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Review of Murder in Westminster

I read this book expecting 2 things 1) great characters – this is based on my past experience of reading a previous work by this author and 2) a fascinating mystery. 

Don’t we all want our mysteries to be fascinating?  In Murder in Westminster, Lady Abigail Worthing is investigating not one but two murders.  I was disappointed in the mystery solving aspect.  Hard clues were outweighed by intuition.  Having said that, you should know that Abigail has the dubious gift of second sight, so it may be that intuition is her best tool.  Still, I kept wanting solid detective work.

On the other hand, I loved the characters!  Abigail is a strong, intelligent black woman who has had the fortune and drive to marry a man with a title.  Then her husband leaves her home alone to go travelling.  And so she does pretty much what she wants even though her friends tell her not to.  She wants to help with the abolitionist movement.  She wants to solve mysteries.  Both activities are likely to get her into trouble/dangers.  Abigail’s cousin and godfather are also great characters that bring their own quirks to the mystery solving table.

The neighbor, Stapleton Henderson, is prickly, opinionated, and about to divorce his wife.  But Mrs. Henderson is the first victim, so he is also a suspect.  He is good with dogs (that scores him points).  But he is not above resorting to blackmail (points deducted).  Henderson and Abigail start off arguing over a fence and end up working together to find a murderer. Ultimately, I think Henderson is good, but truly that is left a bit murky. 

The author has provided some great historical detail at the end of the book.  It may even be a good idea to read that part first.

So, in Murder in Westminster, we have two lonely neighbors who will likely be getting into more trouble in the future.  I see them honing their mystery solving abilities, while they become close friends. 

Through NetGalley, the publisher provided a copy of this book.  My review is my honest opinion.

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About Murder in Westminster by Vanessa Riley

Discovering a body on her property presents Lady Abigail Worthing with more than one pressing problem. The victim is Juliet, the wife of her neighbor, Stapleton Henderson. Although Abigail has little connection with the lady in question, she expects to be under suspicion. Abigail’s skin color and her mother’s notorious past have earned her a certain reputation among the ton, and no amount of wealth or status will eclipse it.

Abigail can’t divulge that she was attending a secret pro-abolition meeting at the time of the murder. To her surprise, Henderson offers her an alibi. Though he and Juliet were long estranged, and she had a string of lovers, he feels a certain loyalty to his late wife. Perhaps together, he and Abigail can learn the truth.

Abigail, whose marriage to Lord Worthing was not a love match, knows well how appearances can deceive. For all its surface elegance, London’s high society can be treacherous. Yet who in their circle would have killed Juliet, and why? Taking the reins of her life in a way she never has before, Abby intends to find out—but in the process she will uncover more danger than she ever imagined…

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