Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Review - Death in Kew Gardens

Author:  Jennifer Ashley
Series:  Kat Holloway Mysteries #3
Genre:   Mystery/Thrillers
Publisher:   Berkley Books
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:  320
Date of Publication:  June 4, 2019
My Rating:  5 Stars

From the New York Times bestselling author of Scandal Above Stairs

Kat Holloway steps out from beneath the stairs and into international intrigue, where murder and stolen treasure lurk among the upper echelons of Victorian London.

In return for a random act of kindness, scholar Li Bai Chang presents young cook Kat Holloway with a rare and precious gift—a box of tea. Kat thinks no more of her unusual visitor until two days later when the kitchen erupts with the news that Lady Cynthia's next-door neighbor has been murdered.

Known about London as an "Old China Hand," the victim claimed to be an expert in the language and customs of China, acting as intermediary for merchants and government officials. But Sir Jacob's dealings were not what they seemed, and when the authorities accuse Mr. Li of the crime, Kat and Daniel find themselves embroiled in a world of deadly secrets that reach from the gilded homes of Mayfair to the beautiful wonder of Kew Gardens. 


Kat Holloway is busy enough as a cook in an affluent household in Victorian England. However, she spends as much time as possible investigating crimes. In this case she discovers that a neighbor in the house she works in has been murdered. Kat has just met an unusual but elegant man from China named Li Bai Chang.

The murder victim was said to be an expert in the language and customs of China, and Mr. Chang has been accused of the crime. Kat can hardly believe it and does what she can to remove any suspicion of Mr. Chang. In so doing, she gets the help of her good friend Daniel McAdam, whom we met in the previous stories of the Kat Holloway Mysteries.

When ensues is a dark foray into a world of secrets that surround the palatial homes as well as Kew Gardens. All the while the gentle romance between Kat and Daniel continues to progress at a slow boil.

As I read the first stories in the series, Death Below Stairs and Scandal Above Stairs in quick succession before reading this one, I was very drawn into the characters and storylines. I loved Kat's relationship with Daniel, her bond with her daughter Grace, and her unlikely friendship with Lady Cynthia. However, there is definitely one unlikable character in this book, thus striking a fine balance.

This story was definitely intriguing and in some ways quite sensitive, especially when it came to race and class distinctions during that time frame. All the while, Daniel remains pretty much a mystery, and I do love that the author is keeping that storyline intact.

Although part of a terrific series, the stories do well on their own. However, they are so good that if you enjoy light mystery stories no doubt you will not only devour all three as I have, but will be definitely looking forward to future offerings.

Many thanks to Berkley Books and to NetGalley for this ARC to review in exchange for my honest opinion.


Jennifer Ashley / Allyson James

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Jennifer Ashley has lived and traveled all over the world, and now lives in the Southwest. She writes historical, paranormal, and contemporary romance as Jennifer Ashley; mysteries as Ashley Gardner; and paranormal romance and urban fantasy as Allyson James.

Jennifer’s/Allyson’s/Ashley’s more than 100 novels and novellas have won RWA’s RITA award, RT Reviewer’s Choice awards, and the Prism award, among others. Jennifer’s novels have been also been translated into French, German, Spanish, Dutch, Japanese, Norwegian, Hungarian, Italian, Thai, Indonesian, and several other languages.

Jennifer enjoys writing and reading above all else, but her hobbies include cooking, hiking, playing flute and guitar, painting, and building miniature rooms and dollhouses.

If you have any comments or questions, e-mail Jennifer from the contact page!