Written by: JULIA STUART
Published by: DOUBLEDAY
Pub Date: AUGUST 7, 2012
After the scandalous death of her father, Maharaja of Brindor, which involved him in a private situation with a maid in his bedchambers, the Indian Princess Alexandrina, nicknamed Mink, is left with nothing as her father left her with several debts. Within a year everything she owned was repossessed, leaving her with only her lady’s maid, Pooki. Queen Victoria hears about Mink’s situation and gives her permission to stay at the Hampton Court Palace.
Upon arriving at the Hampton Court, both Mink and Pooki are shocked to see the condition of their new so-called home, which has seen better days. With nowhere else to go, they try their best to adjust, with Pooki doing most of the cleaning. Before long, Mink is invited into a new circle of wacky acquaintances, which includes The Countess of Bessington, The Hon. Dowager Lady Montfort Bebb, and The Lady Beatrice Fisher, all whom are widows.
While attending, a picnic at the palace, which includes all the residents, Pooki bakes her specialty, a pigeon pie. Shortly after eating a piece of the pie, Major-General George Bagshot, a former military man currently writing the history of Hampton Court Palace, unexpectedly dies. The corner announces that the Major-General Bagshot died of arsenic poising, in which Pooki is the prime suspect. Mink knows that her trusty lady’s maid is no killer; therefore she begins her own investigation into who killed Major-General Bagshot.
I didn’t know what to expect with a book titled “The Pigeon Pie Mystery” when I signed up to review it courtesy of Doubleday. The author Julia Stuart uses her talents to bring out a Victorian-style narration with a blend of an Agatha Christie mystery, the wit of Sherlock Holmes, and the quirkiness of the board game Clue. Within the first chapter I felt sorry for poor Mink as she has to grieve for the loss of her father while at the same time she is embarrassed by his actions that have put her in debt. There are many crazy characters that live at the Hampton Court Palace and many weird things occur there, like a ghost who haunts The Lady Beatrice Fisher’s apartments. One of my favorite characters is William Sheepshanks who is the caretaker of the palace’s maze. With a murder plot, one would think the book would be written in a serious tone, but instead it is written as a goofball, Monty Python style comedy. I can easily see this being turned into a movie or even a play. I recommend “The Pigeon Pie Mystery” to all mystery readers, or anyone looking for a good page-turner.
About the Author:
Julia Stuart is an award-winning journalist and the bestselling author of two previous novels, The Tower, The Zoo, and the Tortoise and The Matchmaker of Perigord. She lives in London.
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