Murder Most Historical by Ashley Gardner

I’ve been enjoying the Kat Holloway series so much that when I heard there was a prequel, I went out and bought the short story collection.

Murder Most Historical is a collection of three mysteries:

1. A Soupçon of Poison

This is the Kat Holloway prequel and the one that I was most excited to read about!

Kat is the cook in the household of a somewhat lecherous guy, with a drunk butler and a skeleton crew of staff. Not the most ideal situation but it gives her freedom for other, more important things. But when the lord of the house is found dead with Kat’s knife in him, Kat has to trust and work with Daniel McAdam to find out the real killer.

To be honest, I enjoyed this story more for the characters than for the mystery. This is the one place that references how Kat and Daniel met, and it’s basically just raising my expectations for their relationship in future books.

It’s very much in line with the Kat Holloway series and it just made me more excited for Book 3.

2. The Bishop’s Lady

Émilie d’Armand is lady-in-waiting to the Queen of France. While on a visit to a friend’s house, she discovers the death of a girl (which happened way before she visited) and decides to look into the matter.

To be honest, while the denouement was well-written, I didn’t actually understand how Emilie deduced who the murderer was, given the lack of evidence.

But the build up to the climax and the aftermath was satisfying to read, and I really enjoyed the world building that went on. Overall, I enjoyed this story.

3. A Matter of Honor

This is a mystery set in an alternate Regency England that has magic and all sorts of creatures. Robert lost the drohner, an artifact that holds the power of his family, while it was in his care. Now, he has to retrieve it.

Making things complicated is a night-slayer, a creature that hunts at night, turning up.

I thought the addition of the night-slayer made the story a lot more interesting and served to bring out Robert’s better qualities.

The denouement of this mystery was also more believable than The Bishop’s Lady, though I liked the setting in that story a bit more.

Overall, I thought that this was a fun collection of mysteries. No lie, I got this mainly for the Kat Holloway story, but I found that I really enjoyed the other mysteries too. If they were turned into a series, I’d be interested in reading those books.

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