Posts Tagged ‘Linda Stratmann’

A True and Faithful Brother: A Frances Doughty Mystery (The Frances Doughty Mysteries)

Frances Doughty made a decision not to  get involved in any more murder cases.  She has more than enough work to keep her going without having her life taken over by investigating a death.  But she is tempted when Mr Fiske – a former client – asks her to find out what has happened to a missing philanthropist who vanished from a locked room in full view of other men.  The missing man is the father-in-law of the man Frances believes to be her natural father.

Will this case shed some light on her own family background?  Should she stay away from it because of this?  Frances is soon crossing swords with the unhelpful Inspector Payne and wishes it was her friend, Inspector Sharrock dealing with the case.  I enjoyed this well written historical crime novel.  As ever it is meticulously researched.  I like the various series characters – especially the redoubtable Sarah, her friend and assistant.

This is a low key story – though not without its moments of suspense – and it is all the better for not being sensationalised.  It shows how difficult life could be for women trying to make a living in the 1880s but it also shows how intelligent women could make their way in the world.

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The Royal Ghost: A Mina Scarletti Mystery

Mina Scarletti is once again involved with some dubious mediums. Brighton is talking about a pamphlet which has just been published and it has taken the town by storm.  It has been written by two young women who apparently saw the ghosts of the Prince Regent and Mrs Fitzherbert in a compromising situation during a visit to the Royal Pavilion at Brighton.

Mina is visited by a Mr Hope who is keen to get her to withdraw her evidence against false medium  Miss Eustace who is awaiting trial. Mina instinctively distrusts Mr Hope even though he is very popular in Brighton society but she doesn’t like the way he is trying to blackmail her into retracting her evidence.  Can she outwit him and also find out the truth behind the publication of the pamphlet?

This is a well written mystery set in Brighton in the 1870s.  The historical background is evocative and really brings Victorian Brighton to life.  I like Mina as a character – she is determined not to let her physical disabilities stop her doing the things she wants to do. If you enjoy this author’s Frances Doughty series then you may enjoy this second book in the Mina Scarletti series.

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Death in Bayswater: A Frances Doughty Mystery (The Frances Doughty Mysteries)

I have read and enjoyed all the previous books in this series and I think this is one of the best.  Frances’ career as a private detective is now well established and she and her assistant, Sarah, have plenty of cases to keep them busy.  But the latest one looks like being one of her most difficult yet.  Jim Price has been found guilty and condemned to death for the murder of his sweetheart.  His family and friends believe he is innocent but a man he helped on the night of the murder has not come forward and it seems as though unless Frances can find the man Jim will hang.

There are several brutal murders in quick succession and all of Bayswater is in a panic and Frances is popularly believed to be investigating those too.  But she draws the line at cases the police are investigating and anyway the murderer is particularly brutal and appears to be targeting women.  Could he be the one responsible for the murder for which Jim is about to hang?

This is a well written and well researched story and I really enjoyed reading it.  I like Frances and Sarah and the painstaking way they set about investigating cases. There are plenty of shocks in store for Frances in this book and she must use all her skills and resources to solve it and survive unscathed.

if you like your crime novels with vivid historical backgrounds and a cast of colourful characters then you may enjoy this series.  They can be read in any order but it is interesting to watch Frances’ development as a detective by reading them in the order in which they were published.

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Mr Scarletti's Ghost: A Mina Scarletti Mystery (Mina Scarletti Mysteries)

I have read all of this author’s Frances Doughty series so I was keen to try this book.  I found it excellent reading and absolutely fascinating with a very well researched background of the Victorian passion for ghosts, apparitions and mediums.  Mina Scarletti writes horror stories and lives with her mother in Brighton in the eighteen seventies. Mina has scoliosis, and as a result attracts a lot of well meaning attempts at curing her – which she knows is impossible.

When her mother meets Mr Barclay, a faith healer, and Miss Eustace, a medium Mina is sceptical of their powers but as they seem to have given her mother a new lease of life she is content to go along with her mother’s enthusiasm.  However it soon becomes clear to her that these people are after money and likely to latch onto the rich.  In the course of her investigations into their activities she meets a Dr Hamid and his sisters and they vow to expose these people as the charlatans they are.

This is a well constructed story with some very likeable characters and a meticulously researched background.  It is something out of the ordinary in the way of historical mysteries and I can thoroughly recommend it to anyone who enjoys such mysteries.  I shall look forward to reading more in this series as I really like Mina as a character.

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The Children of Silence: A Frances Doughty Mystery (The Frances Doughty Mysteries)

Frances Doughty has her own business as a private investigator, ably assisted by the formidable Sarah who has her own ways of finding out the truth.  Part of a body is discovered in a canal when it is drained and it seems that it could be the remains of missing businessmen Edmund Antrobus who vanished three years before.  If it could be proved to be him then it could rescue his wife from the limbo in which she currently lives.

Frances is engaged by a friend of Lily Antrobus to try and find out what happened to her missing husband.  In the process she uncovers a web of lies which gradually spreads wider and wider and involves more and more people.  No one is going to remain unchanged by Frances’ investigation.

I found this book an entertaining and fascinating read and I was interested in the medical and historical background to it, which as ever with this author has been meticulously researched.  I like Frances as a character with her determination to get at the truth whatever the cost and her knowledge of people and human nature.

If you like historical crime fiction then give this series a try.  The books can be read in any order but if you start with the first one and read in order of publication then you can watch how Frances’ business develops.

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An Appetite for Murder: A Frances Doughty Mystery (The Frances Doughty Mysteries) When overweight Thomas Whibley dies, his death sparks an acrimonious correspondence in the local paper about dieting and the dangers of being overweight. Frances Doughty is asked to find out who wrote the libellous letters. At the same time she is approached by a man who has recently been released from prison and who wants to trace his estranged family. It is this latter case which puts Frances in opposition to Inspect Sharrock.


This is an entertaining and well written Victorian mystery which shows extremely well how women had to struggle to make their own living at this period of history. Frances’ reputation is growing and she has plenty of work and she is gradually building up a network of contacts who are willing to help her with information on a quid pro quo basis. I enjoyed reading this fourth episode in the Frances Doughty series. The dialogue and characters are believable and realistic and not everything goes the way of our heroine all the time.


If you like historical crime series then give this one a try. The books can be read in any order though it is interesting to see how the series characters develop if you start with the first one in the series which is ‘The Poisonous Seed.’

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A Case of Doubtful Death: A Frances Doughty Mystery (The Frances Doughty Mysteries)

Frances Doughty is faced with many cases in this latest episode in the series.  She finds her fame is spreading throughout Bayswater without her needing to advertise and she has as plenty of work to keep her busy.  She is even the, loosely disguised, heroine of a series of penny dreadfuls which are for sale in the area.

Her most important case is to try and find the whereabouts of Harry Palmer who disappeared after the unexpected death of one of his employers.  His sister has stopped eating because she is so worried about him and Frances agrees to try and track him down – living or dead.  But she finds the two doctors who own the Life House are not willing to assist her.  The Life House caters for those wealthy clients who are worried about being buried alive.  For a few days their bodies are kept in the Life House to see if they are in fact dead before they are buried in the normal way.

This is quite a gruesome story but it is compelling reading.  I loved the portrait of Victorian life and the characters are very well drawn.  I enjoyed the way the author carefully weaves together the many strands of this fascinating story to make a satisfying whole.   Fakes and charlatans as well as villains are tracked down and exposed and the police are involved where appropriate.

If you want a well written historical crime series where the research is impeccable but does not swamp the story this is an excellent series to try.  They can be read in any order but it helps to read then in the order in which they were published starting with ‘The Poisonous Seed.’

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