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Scandal Above Stairs | Jennifer Ashley | 2018, 309 pages | Historical mystery
It is 1881, and Kat Holloway is in command as the cook at Lord Rankin’s elegant home in London. Lord Rankin is away, and his sister-in-law, Lady Cynthia, stays there with her relatives, Mr. and Mrs. Bywater. Cynthia is young and gets into scrapes with her friends, shockingly wearing men’s clothing at night when they go out. Kat is an excellent cook, and she is also good at solving mysteries. Cynthia comes to her with a problem. Her friend Clemmie is a gambler, and her husband has accused her of stealing artwork from their home, having it sold to pay off her gambling debts. Clemmie is innocent and desperate. Someone has been stealing antiques and art work from wealthy homes in London recently. Kat agrees to look into the problem. In doing so she runs into her friend (sometimes more than a friend?) Daniel McAdam, who is running a pawn shop. McAdam has various jobs and personas. He swears that he will tell Kat the reason behind them all one day. Daniel warns Kat that there is a murderous, shadowy figure from his past and that he may be the mastermind behind these thefts.
This story brings back characters from the book Death Below Stairs and ads a new one – the feisty cook’s help, Tess. It is full of luscious descriptions of the meals that Kat prepares, and has a clever plot. This is a very entertaining historical mystery!
Robbin Bailey, Reference Librarian