Review – A Lady’s Guide to Mischief and Mayhem by Manda Collins

About the Book:

An intrepid female reporter matches wits with a serious, sexy detective in award-winning author Manda Collins’ fun and flirty historical rom-com!

England, 1865 : As one of England’s most notorious newspaper columnists, Lady Katherine Bascomb believes knowledge is power. And she’s determined to inform and educate the ladies of London on the nefarious-and deadly-criminals who are praying on the fairer sex. When her reporting leads to the arrest of a notorious killer, however, Katherine flees to a country house party to escape her newfound notoriety-only to witness a murder on her very first night. And when the lead detective accuses Katherine of inflaming-rather than informing-the public with her column, she vows to prove him wrong.

Detective Inspector Andrew Eversham’s refusal to compromise his investigations nearly cost him his own career, and he blames Katherine. To avoid bad publicity, his superiors are pressuring him to solve cases quickly rather than correctly. When he discovers she’s the key witness in a new crime, he’s determined to prevent the beautiful widow from once again wreaking havoc on his case. Yet as Katherine proves surprisingly insightful and Andrew impresses Katherine with his lethal competency, both are forced to admit the fire between them is more flirtatious than furious. But to explore the passion between them, they’ll need to catch a killer.

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My Review:

I received a complimentary copy of this book.

Lady Katherine Bascombe is a widow who owns and writes for the Gazette.  When a murderer, who has been dubbed the Commandments Killer, remains on the loose, Kate decides to take matters into her own hands.  She tracks down a witness, one who the police somehow failed to interview, and rather than provide than information to the police, chooses to publish it in her newspaper.  Her precipitous actions cause the inspector who was handling the case to be removed, as well as being assigned to menial tasks rather than true police work.

Police inspector Andrew Eversham is a dedicated and thorough investigator, yet the sheer volume of data involved in the Commandments Killer case forced him to use a not so dedicated fellow officer to conduct some of the interviews.  When it comes to light that his comrade failed to properly conduct his task, the blame falls to Andrew for not properly following up.  The police department is already under extreme pressure to solve the case, so Andrew is the one who takes the fall, and is removed.  Now reduced to shuffling files around, Andrew has no love for the newspaper owner, whose actions have caused a suspect to be arrested, one who Andrew is sure is innocent.

Kate is satisfied that the killer is in jail, and proceeds to attend the house party of a friend.  When a murder occurs there, in the same manner the supposedly jailed Commandments Killer used, Kate is shaken.  Was the wrong man arrested after all?  Andrew is put back on the case, and sent to the house party to investigate.  There is some initial friction between Kate and Andrew, as well as an immediate attraction.  Kate is sorry for her rushed publication of the story, and realizes she should have gone to the police first.  She regrets that she inadvertently caused an innocent man to be imprisoned, and that Andrew lost his job, albeit, temporarily.  As for Andrew, he accepts that he failed to follow up the way he should have done.

Andrew and Kate agree to share the facts they have to try to solve the case.  While their “working” relationship has some bumpy encounters, their personal relationship seems to take off.  Kate is a very strong and independent woman, which I admire, but I feel she crossed the boundary into pushy and overbearing.  She felt she truly belonged in every phase of Andrew’s investigation, but she didn’t – she’s a reporter, not a police officer.  I also found Andrew to be somewhat weak willed where Kate was concerned.  Instead of firmly keeping her out of things she didn’t need to be involved with, he seemed to just throw up his hands in defeat.  As they work to solve the case, their passion leads them to begin to think about marriage and forever.  A LADY’S GUIDE TO MISCHIEF AND MAYHEM has self proclaimed that it is first a mystery, then a romance, and that’s very true.  The mystery part was interesting, with the identity of the killer(s) being unexpected and unusual.  While I felt the passion this couple felt, I, unfortunately didn’t feel the love, or genuine romance.  I do appreciate how neither Kate nor Andrew is perfect, and each owns up to their own mistakes.  I think A LADY’S GUIDE TO MISCHIEF AND MAYHEM made for an entertaining book, one that will appeal to readers who enjoy a very strong female lead, and a story that focuses on the mystery.    ~Rose

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