminded me of the ‘Little Women’
books, only for an adult audience and with the odd suspicious death thrown in. This
is book that is great fun from beginning to end and a very easy and enjoyable
Reviewer: Carol Westron
Nicola Slade was brought up in Poole, Dorset. She wrote children’s stories when her three children were growing up, moving onto short stories for several national magazines. Winning a story competition in Family Circle galvanised her into writing seriously and since then her stories and articles have been commissioned regularly. Scuba Dancin, a romantic comedy was her first published novel. After that she wrote a series of Victorian mysteries: Murder Most Welcome published by Robert Hale Ltd, 2008, featuring Charlotte Richmond, a young widow in the 1850s. Nicola has a second series, featuring former headmistress, Harriet Quigley, and her sidekick and cousin, Rev Sam Hathaway. Nicola, her husband and their cat live near Winchester in Hampshire.
Find out more about Nicola at
is a successful short story writer and a Creative Writing teacher. She is the moderator for the cosy/historical crime panel, The Deadly Dames. Her crime novels are set both in contemporary and Victorian times. The Terminal Velocity of Cats the first in her Scene of Crimes novels, was published July 2013. Carol recently gave an interview to Mystery People. To read the interview click on the link below.
http://carolwestron.blogspot.co.uk/To read a review of Carol latest book This Game of Ghosts click on the title.