The Secret of Bow Lane

The Secret of Bow Lane by Jennifer Ashley

Published:  August 2, 2022 – Berkley

Digital review copy from the publisher and NetGalley

Description:

In Victorian-era London, amateur sleuth and cook Kat Holloway must solve a murder to claim an inheritance she didn’t know she had in a riveting new historical mystery from the New York Times bestselling author of Death at the Crystal Palace

A stranger who appears on Kat’s doorstep turns out to be one Charlotte Bristow, legal wife of Joe Bristow, the man Kat once believed herself married to—who she thought died at sea twelve years ago. Kat is jolted by Charlotte’s claims that not only was Joe murdered, but he had amassed a small fortune before he died. Charlotte makes the cook an offer she cannot refuse—if Kat can discover the identity of Joe’s murderer, Charlotte will give her a share of the fortune Joe left behind. 

With the help of Daniel McAdam, her attractive and charismatic confidante, Kat plunges into her own past to investigate. When it becomes apparent that the case of Joe’s death goes far deeper than simple, opportunistic theft, Kat and Daniel’s relationship is put to the test, and Kat herself comes under scrutiny as her connection to Joe is uncovered. She must race to catch the real killer before she loses her job and possibly her life. (publisher)

My take:

In The Secret of Bow Lane we learn Kat’s husband might not have died the way previously thought and for different reasons. A woman approached Kat to seek help clearing up the mystery of his death and possibly find a rumored fortune. With great reservations Kat decides to investigate. The mysterious (is he a spy or simply an exceptionally intuitive man with a dark past?) Daniel McAdams will give his usual assistance with the case. Daniel and Kat have a complicated relationship and their pride continually prevents them from taking things forward. For the time being they will need to let their personal feelings take a back seat to solving an inconvenient case. I’m not usually a fan of an extremely slow burn romance but this is not the case with Kat and Daniel. Author Jennifer Ashley revealed more layers of Daniel’s story thus making me look forward to the next book and case. I also enjoyed cameos from the supporting characters.

This book is number six in the series thus begging the question: can you jump in here or should you read from the start? Depends on what type of reader you are. At this point I’m one to just jump in but, I have to say, I’m glad I got in early and have the context that has built with each book. Jennifer Ashley brings readers new to the series up to date with important points so I say give it a try!

Recommended to fans of historical cozies and the Kat Holloway series.

Note: I also listened to the audiobook via the Hoopla Audio app. The narration by Anne-Marie Piazza is quite enjoyable so if you can manage to listen I highly recommend going with audio.


 

Spotlight: The Secret of Bow Lane

The Secret of Bow Lane by Jennifer Ashley

Published:  August 2, 2022 – Berkley Trade

Content provided by the publicist

Description:

In Victorian-era London, amateur sleuth and cook Kat Holloway must solve a murder to claim an inheritance she didn’t know she had in a riveting new historical mystery from the New York Times bestselling author of Death at the Crystal Palace

 

A stranger who appears on Kat’s doorstep turns out to be one Charlotte Bristow, legal wife of Joe Bristow, the man Kat once believed herself married to—who she thought died at sea twelve years ago. Kat is jolted by Charlotte’s claims that not only was Joe murdered, but he had amassed a small fortune before he died. Charlotte makes the cook an offer she cannot refuse—if Kat can discover the identity of Joe’s murderer, Charlotte will give her a share of the fortune Joe left behind. 

With the help of Daniel McAdam, her attractive and charismatic confidante, Kat plunges into her own past to investigate. When it becomes apparent that the case of Joe’s death goes far deeper than simple, opportunistic theft, Kat and Daniel’s relationship is put to the test, and Kat herself comes under scrutiny as her connection to Joe is uncovered. She must race to catch the real killer before she loses her job and possibly her life. (publisher)


About the author:

Jennifer Ashley is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Below Stairs Mysteries, the Shifters Unbound paranormal romances, and the Mackenzies historical romances. She also writes as USA Today bestselling mystery author Ashley Gardner.


Praise for the Below Stairs Mysteries:

“This is one of my favorite new series. Ashley writes exquisite historical romance and equally marvelous mysteries.”—The Washington Post

“Well-drawn supporting characters and logistical details of running a prosperous household complement the intricate plot. Downton Abbey fans will be delighted.”—Publishers Weekly

“A top-notch new series….An impeccably researched setting, a fascinating protagonist with an intriguing past, and lively writing seasoned with just the right measure of dry wit.”—Booklist


 

Murder In The East End

Murder in the East End by Jennifer Ashley

Published:  August 2020 – Berkley

E-galley courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley

Description:

When young cook Kat Holloway learns that the children of London’s Foundling Hospital are mysteriously disappearing and one of their nurses has been murdered, she can’t turn away. She enlists the help of her charming and enigmatic confidant Daniel McAdam, who has ties to Scotland Yard, and Errol Fielding, a disreputable man from Daniel’s troubled past, to bring the killer to justice. Their investigation takes them from the grandeur of Mayfair to the slums of the East End, during which Kat learns more about Daniel and his circumstances than she ever could have imagined. (publisher)

My take:  Kat Holloway is a talented cook in a big Mayfair home. She loves her kitchen staff and assorted people associated with the house. One of those people is deliveryman Daniel McAdam. He’s a mystery man and much more than his job title implies. In this book Kat is drawn into a case of missing children from the Foundling Hospital. This case involved a relative of Daniel’s and a very seedy side of London. Because of Kat’s past Daniel is sure she can help with the investigation. Kind-hearted Kat will do anything to help find the children – as will her friends and associates. I was satisfied with the resolution. Not all strings are tied though which leaves things open for the next book.

I like the glimpses of downstairs life that Jennifer Ashley gives readers in this series. I also like the pace of the development of Kat and Daniel’s relationship. A bit more is shown in each book and I’m always left eager to read the next book. I look forward to seeing what Kat and company will be doing next time.


 

Spotlight: Murder In The East End

Tomorrow, August 4th, is publication day for the newest installment of the Kat Holloway Mysteries so I wanted to spotlight Murder In The East End. I look forward to reading and reviewing in the next few weeks!

Murder In The East End by Jennifer Ashley

Expected publication date:  August 4, 2020 – Berkley

Description:

The fourth Victorian murder mystery in the Kat Holloway series from the New York Times bestselling author of Death in Kew Gardens.

When young cook Kat Holloway learns that the children of London’s Foundling Hospital are mysteriously disappearing, she can’t turn a blind eye. East End parish vicar Errol Fielding has his suspicions, but the police brush him off, and Kat–and his childhood acquaintance Daniel McAdam–are his last option.

Kat and Daniel are determined to solve the mystery, and Kat engages the help of her scullery maid, Elsie, who reveals she had been a foundling. Their investigation takes them to the less hospitable areas of London, including the very streets where Kat grew up. She soon suspects the answers they seek are much closer to home than any of them realized–and may reveal far more than any of them wants.


About the author:

Jennifer Ashley is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Below Stairs Mysteries, the Shifters Unbound paranormal romances, and the Mackenzies historical romances. She also writes as USA Today bestselling mystery author Ashley Gardner. Jennifer lives in the Southwest with her husband and cats, and she spends most of her time in the wonderful worlds of her stories.

Praise for Jennifer Ashley’s Below the Stairs Mysteries

This is one of my favorite new series. Ashley writes exquisite historical romance and equally marvelous mysteries.” The Washington Post

“A smart and suspenseful read, Death Below Stairs is a fun series launch that will leave you wanting more.” —Bustle

An exceptional series launch…Readers will look forward to this fascinating lead’s future endeavors.” —Publishers Weekly (STARRED review)

“A top-notch new series that deftly demonstrates Ashley’s mastery of historical mysteries by delivering an impeccably researched setting, a fascinating protagonist with an intriguing past, and lively writing seasoned with just the right measure of dry wit.” —Booklist


 

A Soupçon of Poison by Jennifer Ashley

  • Title:  A Soupçon of Poison
  • Series:  Kat Holloway Mysteries, #.5
  • Author:  Jennifer Ashley
  • Genre:  Historical Mystery
  • Pages:  89
  • Published:  December 2015 – JA/JG Publishing
  • Source:  Purchased

Description:  London, 1880

Kat Holloway, highly sought-after young cook to the wealthy of London, finds herself embroiled in murder when she’s accused of poisoning her employer, the loathsome Sir Lionel Leigh-Bradbury. Her only help as she works to clear her name comes from the mysterious Daniel McAdam, a handsome man-of-all-work who seems to know everyone and always happens to be in the right place at the right time. Kat and Daniel investigate the crime, but the mystery of Daniel’s background might be just as elusive and dangerous as the poisoner bent on framing Kat for murder. (publisher)

My take:  Kat Holloway is a talented young cook for the less than desirable Sir Lionel. She won’t stand for his shenanigans though, which apparently he’s not used to. When his demise is pinned on her she is forced to find the real culprit. Luckily she has help from the mysterious Mr. Daniel McAdam and his son. There’s definitely some chemistry where Kat and Daniel are concerned. She’s determined to ignore the attraction given her prior history with men. He’s amused by her and enchanted by her cooking. Their relationship will grow in this series, I’m sure of it. Just as I’m sure they’ll solve whatever mystery comes their way. A fun introduction to a new series.


 

Death Below Stairs by Jennifer Ashley

  • Title:  Death Below Stairs
  • Series:  Kat Holloway #1
  • Author:  Jennifer Ashley
  • Genre:  Historical Mystery
  • Pages:  336
  • Published:  January 2018 – Berkley
  • Source:  Publisher; NetGalley

Description:  Beloved young cook Kat Holloway charms readers with her fierce sincerity as she takes on a new position in the household of powerful Lord Rankin.

Kat discovers a slew of odd characters living in the Rankin manor, from a lethargic Lady Rankin to her masculine spinster of a sister, to an eccentric cast of servants, and finally a very lustful, tempestuous Lord Rankin. Even more striking, however, is the trouble brewing in the home, which boils over when Kat’s young assistant is found murdered.
 
As Kat and her friend Daniel McAdam begin covertly investigating the murder, they soon find themselves working against a most daunting scheme – can they manage to escape the trouble they’ve cooked up for themselves?  (publisher)
*
My take:  Every so often I like to read an historical mystery. I like being able to imagine myself living in those circumstances and then go along for the ride of the mystery. In Death Below Stairs author Jennifer Ashley’s main character is the new cook for a prominent Mayfair household. She’s not quite thirty years old and is a bit of a mystery herself. I suspect there’s even more to learn about Mrs. H. in future books.

Death Below Stairs is chock full of interesting characters who fall on one side or the other of  abhorrent (evil) and sympathetic (good). It has its share of eccentrics too – which I loved. And there’s the matter of Daniel McAdam. It seems he has a crush on our Mrs. H. He’s a mystery to her though.

I won’t spoil with plot points and such but I’ll say if you’re looking to try the genre there’s no better time than with this first book in the Kat Holloway series. Kat has me hooked and I look forward to finding out what challenges she, Daniel and their friends face next. Fans of the below stairs goings-on of Downton Abbey or Victoria will surely enjoy the world of Kat Holloway.