Scandal Above Stairs
#2 Kat Holloway Mystery
by Jennifer Ashley
Formats available: Paperback, Electronic, Audio
Pub Date: 7.3.18| 320 pages
REVIEWER: Sophia Rose
Paperback won in a giveaway by reviewer. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.
From the New York Times bestselling author of Death Below Stairs
A mystery of stolen antiquities has Kat Holloway setting aside her apron once again for the intrigues of the upper echelons of Victorian London
Priceless artwork has gone missing from the home of a wealthy baronet, and his wife stands to take the blame. When Kat’s employer asks for help in clearing her friend’s name, Kat trades her kitchen for the homes of Mayfair’s wealthiest families. Soon antiques are disappearing not only from the extravagant households of connoisseurs and collectors, but from the illustrious British Museum.
As the thefts increase in frequency, Kat calls upon her friend Daniel McAdam, who has already set himself up in a pawnshop on the Strand as a seedy receiver of stolen goods. When a man is murdered in the shop, Kat must use all of her wits to see that the thieves are caught and justice is done.
After delving into the Downstairs world in a Victorian era Upper class household with a mystery-solving cook, I was eager to press forward with the next installment in the series.
Scandal Above Stairs is book two in the Kat Holloway series. For those new to the series, I would recommend starting with the prequel if you can where Kat and Daniel are introduced and they have their first murder investigation together.
Following not long after the last venture into detecting, Kat is content with her place cooking for quirky Lady Cynthia and her parsimonious aunt and uncle, but then Lady Cynthia coaxes her out of the kitchen for help with robberies going on in her friend’s home and her friend getting accused of the theft. Meanwhile, Kat has the training of a new kitchen maid that Daniel sends along and mixes herself up into Daniel’s undercover work.
These move along at a gentle pace and have the feel of a historical blended with cozy mystery. The time spent with Kat doing her culinary magic in a Victorian kitchen and the world of the serving class below stairs is as fascinating to me as the mystery elements. The details are lavish and add to rather than get in the way of the story.
Kat is a wonderful lead character and I enjoyed getting her first person perspective on her work, the people around her, and her curiosity for solving mysteries. Kat sees women as Lady Cynthia and others as movers and shakers and brushes off Daniel’s fulsome compliments and admiration because she can’t see just how special she is. She raised herself from a char woman’s daughter who got deceived into a bigamous marriage to an educated cook and a mother with ambitions for her daughter. She doesn’t wallow in her past, but she does have a wary attitude toward men, now. Daniel is slowly getting past her guard as they share each new detecting venture. His work is dangerous and his life is exciting. She doesn’t want to admit she cares.
The mystery wasn’t particularly difficult to figure out, but I did enjoy being along while Kat and Daniel work it out and solve it in an exciting finish. It’s a fun series and I will definitely picking up the next one when it comes.