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Tuesday 9 July 2024

‘How to Solve Murders like a Lady’ by Hannah Dolby

Published by Head of Zeus,
6 June 2024.
ISBN: 978-1-80454443-3(PB)

1897, and life is getting interesting for Violet Hamilton, Hastings and St Leonards’ first Lady Detective. A local lady has been murdered – immediately after Violet overhears her accusing the respected doctor of being a quack. Can this case really be that simple? Not with Violet investigating.

The novel’s narrated by Violet herself, and her bouncy personality makes for a cheery read. She’s determined to pursue her unconventional career, in spite of her father’s disapproval, her fiancé’s concern and the horror of her former schoolfellows.

The scrapes and actual danger she gets herself into, and then out of, are laugh-out-loud funny. She’s surrounded by great characters: her gloomy father, who’s fallen in love with a farmer’s widow (pass the smelling salts!); her long-suffering ‘new man’ fiancé; Hildebrand, her ex-prostitute maid; the wistful pre-Raphaelite Lady Laxton and her businessman husband; even Farmer Wicken, who locked her into an oast house at the start of the book, reappears to help her at the exciting finish.

Incidents and clues whizz by, and there are great episodes, like her spell in the sinister doctor’s health spa. As suspicion deepens, the pace rattles along.

An ultra-cosy, fast-moving period romp with plenty of action and an engaging, lively heroine. This is the second in the series, so if it sounds fun (and it is!) you might want to begin with the first, No Life for a Lady.
Reviewer: Marsali Taylor

Hannah Dolby's first job was in the circus, and she is keen to keep life as interesting. She trained as a journalist in Hastings and has worked in PR for many years, promoting museums, galleries, palaces, gardens and even Dolly the sheep. She completed the Curtis Brown selective three-month novel writing course, and she won runner-up in the Comedy Women in Print Awards for this novel with the prize of a place on an MA in Comedy Writing at the University of Falmouth. She currently lives in London. 

You can follow Hannah on Twitter @LadyDolby

Marsali Taylor grew up near Edinburgh and came to Shetland as a newly qualified teacher. Marsali is a qualified STGA tourist-guide who is fascinated by history, and has published plays in Shetland's distinctive dialect, as well as a history of women's suffrage in Shetland. She's also a keen sailor who enjoys exploring in her own 8m yacht, and an active member of her local drama group. She lives with her husband and two Shetland ponies.  

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