Miss Aldridge Regrets
“Super cinematic and every bit as Agatha Christie-esque as its sounds... ifyou like murder mysteries, pick this one up!”
-Emily Henry, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Book Lovers
Named A Most Anticipated Mystery of Summer by Betches, Essence, Crime Reads and more!
The glittering RMS Queen Mary. A nightclub singer on the run. An aristocratic family with secrets worth killing for.
London, 1936. Lena Aldridge wonders if life has passed her by. The dazzling theatre career she hoped for hasn’t worked out. Instead, she’s stuck singing in a sticky-floored basement club in Soho, and her married lover has just left her. But Lena has always had a complicated life, one shrouded in mystery as a mixed-race girl passing for white in a city unforgiving of her true racial heritage.
She’s feeling utterly hopeless until a stranger offers her the chance of a lifetime: a starring role on Broadway and a first-class ticket on the Queen Mary bound for New York. After a murder at the club, the timing couldn’t be better, and Lena jumps at the chance to escape England. But death follows her onboard when an obscenely wealthy family draws her into their fold just as one among them is killed in a chillingly familiar way. As Lena navigates the Abernathy’s increasingly bizarre family dynamic, she realizes that her greatest performance won't be for an audience, but for her life.
With seductive glamor, simmering family drama, and dizzying twists, Louise Hare makes her beguiling US debut.
British writer Hare makes her U.S. debut with an uneven Christie-esque mystery that unfolds during a transatlantic voyage on the Queen Mary in the summer of 1936. Lena Aldridge, a 26-year-old mixed-race London nightclub singer, is on her way to New York City, where she's been offered a role in a new Broadway show. She's ready for a fresh start. Her father, an African American piano player, recently died, leaving her with no family, plus her old boss was poisoned to death. While passing as Italian on board, Lena meets a wealthy white family from New York. Her traveling companion, Charlie Bacon, assistant to the Broadway producer, encourages her to charm them so they'll invest in the show. These are well-drawn characters: there's the elderly, ailing head of the family, Francis Parker; his aloof daughter, Eliza Abernathy; and her womanizing, alcoholic husband, Jack. Then Francis is poisoned just like Tommy, Jack is found stabbed to death, and Lena realizes she's being set up: "I felt as though I were trapped inside my own detective novel," she observes. Lena's amateur sleuthing and romantic interludes with the ship's handsome band leader are engaging, though the ending comes out of nowhere and Lena's final actions feel out of character. Despite the nice buildup, the payoff ends up being a bit disappointing. Agent: Nelle Andrew, Rachel Mills Literary.
Intriguing mystery on the Queen Mary
Miss Aldridge Regrets by Louise Hare is glamorous historical fiction set on the famous ocean liner, the Queen Mary. Most of the action takes place on the ocean liner, with flashbacks to London. Miss Aldridge Regrets is a family drama and a murder mystery all in one.
Lena Aldridge is an aspiring bi-racial actress in 1936, in London. After trying for years to make a career, she’s starting to realize that she just might not make it. When she’s singing in a club in SoHo, she witnesses a murder. The murder of the abusive husband of her best friend. Knowing she might be implicated in the murder, she jumps at the chance, when a stranger gives her two first-class tickets on the Queen Mary and a promise of a Broadway role.
Charlie Bacon, the mysterious man who promised Lena a Broadway part, accompanies her on the cruise. He insists they sit with a wealthy American family, the Abernathy’s for dinner, and as she gets to know this wealthy American family, she realizes they are very dysfunctional. However, when another murder happens at sea, on the way to New York, to one of the Abernathy family members, Lena starts to wonder if her own life is in danger.
I enjoyed this story and the mystery very much. I loved the setting of the Queen Mary, and the author did a wonderful job of describing life on the ocean liner. I also liked that Lena’s love interest is a member of the staff of the ship, and that made for some interesting scenes from the working class. The Abernathy’s were quite an interesting, obscenely wealthy family, and although none of them were very likable, they were very interesting.
I liked that the second murder happened on the ship, in the middle of the ocean, with no place to escape, so we knew the murderer had to be on board the ship. As for the murder, I was surprised and didn’t figure it out until the characters did. Although there were plenty of clues.
I recommend Miss Aldrige Regrets to anyone who enjoys women’s fiction and mysteries. I received a complimentary copy of this book. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.