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A Most Agreeable Murder

This debut novel by Julia Seales is a comedy-filled romp!

A wealthy bachelor drops dead at a ball, and feisty, true crime-obsessed Beatrice Steele does a most unladylike thing--she teams up with a visiting detective to investigate!

This historical mystery/parody is described as a mash-up of Jane Austen and Agatha Christie. Its irreverent humor (from the ridiculous to the snarky), witty dialogue, romance, scandal, secrets, and a dash of the paranormal are all wrapped up in a memorable setting for a fun and funny whodunnit.

I loved Beatrice. She does not fit the mold of propriety and has been more interested in crime and investigation than her needlework. In fact, she does not excel at any of the womanly arts she is expected to be proficient in, and I can relate! Her father is a hapless prankster, her mother is scheming to make good marriages for her daughters to save the family from financial ruin, and her youngest sister might be a werewolf, which has somehow escaped everyone's notice! Beatrice is strong, spirited, and curious and headlines a large cast of charmingly wacky characters. I particularly enjoyed the dynamic between her and the clever visiting detective Vivek Drake. The mystery is very twisty and well-plotted. If you're in the mood for something lighthearted but different (in a good way), this quirky mystery may be for you! I enjoyed it and thought it was a solid and entertaining debut, and I hope this becomes a series!

Thank you to NetGalley and Random House for the opportunity to review this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

My steep was Blue Flower Earl Grey No. 15 by Tea Chai Te. An Indian tea blend from Ceylon and Nilgiri with bergamot and mallow flowers.


Feisty, passionate Beatrice Steele has never fit the definition of a true lady, according to the strict code of conduct that reigns in Swampshire, her small English township—she is terrible at needlework, has absolutely no musical ability, and her artwork is so bad it frightens people. Nevertheless, she lives a perfectly agreeable life with her marriage-scheming mother, prankster father, and two younger sisters— beautiful Louisa and forgettable Mary. But she harbors a dark secret: She is obsessed with the true crime cases she reads about in the newspaper. If anyone in her etiquette-obsessed community found out, she’d be deemed a morbid creep and banished from respectable society forever.

For her family’s sake, she’s vowed to put her obsession behind her. Because eligible bachelor Edmund Croaksworth is set to attend the approaching autumnal ball, and the Steele family hopes that Louisa will steal his heart. If not, Martin Grub, their disgusting cousin, will inherit the family’s estate, and they will be ruined or, even worse, forced to move to France. So Beatrice must be on her best behavior . . . which is made difficult when a disgraced yet alluring detective inexplicably shows up to the ball.

Beatrice is just holding things together when Croaksworth drops dead in the middle of a minuet. As a storm rages outside, the evening descends into a frenzy of panic, fear, and betrayal as it becomes clear they are trapped with a killer. Contending with competitive card games, tricky tonics, and Swampshire’s infamous squelch holes, Beatrice must rise above decorum and decency to pursue justice and her own desires—before anyone else is murdered.

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