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Publisher's Summary

In Dianne Freeman's charming Victorian-era mystery series, Frances Wynn, the American-born Countess of Harleigh, finds her sister's wedding threatened by a vow of vengeance.

London is known for its bustle and intrigues, but the sedate English countryside can host - or hide - any number of secrets. Frances, the widowed Countess of Harleigh, needs a venue for her sister Lily's imminent wedding, away from prying eyes. Risings, George Hazleton's family estate in Hampshire, is a perfect choice, and soon Frances, her beloved George, and other guests have gathered to enjoy the usual country pursuits - shooting, horse riding, and romantic interludes in secluded gardens. 

But the bucolic setting harbors a menace, and its not simply the arrival of Frances's socially ambitious mother. Above and below stairs, mysterious accidents befall guests and staff alike. Before long, Frances suspects these accidents are deliberate, and fears that the intended victim is Lily's fiancé, Leo. Frances’s mother is unimpressed by Lily’s groom-to-be and would much prefer that Lily find an aristocratic husband, just as Frances did. But now that Frances has found happiness with George - a man who loves her for much more than her dowry - she heartily approves of Lily’s choice. If she can just keep the couple safe from villains and meddling mamas. 

As Frances and George search for the culprit among the assembled family, friends, and servants, more victims fall prey to the mayhem. Mishaps become full-blooded murder, and it seems that no one is safe. And unless Frances can quickly flush out the culprit, the peal of wedding bells may give way to another funeral toll....

©2020 Dianne Freeman (P)2020 W.F. Howes

What listeners say about A Lady's Guide to Mischief and Murder

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Horrible narration change

While I *LOVED* the first two books in this series, the new narrator has drained me of all positive feelings I could have towards this third book. The previous narrator, Sarah Zimmerman, was wonderful. I understand that her cadence sometimes bothered people at the beginning but I found it very easy to get used to and came to quite enjoy it. Her portrayals of all the characters were perfect. The new choice of narrator, Karen Cass, was... unfortunate. I can’t believe anyone that hired her had listened to a sampling of her American accent. It’s quite bad and so distracting that I miss parts of the story, which leads to me having to listen to it over again, thus inflicting more torture. It’s obvious an American accent is not natural to her. Some of the time, she seems so focused on the accent that it sounds like she’s just reading words from a page and ignoring any character inflections. The rest of the time, she can’t annunciate the letter R to save her life and the character sounds like she has a speech impediment (“clearly” pronounced “clee-ly”), or she’s from New Jersey (“mister” sounds like “mist-uh”). She also has the American characters use British pronunciations of words like “schedule.” This was my long-winded explanation of why I can’t purchase another book in this series if it’s narrated by Karen Cass.

6 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Narrator ruins a promising series

The narrator is just off and ruins a good mystery with a whining voice that missed the character and personality of the key characters captured and brought to life by the prior narrator . I do hope any further books switch back to the prior narrator as its almost unbearable to listen to this book. I will be returning this for sure.

5 people found this helpful

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Meh!

I'm sure the new narrator is a lovely person, but I just could not get into it.

4 people found this helpful

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Wonderful story, blah narrator

I love this series! Dianne Freeman does a great job at setting the scene, introducing characters, and keeps good pacing throughout. The romance is weaved delicately throughout so that one enjoys the read without drowning in sappy details. The only complaint I have if of the narration. I loved the previous narrator, Sarah Zimmerman I believe, and I do wish she could have narrated this book, as well. I found Karen Cass’ narration lacking. Either way, great book!

2 people found this helpful

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Narrator awful; fun premise; undeveloped character

This book's narrator is different than the first two in the series. This narrator is absolutely awful. No "upper class" American who is allegedly trained in all the social niceties that would allow her to move in circles where she could "catch" a titled husband would pronounce words with an accent from Newark, New Jersey or Southie in Boston, flattening vowels and turning 'er' into 'ah. It is not only distracting but makes Francis seem more unbelievable than she already appears. If there is a book 4 with the same narrator, I will have to pass. The premise had promise, which is why I stuck through all three books. Also, this is a cozy, so allowances are made for lack of depth and consistency in character development. However, the author has the unfortunate habit of having people (especially Francis and Lily) become irrationally angry at the drop of a hat, appear lacking in any amount of common sense and unable to draw simple conclusions, even discounted for social norms of the era. There is no real character development of any of the main characters. Aunt Hettie may be the most interesting but gets little airtime. For Francis and George who are alleged to be investigators (apparently George does this for the Home Office), the lack of rational thought, problem-solving and internal logic is disappointing. Francis is furious because George doesn't share everything. She never once acknowledges that there is a difference between what is appropriate to share between them and the presumable constraints of his job and it ends with Francis wanting to be reassured that she will play a role in all of George's investigations. I suggest that George become a private inquiry agent as it's highly unlikely that the Home Office would welcome an untrained operative on assignments or privy to confidential information. His capitulation makes him seem weak since it is so blatantly unrealistic. I hope that the author can devote more time to internal narrative consistency and adding a little more depth to the characters should she continue in the series.

2 people found this helpful

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horrible choice for narrator

it was really difficult to listen to this book. the American accent is horrible... i found it hard to picture the main character as a society lady with a horrendous accent. I am American and I can't even stand it. It is not an accent any woman of wealth or education would have.

1 person found this helpful

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Change in Narrators

I actually shuddered a few times and rolled my eyes at certain parts due to the narrator. It’s a good story but after Sarah Zimmerman, it was very difficult to make it through this book.

1 person found this helpful

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Another success!

I confess it took me a while, but with some effort, I finally got into the story. After listening to the two previous books back-to-back, I had gotten so used to the earlier narrator that I just couldn’t follow the story. It seemed to me that the entire personality of the characters was different! However after a couple of chapters I finally began to enjoy the story. Karen Cass is a wonderful and accomplished reader but in all honesty, I prefer the earlier one. It may just be a matter of loyalty.

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  • MT
  • 10-05-20

so fun

Love this one! Well written and well performed. The climax of the story is fun and has a twist I didn't see coming. Can't wait for the next book. Definitely worth the listen.

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Great story, narrator’s American accents are distracting

Loved the previous two books so I was excited to listen to the third. The story is great but I find the new narrator’s fluctuating American accents distracting. She can’t seem to decide if the main character has a vague New England accent, a sight breathy Southern drawl, or speaks in an general American accent with a British twist. I’m sure it won’t be as distracting to non-American audiences who don’t know the difference but it gets confusing during some parts of the performance since I couldn’t tell who was supposed to be speaking. The fact that the main character, her brother, her aunt, and her mother all seem to have different types of American accents while growing up and living in the same American town is odd. I’m not sure if it was an accident or if the narrator thought it would help to tell the characters apart. It would have been less distracting to just have all the characters have a British accent instead of this hodgepodge of “American” accents. I’ve heard this same narrator do other performances and loved them but this wasn’t her best one. I hope they go back to the previous narrator for the next in the series.