Review: Of Manners and Murder by Anastasia Hastings

Description (from cover): “1885: London, England. When Violet’s Aunt Adelia decides to abscond with her newest paramour, she leaves behind her role as the most popular Agony Aunt in London, “Miss Hermione,” in Violet’s hands.

And of course, the first letter Violet receives is full, not of prissy pondering, but of portent. Ivy Armstrong is in need of help and fears for her life. But when Violet visits the village where the letters were posted, she finds that Ivy is already dead.

She’ll quickly discover that when you represent the best-loved Agony Aunt in Britain, both marauding husbands and murder are par for the course.”

My Thoughts:

When Violet’s Aunt Adelia leaves suddenly to travel to Europe with her new lover, she is stunned to realize that her aunt has been living a double life. Apparently, Aunt Adelia is none other than the famous Agony Aunt, Miss Hermione, and now that she is leaving, she asks Violet to take over her column for her. Taking matters into her own hands, Violet reviews the latest correspondence and sets about her task. The first letter she reads is from one Ivy Armstrong who is concerned about her wellbeing after several mysterious accidents have almost left her dead. Violet writes it off as a paranoid newlywed seeking danger at every turn, but when a second letter comes from Ivy naming several suspects, Violet decides that she must travel to the village to learn what is causing Ivy to be so distressed.

When Ivy arrives in the small village, she asks for Ivy’s direction and is shocked when she arrives at the town’s cemetery in the middle of Ivy’s funeral. All of the suspects that Ivy has named that have motive for killing her are also there. Violet begins her investigation into Ivy’s murder and is surprised that there were so many people who had motive to kill Ivy. Was it Ivy’s new husband? The vicar who seems to carry a torch for Ivy? The widow who was rumored to be in love with Ivy’s husband prior to Ivy’s marriage who felt jilted? With an endless supply of suspects, Violet sets out to find justice for Ivy.

This was a cute little debut for a new historical mystery featuring Violet in her new role as an Agony Aunt. Violet is smart, she is not what the upper middle class would call “sociable,” but she uses her connections to investigate what seems to be a murder in a small English village. Her sister, Sephora, who is Violet’s opposite in every way makes her own appearance in the story and tells her tale through her own words. I enjoyed reading this book and hope that Violet’s character finds herself involved in more murders in the future. I will be keeping my eye on this series in the future.

Overall Rating: 4 stars

Author: Anastasia Hastings

Series: Dear Miss Hermione Mystery #1

Publisher: Minotaur Books

Publication Date: February 7, 2023

Pages: 297

Genre: Historical Mystery

Get It: Amazon

Disclaimer: This book was given to me by the publisher, through NetGalley, in exchange for my honest review. I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.