NATIONAL BESTSELLER • “A delightful cocktail that mixes elements of the Bridgerton series, Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice and Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple mysteries . . . The payoff is a wealth of wit, hilarity and suspense.”—People (Book of the Week)
When a wealthy bachelor drops dead at a ball, a young lady takes on the decidedly improper role of detective in this action-packed debut comedy of manners and murder.
Feisty, passionate Beatrice Steele has never fit the definition of a true lady, according to the strict code of conduct that reigns in Swampshire, her small English township—she is terrible at needlework, has absolutely no musical ability, and her artwork is so bad it frightens people. Nevertheless, she lives a perfectly agreeable life with her marriage-scheming mother, prankster father, and two younger sisters— beautiful Louisa and forgettable Mary. But she harbors a dark secret: She is obsessed with the true crime cases she reads about in the newspaper. If anyone in her etiquette-obsessed community found out, she’d be deemed a morbid creep and banished from respectable society forever.
For her family’s sake, she’s vowed to put her obsession behind her. Because eligible bachelor Edmund Croaksworth is set to attend the approaching autumnal ball, and the Steele family hopes that Louisa will steal his heart. If not, Martin Grub, their disgusting cousin, will inherit the family’s estate, and they will be ruined or, even worse, forced to move to France. So Beatrice must be on her best behavior . . . which is made difficult when a disgraced yet alluring detective inexplicably shows up to the ball.
Beatrice is just holding things together when Croaksworth drops dead in the middle of a minuet. As a storm rages outside, the evening descends into a frenzy of panic, fear, and betrayal as it becomes clear they are trapped with a killer. Contending with competitive card games, tricky tonics, and Swampshire’s infamous squelch holes, Beatrice must rise above decorum and decency to pursue justice and her own desires—before anyone else is murdered.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
If you’ve ever wished that your favorite Jane Austen heroine was cheekier and extremely interested in solving mysteries, Julia Seales’ debut is right up your alley. Her delightful novel opens with Beatrice Steele, a young woman in Regency-era England who lives with her parents and sisters in a frog-infested town called Swampshire. While society insists that Beatrice is in need of a husband, she’s actually in need of intellectual stimulation—which happily arrives in the form of a murder committed during a ball at a nearby estate. The ensuing investigation is both comic and clever, exposing the true nature of Beatrice’s family, suitors, and neighbors and allowing her to demonstrate her crime-solving skills. Fast-paced and very smart, A Most Agreeable Murder would make Austen proud.
Screenwriter Seales's exceptional debut focuses on the Steele family of Swampshire, England, where women strictly adhere to a multiple-volume guide that offers rules including "Ladies must not be annoying or persistent." It's the early 19th century, and the Steeles have three daughters, the eldest of whom, 25-year-old Beatrice, harbors a frightful secret: she loves to solve crimes. None of the daughters can inherit the family's estate—it can only go to a man—and Mr. Steele's penchant for practical jokes has led his vile cousin, Martin Grub, to declare him insane, paving the way for Grub to take over the property. The family's only hope rests on one of the daughters receiving a marriage proposal from a wealthy bachelor they meet at the annual Stabmort Park ball. After one of those bachelors dies during the festivities, Beatrice teams up with private detective Vivek Drake to solve the crime. The intricate plot races along at a sprightly pace, and Seales delights with her sharp humor and accomplished sense of narrative control. Jane Austen fans will be enthralled.
Easy read, quirky and intriguing!
Proper nod to Austen & Christie
Loved this fun escapist story set in the regency era of etiquette and propriety, with its quirky characters longing to break the rules. Great summer read!
Did I just read??? No just no.