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“A feisty heroine hiding behind a mousy facade…” England 1816  Twenty-six-year-old Beatrice Hyde-Clare is far too shy to investigate the suspicious death of a fellow guest in the Lake District. A spinster who lives on the sufferance of her relatives, she would certainly not presume to search the rooms of her host's son and his friend looking for evidence. Reared in “A feisty heroine hiding behind a mousy facade…” England 1816  Twenty-six-year-old Beatrice Hyde-Clare is far too shy to investigate the suspicious death of a fellow guest in the Lake District. A spinster who lives on the sufferance of her relatives, she would certainly not presume to search the rooms of her host's son and his friend looking for evidence. Reared in the twin virtues of deference and docility, she would absolutely never think to question the imperious Duke of Kesgrave about anything, let alone how he chose to represent the incident to the local constable. And yet when she stumbles upon the bludgeoned corpse of poor Mr. Otley in the deserted library of the Skeffingtons' country house, that's exactly what she does. A Regency Cozy.


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“A feisty heroine hiding behind a mousy facade…” England 1816  Twenty-six-year-old Beatrice Hyde-Clare is far too shy to investigate the suspicious death of a fellow guest in the Lake District. A spinster who lives on the sufferance of her relatives, she would certainly not presume to search the rooms of her host's son and his friend looking for evidence. Reared in “A feisty heroine hiding behind a mousy facade…” England 1816  Twenty-six-year-old Beatrice Hyde-Clare is far too shy to investigate the suspicious death of a fellow guest in the Lake District. A spinster who lives on the sufferance of her relatives, she would certainly not presume to search the rooms of her host's son and his friend looking for evidence. Reared in the twin virtues of deference and docility, she would absolutely never think to question the imperious Duke of Kesgrave about anything, let alone how he chose to represent the incident to the local constable. And yet when she stumbles upon the bludgeoned corpse of poor Mr. Otley in the deserted library of the Skeffingtons' country house, that's exactly what she does. A Regency Cozy.

30 review for A Brazen Curiosity

  1. 4 out of 5

    Alisha

    This Regency cozy mystery surprised me a lot. While I find that Regency romances and mysteries are usually "much of a muchness," without much to really distinguish one from another, the witty banter in this one took it to the next level for me. Beatrice is a 26-year-old spinster who lives with her aunt and two cousins. They are all making a visit to family friends. Late one night Beatrice can't sleep, so, as anyone would, she heads off to the library for a suitable book. While there she stumbles This Regency cozy mystery surprised me a lot. While I find that Regency romances and mysteries are usually "much of a muchness," without much to really distinguish one from another, the witty banter in this one took it to the next level for me. Beatrice is a 26-year-old spinster who lives with her aunt and two cousins. They are all making a visit to family friends. Late one night Beatrice can't sleep, so, as anyone would, she heads off to the library for a suitable book. While there she stumbles upon A BODY (gasp!) AND who else should be standing over it but the Duke of Kesgrave, the one member of the house party that she absolutely despises, and always wants to throw food at. Beatrice is a shy, uncomfortable sort of girl in society, but this unexpected turn of events leads her to doing things she would never have dreamt of in the pursuit of justice. I enjoyed her blossoming personality. And I really enjoyed the standoffs between her and Kesgrave. This is a very funny book that had me chuckling more than usual. Not that it's without its flaws. Scenes of dialogue tend to stall while too much time is being spent narrating Beatrice's thoughts, and it seems that whoever she's talking to is just silently standing around while she ponders things. A bit unnatural. But a forgivable flaw in such a funny book with characters that I really want to revisit. I am happy to note that two more books in the series were released at the same time as this one, so I will be able to continue Beatrice's adventures without delay. Thanks to NetGalley and Potatoworks Press for this advance review copy.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Helen

    5* https://greatreadsandtealeaves.blogsp... Lynn Messina! Sign me up! You are becoming my ‘go to’ for a fun getaway. Light and easy reads is what you deliver time and again. I adored this book! Lynn has proven herself to be a truly witty and very clever author of Regency genre. I mean a ‘posthaste’ nap sounds inviting to me! “Aunt Vera, having decided it was her niece who had ruined the mood, rather than Mr. Otley’s corpse, reiterated her demand that Bea take a nap posthaste.” This book is indeed a 5* https://greatreadsandtealeaves.blogsp... Lynn Messina! Sign me up! You are becoming my ‘go to’ for a fun getaway. Light and easy reads is what you deliver time and again. I adored this book! Lynn has proven herself to be a truly witty and very clever author of Regency genre. I mean a ‘posthaste’ nap sounds inviting to me! “Aunt Vera, having decided it was her niece who had ruined the mood, rather than Mr. Otley’s corpse, reiterated her demand that Bea take a nap posthaste.” This book is indeed a lot of fun and ticks so many boxes - historic details, an escape to the country, a murder to be solved, a little romance and all tied together with humour. You will love Beatrice, our main heroine and an old maid at 26! The way she does a character analysis on those gathered at this country retreat is wonderful, with her desire to throw food at them in abomination truly hysterical. However, there is also that touch of sadness about her situation and she recognises that which makes the reader truly feel for her. “The difference between who she perceived herself to be and who she actually was was vast, and if she had any fight left in her, she would resent how easily she’d succumbed to everyone’s low expectations, including her own.” Bea found herself wanting to hurl a dinner roll at him just to elicit a lecture on the throwing arch of flour-based projectiles.” So when a murder occurs in the library late one night, Bea sees this as her opportunity. This has a good ol’ game of ‘Cluedo’ written all over it - Mr So and So, in the library with the .... what is there not to appreciate? As Beatrice and the Duke put their heads together in an attempt to reveal the murderer, the complexity of the clues is such, that you will not see the culprit until the final reveal. “Beatrice couldn’t believe they were debating decorum while the dead body of Mr. Otley cooled before their eyes.” I cannot recommend this book highly enough (and I am off to search up the remaining two in the series) for an all round entertaining read. It is a fun mystery, filled with an array of stereotypical, yet enticing, characters from that era with many a laugh out loud moment. “I had quite a lot of tea.” “Bea!” her aunt exclaimed, appalled at this display of outrageous behavior. “We just talked about this. Ladies do not admit to any biological functions.” “Yes, Bea,” Flora said, smirking. “Weren’t you listening? It was in the section on hygiene.” “Of course, I remember,” Bea lied smoothly. “The hygiene section was a favorite. I do particularly love disavowing my own physiological processes.”

  3. 5 out of 5

    Rossdavidh

    I read this for a book club (our first virtual meeting), so I'm just going to tidy up my personal notes a bit and leave that as my review. Tells you what food to serve for the bookclub in the very first paragraph! How convenient. Especially since I don't actually have to serve any of that, since it's virtual. That does preclude actually throwing that food at anyone, though, so not quite as fun as in the book. I hear it in my head being narrated with a fake British accent. This Duke fellow is either I read this for a book club (our first virtual meeting), so I'm just going to tidy up my personal notes a bit and leave that as my review. Tells you what food to serve for the bookclub in the very first paragraph! How convenient. Especially since I don't actually have to serve any of that, since it's virtual. That does preclude actually throwing that food at anyone, though, so not quite as fun as in the book. I hear it in my head being narrated with a fake British accent. This Duke fellow is either going to be killed, or is the love interest of the protagonist. Charles Townshend, 2nd Viscount Townshend, KG, PC, FRS (/ˈtaʊnzənd/; 18 April 1674 – 21 June 1738) was an English Whig statesman. He served for a decade as Secretary of State for the Northern Department, 1714–1717, 1721–1730. He directed British foreign policy in close collaboration with his brother-in-law, prime minister Robert Walpole. He was often known as Turnip Townshend because of his strong interest in farming turnips and his role in the British Agricultural Revolution. "Smother her with a book"?? "As she was neither a leopard nor a grizzly bear at the Tower of London, she took offense at his tone." Huh? "No house party that contained a murdered corpse could be described as a complete success." "she wasn't a damp parsnip with no understanding of the natural world" "noodle-headed nodcocks" At 74% mark: it is [one of three characters, one of whom did turn out to be the killer, but there were at least two other characters I was plausibly suspecting could be the one, so not too obvious then]. fus·tian /ˈfəsCHən/ noun: fustian 1. thick, durable twilled cloth with a short nap, usually dyed in dark colors. 2. pompous or pretentious speech or writing. Bea never did actually announce "whodunnit", the windup to that point caused a confession. Was this all part of the plan? Did Bea not actually know whodunnit, and she was just bluffing? She did have a tendency to throw herself into a conversation without having worked out in advance what her story would be, and making it up as she went along, so it's not impossible. Bea could speak up for herself in any situation which Aunt Vera hadn't trained her for; she lost her voice in ordinary situations. This, I theorize, was why she found the experience of investigating a murder more thrilling and liberating than intimidating; she could shrug off the years and years of training from Aunt Vera on how one was to behave, since Aunt Vera hadn't told her what to do (or not do) in the presence of a murdered corpse. ...and that was that. All in all, while I doubt it will turn me into a regular "cozy" reader, it was entertaining, in a kind of fluffy way. Odd that a murder is the plot device around which such a genre is based. Perhaps the dark subject allows the rest of the tale to be more purely gossipy, without the need to be gritty. Or maybe it's just that Agatha Christie sent them down that path and that is the archetype all these stories are building on. All in all, if like me you are not a "cozy" reader but are curious as to what that genre is about, this was an entirely painless and even enjoyable introduction.

  4. 5 out of 5

    HR-ML

    Regency. I liked this quirky little story. One of 6 books (!) about this couple. It had wit and romance. Bea, an orphan, lived with her aunt, uncle & 2 cousins. Aunty expected shy Bea to conform a certain way IE blend into the scenery. All 4, excepting uncle, attended a house party hosted by a baron & his wife. Also invited toplofty Duke of Kesgrave (the H), who no one called by his 1st name. Also present: a viscount, an earl and spice trader Mr. Otley, his wife and perfectly beautiful dtr Ameli Regency. I liked this quirky little story. One of 6 books (!) about this couple. It had wit and romance. Bea, an orphan, lived with her aunt, uncle & 2 cousins. Aunty expected shy Bea to conform a certain way IE blend into the scenery. All 4, excepting uncle, attended a house party hosted by a baron & his wife. Also invited toplofty Duke of Kesgrave (the H), who no one called by his 1st name. Also present: a viscount, an earl and spice trader Mr. Otley, his wife and perfectly beautiful dtr Amelia. But there were lies and secrets afoot. At the house party, Mr. Otley was discovered dead: suicide vs homicide? The H & h investigated this on the sly. He was exacting with details & she observant of attitudes, habits, & non-verbal cues of others. He gradually, reluctantly gave her credit for smarts. Their dialogue was choice. She felt more comfortable over time asserting herself. They had more in common than they knew? Mystery solved. Outcome for this couple: TBD.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Tina

    A house party full of different personalities. An arrogant, yet handsome Duke. A quiet young spinster (on the outside). On the inside she is smart and full of snark. And all she wants to do is hurl a dinner roll at the know-it-all (yet very handsome) Duke. A body found dead in the the library, at night by spinster and Duke. She gets to sleuthing. He is astonished at how much she sleuths (all the info and tidbits about their fellow housepartiers). They trade snappy barbs. She dramatically unmasks A house party full of different personalities. An arrogant, yet handsome Duke. A quiet young spinster (on the outside). On the inside she is smart and full of snark. And all she wants to do is hurl a dinner roll at the know-it-all (yet very handsome) Duke. A body found dead in the the library, at night by spinster and Duke. She gets to sleuthing. He is astonished at how much she sleuths (all the info and tidbits about their fellow housepartiers). They trade snappy barbs. She dramatically unmasks a killer with his help (and really the killer's help who found the unmasking to be taking too long). Snappy little amateur sleuth mystery. No romance but if those two don't end up together in some future book, I'll be very surprised. Looking forward to reading the others.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kara

    Good, tight mystery and engaging plot. But I deducted a star for how everyone treated the h. I understand she lives on her aunt and uncle's sufferance, being a spinster in Recency times, but everyone, including the pedantic, arrogant, insufferable hero, reminds us constantly how plain she is, and how little she has to show for herself. She does grow in her own esteem by the end of the book, but that was too little, too late for me. Especially as the H says something very insulting to her near th Good, tight mystery and engaging plot. But I deducted a star for how everyone treated the h. I understand she lives on her aunt and uncle's sufferance, being a spinster in Recency times, but everyone, including the pedantic, arrogant, insufferable hero, reminds us constantly how plain she is, and how little she has to show for herself. She does grow in her own esteem by the end of the book, but that was too little, too late for me. Especially as the H says something very insulting to her near the end of the book and she lets him slide. Yes, he apologizes, but not enough for my taste. Others with a willingness to be patient with the h's transformation despite others' blindness will appreciate this more, but I prefer my heroines to be fierce from the start.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Rebekah Giese Witherspoon

    “A Brazen Curiosity” is a delightful concoction of cozy mystery, social satire, witty banter, and Regency-style food fights. Well, the food fights only take place in the heroine’s imagination, but they are delightful all the same. This book made me laugh so much, the whodunit was clever, and the writing was great. I can’t wait to read the rest of the series. Thanks to NetGalley and Potatoworks Press for this digital advance review copy. This book as well as the two that follow are available in pa “A Brazen Curiosity” is a delightful concoction of cozy mystery, social satire, witty banter, and Regency-style food fights. Well, the food fights only take place in the heroine’s imagination, but they are delightful all the same. This book made me laugh so much, the whodunit was clever, and the writing was great. I can’t wait to read the rest of the series. Thanks to NetGalley and Potatoworks Press for this digital advance review copy. This book as well as the two that follow are available in paperback and in the Kindle store (FREE for Kindle Unlimited subscribers). Book 2: A Scandalous Deception (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4...) Book 3: An Infamous Betrayal (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4...)

  8. 4 out of 5

    QNPoohBear

    3.5-3.75 stars rounded up Six and twenty year old spinster Beatrice Hyde-Clare has been at the mercy of her relatives for 19 years as a poor relation. She must keep her mouth shut and her head down. Beatrice is grateful for the shelter, food and basic necessities her aunt by marriage has given her but part of her longs for love. She knows that is impossible. Without a dowry or a pretty face Beatrice's prospects are none. Which is why she is dragged along to a house party at her aunt's old friend 3.5-3.75 stars rounded up Six and twenty year old spinster Beatrice Hyde-Clare has been at the mercy of her relatives for 19 years as a poor relation. She must keep her mouth shut and her head down. Beatrice is grateful for the shelter, food and basic necessities her aunt by marriage has given her but part of her longs for love. She knows that is impossible. Without a dowry or a pretty face Beatrice's prospects are none. Which is why she is dragged along to a house party at her aunt's old friend Lady Skeffington's estate, forced to listen to the pompous Duke of Kresgrave pontificating on Lord Nelson's ships at the Battle of the Nile. She ponders what foods would make the best projectiles to throw at his head... if she could... but she can't. He's a Duke, she's a poor relation. While Beatrice is searching for a book to help her sleep she stumbles across the bloody body of a fellow house guest, Mr. Otley and the Duke of Kesgrave standing over the body! The Duke swears he didn't kill the man but Beatrice isn't so sure. She is incensed when the Duke manages to convince everyone Mr. Otley's death was a suicide! How can a man bash in his own head with a candlestick? Beatrice is determined to show up the arrogant Duke and solve the mystery herself! This is a fun new Regency cozy mystery series. I took advantage of Amazon's Kindle Unlimited Cyber Week sale so I could read this book. I had trouble getting into the story at first. The Duke of Kesgrave's long winded speeches bored me to sleep. I wasn't even that interested once the body was discovered so I put the book down. I picked it up again the next night and couldn't put it down. I tried to guess who killed Mr. Otley and why. I was never so shocked at the reveal! My quibble is that it happened to quickly I was confused so I didn't gasp. I had to go back and read again and then speed read down the page to make sure I read correctly. Kudos to the author for completely stumping everyone, even the know-it-all Duke (I'm sure he'd say he figured it out). There's just enough period detail to know that it's set in the Regency era. The author must have read etiquette manuals because certain passages involving Aunt Vera read like an etiquette manual. It suits the story but drags the plot a bit. I really liked Beatrice. Bea is smart and witty. I love her sarcastic sense of humor and I don't blame her for wanting to throw food at the Duke of Kesgrave. I've met many men like that (they're always men!) and have felt the same way. Bea's character development is excellent as she works to solve the mystery. She does do a lot of stupid things she shouldn't be doing and gets herself into silly and dangerous situations because she's being nosy. I wouldn't be brave enough to do what Bea does. I couldn't believe she solved the mystery. The Duke of Kesgrave is arrogant in a Mr. Darcy sort of way but unlike Darcy, he can laugh at himself. I like how Bea challenges him and he seems to enjoy teasing her. I'm not sure if he's sincere in his pontificating or if he's playing everyone for a fool because they "toad eat" him. I wouldn't go so far as to fall in love with him or even really like him but I can say he does make a good detecting partner. The secondary characters are all well drawn, especially the ladies. Bea's Aunt Vera is seriously annoying. She gives Bea all the basic necessities but there's no love between them. Bea is a duty she'd rather not have. Aunt Vera is a stickler for etiquette.... except when it comes to sucking up to a Duke. She can't decide whether it's better to get on his good side by chastising Bea or agreeing with whatever he says. I thought her treatment of Bea towards the end of the novel was kind but Bea doesn't see it that way. Bea's cousin Flora is a simpering miss but she seems to have some cousinly feelings for Bea and if she were a modern teen, she'd be rolling her eyes at her mother. Miss Otley seems to be an empty headed, vain foolish girl, yet Bea discovers hidden depths in her. I felt really awful that a young lady lost the father she loved and found out things about her parents that she didn't like. While her dialogue made me laugh, her story is tinged with sadness. I felt kind of bad for Mrs. Otley but not entirely. She is not all that likable. Lady Skeffington is the most likable of the older women. She's a kind and gracious hostess. The secondary gentlemen are not as well developed as the ladies. Lord Skeffington is as kind as his wife. He loves his family and is a good host despite the tragedy that occurs. His son and heir lacks some brains as is typical of youths his age. He's rude and arrogant at times but he's also very young and rather naive. His friend, Lord Amersham, is also foolish. Viscount Nuneaton doesn't have any personality at all. Bea can't figure him out aside from the fact he appears to be a dandy. Bea's cousin Russell is afflicted with hero worship for the older men and lovesickness for Miss Otley. He's young and over eager but he doesn't seem as stupid as the other young men. He appears to have a sense of humor and is willing to support his cousin- perhaps only to protect the family name but he seems like he will grow up to be a decent gentleman. I really liked this book and can't wait to read the other two. I intended to switch genres but I'm interested to see what Bea gets up to next and how her relationship with Kesgrave develops because well- this IS a Regency romance even if there's no romance yet!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Lisa - (Aussie Girl)

    What a surprising little gem this historical cosy mystery turned out to be. Miss Beatrice Hyde-Clare may be plain, forgettable and bound to servitude to her relatives in her own words but she reminded me of an inquisitive Jane Eyre with her witticisms and humour. Add to this her delightful banter with the insufferably superior Duke of Kesgrave as they join forces to solve a house party murder and you have the elements for an engaging new series in the historical cosy murder genre.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Merry Jewelhound

    I totally recommend this book. Great mystery, wonderful banter and I could not put it down. I did not guess who did it. I am already reading the next in the series.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Yara

    This is the first book in the Beatrice Hyde Clare Mystery collections by Lynn Messina. Beatrice or as she’s known Bea is a plain 26-year-old orphan spinster who lives with her aunt and uncle and their two children 18-year-old Flora and 20-year-old Russell. The murder mystery is a classic and quite delightful “whodunit”. It begins at a house party at the home of Lord and Lady Skeffington, Lake View Hall. With Bea at the house party, there is her aunt Vera, her two cousins, the Duke of Kesgrave Da This is the first book in the Beatrice Hyde Clare Mystery collections by Lynn Messina. Beatrice or as she’s known Bea is a plain 26-year-old orphan spinster who lives with her aunt and uncle and their two children 18-year-old Flora and 20-year-old Russell. The murder mystery is a classic and quite delightful “whodunit”. It begins at a house party at the home of Lord and Lady Skeffington, Lake View Hall. With Bea at the house party, there is her aunt Vera, her two cousins, the Duke of Kesgrave Damian Maddock (who Bea can’t stand) as well a few other guests. One night unable to sleep Bea goes to the library to find something to read, there she comes across the dead body of Mr. Oatley, one of the house party guests, and what’s worst the Duke of Kesgrave is standing right in front of her next to the body. Frightens she believes for a moment that the Duke might have killed the man but soon realizes that he, like her, just happened to run into the body After that she decides to embark on an investigation of who killed Mr. Oatley and finds herself allied with the very Duke, she could not tolerate. As they dig deeper into the investigation of the murder a growing bond grows between the two as they gain mutual respect for one another. It’s a very charming story, humorous and intriguing. The murder mystery is interesting and keeps you curious but it’s the characters that keep you engaged. The characters are endearing, faults and all and the growing friendship between Bea and the Duke of Kesgrave is thoroughly enjoyable an believable. Score 4/5

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sue

    Meh... We heard WAY too much of the MC's internal meanderings. I wouldn't have minded them so much if a) they weren't so plodding and b) she wasn't such a wimp. And I skipped through the prattling and preaching of the aunt. How many pages can you REALLY dedicate to an adult being scolded by a sanctimonious prig (and taking it!!)? Many readers seem to find it funny; I don't. Just unbelievably tiresome.....

  13. 5 out of 5

    Megan

    A throughly enjoyable read, with entertaining dialogue and characters. I found myself laughing at the witty heroine and the absurd things the secondary characters would say. Looking forward to reading the rest of the series as soon as possible! Thanks to NetGalley and Potatoworks Press for this digital review copy.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Lady Wesley

    3.5 really. As the title states, this is indeed a “cozy” mystery and quite enjoyable. Nothing too awful—just one body, unlike some authors who seem to be modeling their plots after Midsomer Murder. I think I’ll listen to the next in the series.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Baal Of

    Bonus points for starting off with food, and the desire to fling it at a particular character. This was my first experience with a cozy mystery, or so I thought until I read about this genre on Wikipedia and learned that some Agatha Christie's Miss Marple novels can be classified as cozies, so I probably read some of those when I was a kid. Overall I don't think this genre is really for me. I thought it was fun, but I don't feel compelled to read any more of the series, although the book club di Bonus points for starting off with food, and the desire to fling it at a particular character. This was my first experience with a cozy mystery, or so I thought until I read about this genre on Wikipedia and learned that some Agatha Christie's Miss Marple novels can be classified as cozies, so I probably read some of those when I was a kid. Overall I don't think this genre is really for me. I thought it was fun, but I don't feel compelled to read any more of the series, although the book club discussion was delightful. Partway through this book I set it down thinking this has got to be a parody. The language was so over-the-top and the characters spoke in such extreme and caricatured manner, for example: It would not be so pronounced, except your ashen complexion makes the contrast particularly stark. "My eyes, as well, for they become luminescent in grief, not at all bloodshot, which I know is the more common reaction," she said vefore launching into a list of other ways her beauty had always set her apart. Who the fuck talks like that about themselves? Then again, now that I think about it, I know at least one person who spends a lot of time on Facebook self-aggrandizing himself and how much different he is from everyone else, so maybe I need to re-assess. But here's some more: Flora squeaked lightly in distress, then rallied with the insistence that if her cheeks flushed as becomingly as Miss Otley's, she would wear pink all the time. My note on my kindle for that quote is just "Jesus fuck." I'm an exquisite young lady with stunning features, magnificent hair and a figure of such pleasing proportions it cannot fail to appeal to all men. This book is filled with instances like these. I can't help thinking that if this book were turned into a play, I would actually enjoy it more. I can envision this on stage with a good cast being very entertaining if they leaned into flowery language and the melodrama for humorous effect. Everything is presented through Beatrice Hyde-Clare's PoV and she clearly overlays her interpretation on top of the words and actions of each character, and thus everything Kesgrave does or says is arrogant, even when it might be sensible, and I guess that other characters are put through a similar filter. A couple things that I noticed. 1) After Beatrice leaves the murder scene she goes to bed with ever washing her hands of the blood. I would have thought that would have been at least mentioned. 2) Beatrice assumes early on that the killer is male. Also, I learned a new phrase: High in the instep. I hope to be able to use it sometime, but most likely I will forget it before the opportunity knocks.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kiesha ~ 1Cheekylass

    I had tried to listen to this at least two times before to no avail. I became distracted by the almost 20 minute musings of the h. I was determined to soldier through this time. I liked Bea and I really felt bad for how she was treated but the author bombarded us with how plain she was, how mousy she was, how unsuitable she was, how uninteresting she was.... You get it, right? There was also too much focused on the h's thoughts. I found myself getting distracted by Bea'a long musings... She coul I had tried to listen to this at least two times before to no avail. I became distracted by the almost 20 minute musings of the h. I was determined to soldier through this time. I liked Bea and I really felt bad for how she was treated but the author bombarded us with how plain she was, how mousy she was, how unsuitable she was, how uninteresting she was.... You get it, right? There was also too much focused on the h's thoughts. I found myself getting distracted by Bea'a long musings... She could be in a conversation with someone and start to muse for long blocks of time. Like what was the other person doing the entire time she rambled on internally? The mystery wasn't that great IMO. The problem with women investigators during this time-- especially those investigating during a house party and are also under the thumb of an overbearing aunt is they can't move freely. So the mystery consisted of reading letters, looking through rooms and making educated guesses. She hardly had time to discuss the case with the Duke yet they were "investigating." I had honestly figured out the culprit within the first 1/3 of the book. The Duke was dry but I felt there was potential between he and Bea yet it never quiet developed. Bea'a insecurity was overdone. Why did I keep listening? Perhaps it was because it has such great reviews, I kept waiting for a BOOM moment--It never happened. Also, I've found that the first book of a mystery series is often underwhelming as it tends to set up the lead & future books. I can't believe it but I'm going to give book 2 a try. If it flops, I'm done. P.S. Maybe a tiny bit of my disappointment is because I just finished the Charles Lenox series which is superb. It's hard for a book like this to follow such a wonderful series 2.5 story; 3.5 narration

  17. 5 out of 5

    Wendy

    Review originally published on my blog, Musings of a Bookish Kitty: https://www.literaryfeline.com/2018/1... A Brazen Curiosity (Beatrice Hyde-Clare Mysteries #1) by Lynn Messina Potatoworks, 2018 Crime Fiction (Historical Cozy); 176 pgs Beatrice is a heroine after my own heart. Shy and bookish, more invisible than not, Beatrice Hyde-Clare was taken in by relatives at a young age after her parents' untimely death. She is now 26 years old with no marriage prospects in sight--nor necessarily expected. Review originally published on my blog, Musings of a Bookish Kitty: https://www.literaryfeline.com/2018/1... A Brazen Curiosity (Beatrice Hyde-Clare Mysteries #1) by Lynn Messina Potatoworks, 2018 Crime Fiction (Historical Cozy); 176 pgs Beatrice is a heroine after my own heart. Shy and bookish, more invisible than not, Beatrice Hyde-Clare was taken in by relatives at a young age after her parents' untimely death. She is now 26 years old with no marriage prospects in sight--nor necessarily expected. While visiting her aunt's childhood friend and her family, Beatrice stumbles on the dead body of one of the other guests while searching for a book in the library. Also in the room is the insufferable Duke of Kesgrave. After shooing her off to bed to maintain propriety, the duke promises to take care of everything. Beatrice is shocked and none to happy to discover the Duke of Kesgrave has not been too honest about the situation. As a result, she sets out to find a murderer. I had such fun reading A Brazen Curiosity, my first by Lynn Messina, but definitely not my last. Beatrice is not only smart, but she is also a character I found I could really relate to. Someone who is used to always doing the right thing, never stepping out of line, and yet ever observant. Like for Bea, the Duke of Kesgrave grew on me the more I got to know him. While there is no romantic match in this book for the two characters, I wouldn't mind seeing it in the future. They work well together, and I enjoyed their sometimes barbed and often playful banter. Some of the side characters in this novel are real dunces, I have to say. How anyone would so readily accept a man hit on the back of the head with a candlestick as a suicide, I do not know, but I suppose people will believe what they want to believe. Even so, this is a great little mystery and I am eager to read more in the series.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    I started this one morning after watching one of my favorite adaptations of a Jane Austen novel, and by the wee, WEE hours of the next morning, I had finished all FOUR books (tho a 5th one is coming out in a few months). I have never burned through a series like this, and find my self in a GREAT mood the day after. (despite the lack of sleep) The protagonist, Beatrice , is a shy, timid spinster (26) whose inner voice is intelligent, observant and hilarious. After stumbling upon a murder and feari I started this one morning after watching one of my favorite adaptations of a Jane Austen novel, and by the wee, WEE hours of the next morning, I had finished all FOUR books (tho a 5th one is coming out in a few months). I have never burned through a series like this, and find my self in a GREAT mood the day after. (despite the lack of sleep) The protagonist, Beatrice , is a shy, timid spinster (26) whose inner voice is intelligent, observant and hilarious. After stumbling upon a murder and fearing for her life, a drastic shift takes place within her, and her inner voice becomes her outer voice, especially with the prime suspect of the murder, Kesgrave. I found her voice HILARIOUS. I laughed, I guffawed, I chortled, and at one point in book 2, I set the book down to laugh for almost a full minute, delighting in the line, and savoring the anticipation of the result of that line. Beatrice does wrestle with her foil Kesgrave throughout, and I found that his character was flushed out pretty nicely too, over the course of the books. I dislike it when the dynamic character opposite the main character stays static or changes without thought or comment. Kesgrave does change, mainly to Beatrice's eyes, and there are several discussions around his character and actions. We also get a keen look into Beatrice's mind and why she does what she does. I loved these books. I can't wait for them to continue. When the 5th book comes out, I will be re-reading these 4, not just to remember all the plot lines and characters, but for the pure joy of it. Thank you Lynn Messina, for writing these books!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Pat

    Truly this was one of the most charming, laugh-out-loud funny books I've yet read (or listened to)! I found myself looking for excuses to take a drive to the store, to the mailbox, to the pharmacy - wherever - just to have a few minutes alone to listen to more of this audiobook. I absolutely was discovered grinning to myself and, on numerous occasions, giggling and choking! The storyline is fabulous. The characterizations are perfect. The narration is impeccable. I absolutely love the interaction Truly this was one of the most charming, laugh-out-loud funny books I've yet read (or listened to)! I found myself looking for excuses to take a drive to the store, to the mailbox, to the pharmacy - wherever - just to have a few minutes alone to listen to more of this audiobook. I absolutely was discovered grinning to myself and, on numerous occasions, giggling and choking! The storyline is fabulous. The characterizations are perfect. The narration is impeccable. I absolutely love the interactions between Beatrice and the Duke. In fact, Bea's interactions with each of the other characters were also delightful. I love how Bea finds her true self in the course of this book. Even though I am not usually a fan of "mysteries," this one was so much fun. I have already bought every other audiobook and kindle version currently available by Lynn Messina -- and I'm happy to report that my local online library service "Hoopla" also has several of them available -- so I can easily recommend these to family and friends. From my perspective, Ms Messina is right up there with Georgette Heyer . . . and I truly do not say that lightly!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Susan in NC

    2-2.5 stars, or “just okay” on my personal scale. There was some humor and a few funny lines, but a lot of the prose was clunky, the situations drawn out and unrealistic, and several characters rather wooden. It didn’t help that I had just read a brilliant Georgette Heyer book - the author who pretty much invented the sparkling Regency romance - very few modern authors can approach her. I was looking for something fun and light for the holiday weekend, but this was just okay. Don’t know if I wil 2-2.5 stars, or “just okay” on my personal scale. There was some humor and a few funny lines, but a lot of the prose was clunky, the situations drawn out and unrealistic, and several characters rather wooden. It didn’t help that I had just read a brilliant Georgette Heyer book - the author who pretty much invented the sparkling Regency romance - very few modern authors can approach her. I was looking for something fun and light for the holiday weekend, but this was just okay. Don’t know if I will bother to read further in the series.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Beatrice Hyde-Clare was orphaned at the young age of five, when both parents passed tragically in a boating accident. Her aunt and uncle reluctantly took her in to raise alongside her two younger cousins, Flora and Russell. As a poor relation in the family's home, Beatrice has perfected the art of being solicitous and yet unobtrusive to the family's needs. But when she stumbles across fellow guest, Mr. Otley's lifeless body while searching for some late night reading material. She cannot simply r Beatrice Hyde-Clare was orphaned at the young age of five, when both parents passed tragically in a boating accident. Her aunt and uncle reluctantly took her in to raise alongside her two younger cousins, Flora and Russell. As a poor relation in the family's home, Beatrice has perfected the art of being solicitous and yet unobtrusive to the family's needs. But when she stumbles across fellow guest, Mr. Otley's lifeless body while searching for some late night reading material. She cannot simply remain in the shadows, as she has always done, while his death is ruled a suicide and his wife and daughter's life are ruined. Bea takes it upon herself to find the truth and justice, to find Mr. Otley's murderer. ____________________________________ I'm a sucker for some banter and this book brought the banter. Bea certainly has a weird obsession for throwing food though and it got to be a little tedious, but her general exhasperation for his apparent perfection was a real treat. A lot of this book is spent narrating Bea's thoughts so it does occasionally slow down a bit as you read Bea's thought process as she tries to work her way through clues. But I think it's worth it: she's amusing and I wanted to investigate alongside her. Plus it's a real quick read(~170 pages) without a super obvious villain, I only was able to deduce who the murderer was shortly before the reveal. If you like mystery series such as Lady Darby by Anna Lee Huber or Veronica Speedwell by Deanna Raybourn then I would recommend this book to you, although this is a bit more of a cozy mystery vibe obviously. I'm looking forard to continuing with this series and seeing more of Bea at work.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    A cute mystery, filled with sometimes witty banter, a few cringeworthy moments, and a murderer whose identity actually surprised me. Clean, with no romance and no OTT drama. The aunt was a bit much, to be sure, but she had a couple of redeeming moments that helped me not straight out loathe her. I'm curious to see where this series goes.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Pauline Ross

    Abandoned. There were some very funny moments, but heavens, it was wordy, with every trivial sentence analyzed to the nth degree by the heroine. I just wanted to get to the action. It’s also part of a projected long-running series, with a romance building slowly, and that’s not particularly interesting. I did like the pedantic duke, however.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Judy Rancourt

    A Jane Austen type book, charming and easy - woman (Bea) and man (Duke) in a relationship of respect, in 1800s - unusual and appealing.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Claire

    Delightful, easy to devour, thank you twitter book club for the rec. :D

  26. 5 out of 5

    Mia

    Enjoyable 3.5 stars read

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jamie Dacyczyn

    What a delightfully fun mystery! Why is this series so unknown? I had to request it from an out-of-state library in order to read it, and it's clearly printed by a smaller publishing company (like, seriously, the title on the front cover is so amateurishly designed that it's run off the edge of the cover).....but why? It's such a treat. Let me say right out that this isn't perfect, by any means. I noticed a couple of typos ("grown" instead of "gown", for example), potentially owing to the indie n What a delightfully fun mystery! Why is this series so unknown? I had to request it from an out-of-state library in order to read it, and it's clearly printed by a smaller publishing company (like, seriously, the title on the front cover is so amateurishly designed that it's run off the edge of the cover).....but why? It's such a treat. Let me say right out that this isn't perfect, by any means. I noticed a couple of typos ("grown" instead of "gown", for example), potentially owing to the indie nature of this book's publication. I do wish the author had dropped the whole bit about the main character, Beatrice (a spinster at the ripe old age of 26), waiting to throw food at a snooty duke. Being a cozy mystery, parts of this were entirely predictable such as (view spoiler)[ Beatrice's hate-to-admiration for the duke, which anyone could guess from page one (hide spoiler)] and the way the main character naturally solves the mystery when no one else could. There's also a certain amount that the reader has to suspend their disbelief at some of the deductive leaps that Beatrice sometimes takes (though she isn't always right anyway). This book was chock full of cozy mystery tropes... BUT, somehow I thought it really worked. I wouldn't label this book a satire so much as a "self aware" book. Like, there are tropes, but the author (and indeed the characters) seem to recognize the clichés, and therefore can kind of poke fun at them. One example that comes to mind is the typical end scene where all of the characters (i.e. suspects) are gathered in the drawing room to hear the identity of the murderer revealed. Total cliché. First Beatrice's accomplice begins to explain the mystery, and then Beatrice herself begins her monologue into how she discovered the identity of the killer, only to be (view spoiler)[ interrupted by the guilty party. They confess to the crime before Beatrice can reach that stage just to get her to stop talking. "Really, young lady, has nobody ever taught you that brevity is the soul of wit? I begin to see why you remain unmarried." (hide spoiler)] Total fun, poking lightly at this whole cliché. This book is chock full of witty dialogue and funny little quips. Beatrice's aunt is constantly scolding her about proper decorum, and I had to laugh out loud during Beatrice's explanation of the murder when: "'Beatrice!' Aunt Vera said in dismay. 'A lady doesn't say bash.'" As if saying the word "bash" is really the most shocking part of a murder. The style of writing (Regency-ish) takes a little getting used to in the beginning, and initially I thought this might be a DNF (partly because I JUST quit two other indie-published books). I thought I was in for an over-written flowery mess....but once I got a feel for the writing, I think the author nailed the Austen/Heyer writing style. It's a style that requires you to slow down a little more and digest each sentence rather than zoom along like you would with a more contemporary writing style, so this kind of thing always takes me a couple of pages to shift my reading mode to match. Once I got my bearings, it was easy to get drawn into the story. I'd recommend this book to fans of cozy mysteries, Regency stories, and fans of witty underdog heroines.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    Much to my surprise, this was actually quite good. In fact, I'm quite determined to get my hands on the rest of the series. Beatrice Hyde-Clare is on the shelf at 26 and used to her status as poor relation. But when a guest ends up murdered at a house party she also is attending--possibly at the hands of a most annoying duke--she decides to solve the mystery. Beatrice's supposedly 'mousy' attitude clashed some with the strong, independent young woman the reader gets to know. The change feels a l Much to my surprise, this was actually quite good. In fact, I'm quite determined to get my hands on the rest of the series. Beatrice Hyde-Clare is on the shelf at 26 and used to her status as poor relation. But when a guest ends up murdered at a house party she also is attending--possibly at the hands of a most annoying duke--she decides to solve the mystery. Beatrice's supposedly 'mousy' attitude clashed some with the strong, independent young woman the reader gets to know. The change feels a little too fast and possibly too motivated by the male hero. But that's about as much as I can say about that. The romance was good and under the surface. Love the promise of its continuation in future books. The murderer proved predictable and the motive outlandish but nothing too horrible. For the quality of the book, maybe 3.5 stars. But considering that it outpaces most of its genre, I'm willing to round up. Silly but delightful.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Isabelle Adler

    4.5 stars This was absolutely delightful! The only nitpicks I had was the excessive introspection, and the characterization being sometimes too much on the nose. Otherwise, I enjoyed every minute of it, especially the witty banter between the two main characters. Can't wait to check out the next one.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Susan Corwin

    Witty, Wonderful Writing I really think Miss Austen would approve. A story with a fascinating whodunit (the Duke, in the Library, with the candlestick?) and also a caustic book of manners -- I learned so much about calling cards and India's climates. This is a funny, charming book and I can't wait to read the next one!

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