Murder at Mallowan Hall
A treat for fans of Masterpiece Mystery and Downton Abbey, Colleen Cambridge’s charming and inventive new historical series introduces an unforgettable heroine in Phyllida Bright, fictional housekeeper for none other than famed mystery novelist Agatha Christie. Hijinks—and murder—ensue.
Tucked away among Devon’s rolling green hills, Mallowan Hall combines the best of English tradition with the modern conveniences of 1930. Housekeeper Phyllida Bright manages the large household with an iron fist in her very elegant glove. In one respect, however, Mallowan Hall stands far apart from other picturesque country houses. For the manor is home to archaeologist Max Mallowan and his famous wife—Agatha Christie . . .
Phyllida is both loyal to and protective of the crime writer, who is as much friend as employer. An aficionado of detective fiction, Phyllida has yet to find a gentleman in real life half as fascinating as Mrs. Agatha’s Belgian hero, Hercule Poirot. But though accustomed to murder and its methods as frequent topics of conversation, Phyllida is unprepared for the sight of a very real, very dead body on the library floor . . .
It soon becomes clear that the victim arrived at Mallowan Hall under false pretenses during a weekend party. And when another dead body is discovered—this time, one of her housemaids—Phyllida decides to follow in M. Poirot’s footsteps to determine which of the Mallowans’ guests is the killer. Now only Phyllida’s wits will prevent her own story from coming to an abrupt end . . .
Set in Devon, England, circa 1930, this solid series launch from Cambridge (the Lincoln's White House mysteries as C.M. Gleason) introduces Phyllida Bright, the housekeeper at Mallowan Hall, a "modest manor house with fifteen guest rooms" that's home to Agatha Christie and her second husband, Max Mallowan. Phyllida is an unabashed fan of Hercule Poirot, and one reason she's currently unwed is "that she had yet to find a man who met the standards set by the proper Belgian detective." Early one morning, Phyllida goes to draw the curtains in the library and finds one of the Mallowans' house-party guests lying dead on the rug, a fountain pen protruding from the side of his neck. Another murder follows. The general ineptitude of the local police offends Phyllida, who decides to use her little gray cells to solve the case. That Agatha and Max stay on the periphery of the investigation may disappoint those expecting a more active role for them, and keeping track of the large cast of servants, guests, and hangers-on can be hard. Still, readers will want to see more of the clever Phyllida. Agent: Maura Kye-Casella, Don Congdon Assoc.
If you like British historical mysteries set between the World Wars in the style of Agatha Christie- then this will delight you.