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A Lady's Guide to Etiquette and Murder

Countess of Harleigh Mystery Series, Book 1
Narrated by: Sarah Zimmerman
Length: 8 hrs and 4 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (257 ratings)
Regular price: $17.49
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Publisher's Summary

Frances Wynn, the American-born Countess of Harleigh, enjoys more freedom as a widow than she did as a wife. After an obligatory year spent mourning her philandering husband, Reggie, she puts aside her drab black gowns, leaving the countryside and her money-grubbing in-laws behind. With her young daughter in tow, Frances rents a home in Belgravia and prepares to welcome her sister, Lily, arriving from New York - for her first London season.

No sooner has Frances begun her new life than the ghosts of her old one make an unwelcome appearance. The Metropolitan police receive an anonymous letter implicating Frances in her husband's death. Frances assures Inspector Delaney of her innocence, but she's also keen to keep him from learning the scandalous circumstances of Reggie's demise. As fate would have it, her dashing new neighbor, George Hazelton, is one of only two other people aware of the full story.

While busy with social engagements on Lily's behalf, and worrying if Reggie really was murdered, Frances learns of mysterious burglaries plaguing London's elite. The investigation brings death to her doorstep, and Frances rallies her wits, a circle of gossips, and the ever-chivalrous Mr. Hazelton to uncover the truth.

©2018 Dianne Freeman (P)2018 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Exceptional blending

No nagging anachronisms that I spotted. Frances was an intriguing blend of Victorian scruples and American individualism with a large helping of curiosity. George was an excellent mix of Campion and Wimsey, as widely read detective fans may recall. Highly recommended.

20 of 20 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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This book has everything!

Over the past several years I've listening to a lot of audio books and never written a review because I never found one that I thought review writing would be worth it. But this book has everything! It's so entertaining - with family, humor, possible love entanglement, murders, thefts and mystery. I can't wait till the follow-up book!

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Amanda
  • Atlanta, GA, United States
  • 08-15-18

Almost perfect...

I loved the story! So enjoyable! But, the narrator... she has a lovely voice and I liked her accents and portrayal of the different characters. The issue I have is that she speaks as though she’s reading a list. She ends her sentences in a higher voice- not as though she is asking a question but like she’s reading a grocery list. She even pauses almost as if she’s pronouncing the comma. I’m not sure how else I can describe it. It is really distracting.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Eager for next in series!

Loved the story, wonderful characters. The narration was fabulous. Can't wait for the next installment.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Love it

Educational and smart. Rich characters. Loved the subtle explanation of the time and culture. I want more!!!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Passable story, weak narrator

Language and narrator’s voice are too modern for time period. Narrator’s voice does not have enough range for all the characters involved in story line.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Calista
  • Shelburne, VT, United States
  • 11-20-18

Great Narration, lots of fun

Fun easy listen for people who like period pieces/ easy mystery. Not too dark or explicit. Recommend for cozy evening listening.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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More like a romance than a mystery...<br />

the reader did a fine job, only a few mispronounced words. the characters were interesting and the story was too. however it was a very simplistic mystery and I had it figured out by chapter 7. definitely not what I would call a whodunit or even a cozy mystery. reminded me more of MC Beaton Regency Romance novels.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Great fun new series

Fun new cozy mystery!!! I am looking forward to the next installment!! Can't wait to see what the Countess of Harleigh will get up to next.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

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Excellent Victorian mystery

In A Lady's Guide to Etiquette and Murder by Dianne Freeman, set in Victorian England, Frances Wynn, the American heiress, now the elder Countess of Harleigh, is relieved to have finished the obligatory year of mourning over the death of her late husband, Reggie, Earl of Harleigh. Only she and two others know that his death actually occurred in the bed of his mistress and that Frances and George Hazelton, the brother of Frances's best friend, moved Reggie back to his bedroom and dressed the naked corpse. Then Frances overhears Reggie's brother, the new earl, making plans to use her personal money to repair the family manor. So Frances arranges to move with her young daughter, Rose, to her own home in Belgravia, taking over 80 years on its lease. However, to Frances's consternation, she discovers that her new next door neighbor is the very George Hazelton who knows the shameful secret of her husband's death. But she finds that he is eager to be a friend and not a critic.

Then, just as Frances moves into her new home, she gets a letter from her mother in America saying that she is sending Frances's little sister, 18-year-old Lily, accompanied by their Aunt Hetty, for Frances to bring Lily out into society. In the midst of attending balls, the women keep hearing about small thefts that happen during the balls. What is worse, Frances gets several visits from Inspector Delaney because of suspicion that Reggie was murdered. Then, to add to all this drama, Frances discovers a footman murdered in her yard before he could come to visit her with information. And Frances's brother-in-law, Graham, is stirring up trouble for her as well in an attempt to get her money.

A Lady's Guide to Etiquette and Murder is the first novel by Dianne Freeman, and she has made a success of her first book. The historical setting proves to be interesting, with fascinating details about high society and the issues faced by both young ladies and their chaperones as they navigate the challenges of trying to find the best husband. The book deals with the different classes in society as well as the common practice in the late Victorian era for rich Americans to send their daughters to find husbands with important titles, many of whom needed the infusion of cash by the Americans to keep their estates running. This is hope Frances found her husband and how Lily expects to find her own spouse.

Sarah Zimmerman performs the audio edition of this book, creating an effective shift between the accents of the various characters. The American Frances narrates the book, but she has a slight influence from having lived in England for close to 10 years. Other characters are fully British, while Lily and Aunt Hetty have stronger American accents. The strong intonations and timing, without over-emoting, further add to the interest in the content of the book. Zimmerman certainly makes this book effective as an audiobook, and I will look for more books narrated by her.

I really enjoyed my experience listening to A Lady's Guide to Etiquette and Murder. The book was creative and depicts Victorian society in an interesting and effective manner. I look forward to the second book's being released in audio and certainly intend to get that next. I give the book five stars!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful