Friday, December 8, 2023

Arsenic at Ascot by Kelly Oliver Book Review

About the Book:

London, 1918

Fiona Figg finds herself back in Old Blighty saddled with shuffling papers for the war office. Then a mysterious card arrives, inviting her to a fancy house party at Mentmore Castle. This year's Ascot-themed do will play host to a stable of animal defense advocates, and Fiona is tasked with infiltrating the activists and uncovering possible anti-war activity.

Disguised as the Lady Tabitha Kenworthy, Fiona is more than ready for the "mane" event, but the odds are against her when both her arch nemesis, dark-horse Fredrick Fredricks, and would-be fiancé Lieutenant Archie Somersby arrive unexpectedly and "stirrup" her plans. And when a horse doctor thuds to the floor in the next guest room, Fiona finds herself investigating a mysterious poisoning with some very hairy clues.

Can Fiona overcome the hurdles and solve both cases, or will she be put out to pasture by the killer?

My Review:

I have enjoyed this series. I appreciate Oliver's attention to historical detail and her descriptions of buildings and cultural items of the day. I like the idea of Fiona being an amateur undercover spy and was surprised to find that she has a real spy assignment in this novel. It was interesting to read about rogue experiments trying to transplant the abilities of animals into humans as well as the government's use of animals in the war effort.

Much of the novel revolves around Fiona's love life or lack of it. Archie and Fredrick compete for her attention. That aspect of the novel was quite repetitive of the earlier stories and I am getting tired of Fiona's indecision. Other than that, a fun cozy historical mystery.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

You can read my reviews of the earlier books in the series: Chaos at Carnegie Hall, Covert in Cairo, and Mayhem in the Mountains.

About the Author:

Kelly Oliver
 is the award-winning and bestselling author of three mystery series: the seven-book suspense series, The Jessica James Mysteries; the three-book middle grade kids’ series, Pet Detective Mysteries; and the four-book historical cozy series, The Fiona Figg Mysteries, inspired by those trips to the Green Hills Library.

Currently, Kelly is the Vice President of Sisters in Crime.

When she’s not writing novels, Kelly is a Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at Vanderbilt University.

Boldwood Books, 286 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

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