The Mitford Murders (Mitford Murders #1)
It's 1919, and Louisa Cannon dreams of escaping her life of poverty in London, and most of all her oppressive and dangerous uncle.Louisa's salvation is a position within the Mitford household at Asthall Manor, in the Oxfordshire countryside. There she will become nurserymaid, chaperone and confidante to the Mitford sisters, especially sixteen-year-old Nancy - an acerbic, bright young woman in love with stories.But then a nurse - Florence Nightingale Shore, goddaughter of her famous namesake - is killed on a train in broad daylight, and Louisa and Nancy find themselves entangled in the crimes of a murderer who will do anything to hide their secret . . .

The Mitford Murders (Mitford Murders #1) Details

TitleThe Mitford Murders (Mitford Murders #1)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseSep 14th, 2017
PublisherSphere
ISBN-139780751567151
Rating
GenreMystery, Historical, Historical Fiction, Historical Mystery, Crime

The Mitford Murders (Mitford Murders #1) Review

  • Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*
    January 1, 1970
    EXCERPT: 'As she moved along, stately but sure, like the Lusitania departing from Liverpool, she thought she recognized a figure out of the corner of her eye. It gave Florence a start. Did he know she would be at Victoria? The man was slight, angular and frayed at the edges - a wooden life raft to her ocean liner. His back was half turned away and his hat was pulled down low so that she couldn't be sure if he had seen her. Florence picked up the pace, her heart quickening. She spotted her Porter EXCERPT: 'As she moved along, stately but sure, like the Lusitania departing from Liverpool, she thought she recognized a figure out of the corner of her eye. It gave Florence a start. Did he know she would be at Victoria? The man was slight, angular and frayed at the edges - a wooden life raft to her ocean liner. His back was half turned away and his hat was pulled down low so that she couldn't be sure if he had seen her. Florence picked up the pace, her heart quickening. She spotted her Porter up ahead, waiting patiently by her bags, and she calmed herself. She had only to get on the train; in less than twenty minutes she'd be on her way. ....It was not long before the guard blew his final whistle. The train moved off, slowly at first, then gathered momentum steadily until, by the time it reached the first tunnel, it was rolling down the line at full speed. That was the last time anyone saw Florence Nightingale Shore alive. ..'THE BLURB: It's 1919, and Louisa Cannon dreams of escaping her life of poverty in London, and most of all her oppressive and dangerous uncle.Louisa's salvation is a position within the Mitford household at Asthall Manor, in the Oxfordshire countryside. There she will become nurserymaid, chaperone and confidante to the Mitford sisters, especially sixteen-year-old Nancy - an acerbic, bright young woman in love with stories.But then a nurse - Florence Nightingale Shore, goddaughter of her famous namesake - is killed on a train in broad daylight, and Louisa and Nancy find themselves entangled in the crimes of a murderer who will do anything to hide their secret . . . 'MY VIEWS: I didn't realize, when I began The Mitford Murders by Jessica Fellowes, that it is based on a real murder. It was not until I reached the end of the book and read the author's historical note, that I discovered Florence Nightingale Shore actually existed, that she was god-daughter of the famous woman herself, and that she was indeed attacked on the Brighton line Monday 12 January, 1920 and died a few days later of her injuries. Nobody was ever found guilty of her murder. The Mitford Murders is a captivating blend of fact and fiction. Newspaper reports of the interviews conducted with the witnesses at the Inquest have been used to recreate the events. People, including Florence's friend Mabel, the Mitford family and their servants, also have their roots in reality, although some things have been changed for the benefit of the novel. Fellowes has captured the atmosphere of the early 1920s splendidly. The war is over, but nothing has quite returned to normal. There is a shortage of men; many physically and psychologically wounded soldiers have returned home to nothing, wondering what it was all for. Life is nothing like we know it. The British class system is still very evident. Poverty is a way of life for the lower classes where survival is all, violence and intimidation a way of life . But then again, perhaps nothing has really changed after all, only fashion and technology. The Mitford Murders is a captivating read. Fellowes, perhaps best known for her Downtown Abbey books, is very good at what she does. This is, apparently, the first book of a new series,one I am looking forward to reading. Thank you to Hachette Australia via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of The Mitford Murders by Jessica Fellowes for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page for an explanation of my ratings. This review and others can also be viewed at sandysbookaday.wordpress.com
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  • Brenda
    January 1, 1970
    Louisa Cannon lived with her mother, both quietly working for others as a seamstress and washerwoman. Things had been hard since her father died, but it had become much worse when her uncle arrived. Louisa was frightened of him, and her mother was too cowed to speak up. So Louisa kept out of his way while she dreamed of escape. One thing led to another and suddenly Louisa had the opportunity to work in Asthall Manor with the Mitford family – she would be a governess of sorts to the six children Louisa Cannon lived with her mother, both quietly working for others as a seamstress and washerwoman. Things had been hard since her father died, but it had become much worse when her uncle arrived. Louisa was frightened of him, and her mother was too cowed to speak up. So Louisa kept out of his way while she dreamed of escape. One thing led to another and suddenly Louisa had the opportunity to work in Asthall Manor with the Mitford family – she would be a governess of sorts to the six children of the household, assisting the elderly Nanny Blor.Florence Nightingale Shore, goddaughter of the great lady, Florence Nightingale had resigned her commission as a nurse at Ypres and was travelling on the train from London when she was murdered. The police could find no evidence but young, aspiring Guy Sullivan of the Brighton and South Coast Railway Police was determined to find the truth. He had also taken a liking to Louisa when he’d assisted her in her travels to Asthall Manor. Meanwhile Louisa and Nancy, eldest daughter of the Mitford children, had their suspicions regarding Florence Shore’s death and decided to search for the killer themselves.The excitable Nancy had no sense of danger, but Louisa did – and her fear at what could happen had her on edge continually. But Guy had a dogged determination, even without his superior’s approval. What would be the outcome? Would the killer be found without any further bloodshed?The Mitford Murders by Jessica Fellowes is based on the real-life story of Florence Nightingale Shore and her death in 1920 plus the Mitford family who were also a real family. The story around the events are fictional and the Historical Note at the end of the book is of great interest. I thoroughly enjoyed this historical mystery, which is my first by this author – it actually reminded me a little of Agatha Christie’s work. I certainly didn’t pick the murderer (even though I was sure I had!) Highly recommended.With thanks to Hachette Australia for my copy to read and review.
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  • Melanie
    January 1, 1970
    The Mitford sisters have fascinated me for more than a decade, I read biographies, autobiographies, their letters, Nancy Mitford's novels etc. I don't think I am an expert, but I am familiar, so I think the main reason I found this book hard to deal with was the fact that I simply could not see any point in bringing the Mitfords into this otherwise fine murder mystery. The setting is 1919/1920 and a young girl from London tries to escape from her evil uncle and is glad to get a job as nursery ma The Mitford sisters have fascinated me for more than a decade, I read biographies, autobiographies, their letters, Nancy Mitford's novels etc. I don't think I am an expert, but I am familiar, so I think the main reason I found this book hard to deal with was the fact that I simply could not see any point in bringing the Mitfords into this otherwise fine murder mystery. The setting is 1919/1920 and a young girl from London tries to escape from her evil uncle and is glad to get a job as nursery maid with the Mitfords, on the same day she heads to the interview after jumping off a train to escape said uncle a retired nurse (the niece of that Florence Nightingale) was murdered on a train to the south coast. This is something that actually happened. The rest is mere speculation. There is various strands to this story, many people (not helped by the Mitfords themselves and their number of children) and it just felt that it should have been several novels rather than just the one. There is no doubt that Jessica Fellowes can write, the mystery itself was brilliant and if the Mitford bit was eliminated, I would have loved it. The Mitfords simply failed to add their normal glamour to this story.
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  • MetLineReader
    January 1, 1970
    I absolutely loved this book. Jessica Fellowes evokes the 1920s very well and you are transported into the lives of The Mitfords. From humble beginnings in London, the nascent transport police on the Brighton line and service at The Mitfords, there are many strands to this tale.I must confesss that I found the initial chapters confusing but persisted and am very glad I did. I loved Louisa and the policemen which brought a more human angle to the book. Very enjoyable and a bit different - althoug I absolutely loved this book. Jessica Fellowes evokes the 1920s very well and you are transported into the lives of The Mitfords. From humble beginnings in London, the nascent transport police on the Brighton line and service at The Mitfords, there are many strands to this tale.I must confesss that I found the initial chapters confusing but persisted and am very glad I did. I loved Louisa and the policemen which brought a more human angle to the book. Very enjoyable and a bit different - although, given the author's pedigree, it has echoes of Downton Abbey. It didn't really need the Mitfords but it does lend the book a thread that no doubt will be followed throughout the series.I look forward to the next book in the series.
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  • Deborah
    January 1, 1970
    Read the full review on my site: https://www.debbish.com/books-literat...3.5 starsSomething I hadn’t appreciated until I actually reached the end of this book, was that it’s a form of ‘faction’…. facts mixed with fiction. Or fictionalised facts. Or something.I usually avoid historical fiction like the proverbial black plague… However this is apparently the first in this new series – I’d jump on board the early, and see where the books take me. Louisa Cannon is not your typical crime-solving hero Read the full review on my site: https://www.debbish.com/books-literat...3.5 starsSomething I hadn’t appreciated until I actually reached the end of this book, was that it’s a form of ‘faction’…. facts mixed with fiction. Or fictionalised facts. Or something.I usually avoid historical fiction like the proverbial black plague… However this is apparently the first in this new series – I’d jump on board the early, and see where the books take me. Louisa Cannon is not your typical crime-solving heroine. Indeed, when we meet her, she’s spending her time helping out her washer-woman mother and being forced (by her uncle) to partake in the occasional pickpocketing spree. Uncle Stephen is an unsavoury type and her mother offers little assistance or intervention, so Louisa falls into the nursery maid gig at the Mitfords just in the nick of time.A couple of coincidences result in her interest in the murder of Florence Nightingale Shore (who I later discovered was: a real person; the god-daughter of THE Florence Nightgale; and REALLY killed on Monday 12 January 1920). Louise’s interest in the case is encouraged (or rather forced upon her) by Nancy Mitford who’s just 16yrs old when this book opens.I did initially think it may be Nancy who takes the lead on the murder investigation as she’s got some spunk, is savvy and naturally inquisitive. Louisa (who’s 18 when we first meet her) comes across as less ambitious, not particularly enigmatic and a ‘behind-the-scenes’ type. Of course I realise that’s more about her ‘class’ and her position than her natural personality and we see her develop a little throughout the book.Louisa meets railway police officer Guy Sullivan early in the novel. He’s ambitious and yearns to join the ‘real’ police so, when Florence Nightingale Shore’s case goes cold, Guy continues investigating the murder himself. With occasional assistance (and encouragement) from Louisa and Nancy.It wasn’t until I’d finished this book that I also discovered that the Mitford family, indeed… the Mitford girls were quite famous. Or notorious.I enjoyed this book though it didn’t feel like it quite hit the mark. It’s well written and researched, touching on a lot of issues of the time – just after WWI – including the impact of war on those fighting and those left behind, the position of women (their lack of formal schooling), the class system as well as families and relationships. Interestingly Guy’s character was well developed, and though I liked Nancy and Louisa, they didn’t feel as consistent as they could have been. On one hand Nancy has some sass and ignores societal norms, but on the other she acts a bit like a spoiled brat and pulls rank on Louisa every so often.
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  • Svetlana Tishchenko
    January 1, 1970
    Take a real family and a true crime and make it into…A cold case – murder of Florence Nightingale’s goddaughter – Florence Nightingale Shore – as told through the eyes of the contemporaries.Young people – Railway Policeman, nursery maid, eldest daughter of aristocratic family – decide to solve this murder and it looks like, at all costs.There is love, betrayal, stolen identity, unfair dismissals, uncovered secrets and escaping evil. The Mitford Murders is a very slow but interesting read. It evo Take a real family and a true crime and make it into…A cold case – murder of Florence Nightingale’s goddaughter – Florence Nightingale Shore – as told through the eyes of the contemporaries.Young people – Railway Policeman, nursery maid, eldest daughter of aristocratic family – decide to solve this murder and it looks like, at all costs.There is love, betrayal, stolen identity, unfair dismissals, uncovered secrets and escaping evil. The Mitford Murders is a very slow but interesting read. It evolves and develops very slowly. I guess, you can drink numerous cups of tea and eat tens of scones while you get to the gist of it.A reader is not shocked with the murder. The murder takes it’s sweet time to take place. Then, it is all very slow and careful from then onward.The narrative is just like old steam trains (there are a lot of them in the book) picks up speed and suspense very slowly and carefully. However, the plot does get interesting about three quarters through the book. And knowing that the actual real-life murder is still unsolved, makes reader’s suspense even more tangible and tasty.All in all, I found this book a bit too slow for me.Read it if you like Europe of mid-twenties and want to get immersed in the post-war goings on. Author does take a few liberties with history and chronology of some events (Agatha Christie’s books, for instance), but overall the feel of Londong and surrounds seems to be very authentic and very Miss Marple and Downton Abbey.
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  • Latkins
    January 1, 1970
    This is an entertaining mystery set in the 1920s, which manages to blend the real family of the Mitfords with a real unsolved murder case - that of Florence Nightingale Shore, goddaughter of the Lady with the Lamp, who was murdered on a train - in a fictional story. The heroine, 18-year-old Louisa, comes from a working class background, and, following the death of her father, her mother makes ends meet as a washerwoman. Narrowly avoiding being forced into prostitution by her unscrupulous uncle S This is an entertaining mystery set in the 1920s, which manages to blend the real family of the Mitfords with a real unsolved murder case - that of Florence Nightingale Shore, goddaughter of the Lady with the Lamp, who was murdered on a train - in a fictional story. The heroine, 18-year-old Louisa, comes from a working class background, and, following the death of her father, her mother makes ends meet as a washerwoman. Narrowly avoiding being forced into prostitution by her unscrupulous uncle Stephen, and with the help of a friendly aspiring policeman Guy, Louisa takes a job at the Mitfords' house as a nursery maid to the five, soon to be six, daughters and one son. She soon becomes friends of a sort to the oldest daughter, 16-year-old Nancy, who is obsessed with the Florence Nightingale Shore case. Can they help solve the murder? If you like 'golden age' crime novels, you will love this. It has everything that the genre is known for, and it promises to be the first in a new series, so I'm sure that Louisa, Nancy and Guy will start sleuthing again before too long. And it's written, of course, by Julian 'Downton Abbey' Fellowes's niece. My only criticism is that it was a bit overlong, but that's a minor quibble.
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  • Louise Marley
    January 1, 1970
    I've always been fascinated by the Mitford sisters, so I was really looking forward to reading this. And I did like it a lot, but it wasn't quite what I was expecting. I had thought it would be an Agatha Christie style cosy mystery, with the Mitfords as the detectives (or friends of the detectives). Instead, The Mitford Murders is more historical drama with the murder mystery as a sub-plot. And, as it is set from 1919-1921, the Mitford sisters are quite young children, with only the eldest, Nanc I've always been fascinated by the Mitford sisters, so I was really looking forward to reading this. And I did like it a lot, but it wasn't quite what I was expecting. I had thought it would be an Agatha Christie style cosy mystery, with the Mitfords as the detectives (or friends of the detectives). Instead, The Mitford Murders is more historical drama with the murder mystery as a sub-plot. And, as it is set from 1919-1921, the Mitford sisters are quite young children, with only the eldest, Nancy, featuring in the story.In addition to the Mitfords, the plot features the real-life unsolved murder of Florence Nightingale Shore - goddaughter to the famous nurse. The story starts with her walking to her death, then skips back in time to introduce Louisa Cannon, a young woman desperate to escape her life of poverty in the East End of London and an abusive uncle, by applying for the job of nursery maid to the Mitfords. By coincidence, Louisa ends up travelling on the same train as Florence, although she doesn't realise it at the time. When Nancy discovers this, plus the other connections Florence has to the Mitford family, she is determined to investigate the murder and solve the crime.I really enjoyed this book. I particularly liked the insider information on the Mitfords and the glimpse into their lives, and I loved Nancy! So this would definitely appeal to anyone who loves historical novels or Sunday evening period dramas such as Downton Abbey. However, I do feel that readers expecting a 'golden age' cosy crime in the style of Agatha Christie, would find there is too much day-to-day detail about the Mitfords and not enough murder mystery.Thank you to Jessica Fellowes, Sphere, and Netgalley for my copy of this book, which I received in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Katrina Oliver
    January 1, 1970
    Fab read. A murder/mystery tied in with the fascinating Mitford family. Loved this book, kept me gripped and reading on to find out whodunnit! Loved the way the author set the story within the house of the Mitfords, when the girls were all still young. The small hints of what these future women would become were very cleverly woven into the story. Very Agatha Christiesque story, a retired nurse is killed in a train carriage and nobody seems to have seen a thing! A great read. Recommended!Thanks Fab read. A murder/mystery tied in with the fascinating Mitford family. Loved this book, kept me gripped and reading on to find out whodunnit! Loved the way the author set the story within the house of the Mitfords, when the girls were all still young. The small hints of what these future women would become were very cleverly woven into the story. Very Agatha Christiesque story, a retired nurse is killed in a train carriage and nobody seems to have seen a thing! A great read. Recommended!Thanks Netgalley for the review copy.
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  • Jo Co32
    January 1, 1970
    An enjoyable murder mystery set at the end of the Great War. The subtlety of mentioning Baker St and the Brighton Line brought to mind some of my favourite books - The stories of Sherlock Holmes and The Importance of Being Earnest.I quickly became absorbed in wanting to know what had led to Florence Nightingale Shore meeting her end and Jessica Fellowes wove in enough twists to keep me guessing.
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  • Tony Whipp
    January 1, 1970
    A good ready - if multigenreOn the face of it Jessica Fellowes has written an interesting whodunit. As such, I was less than totally held by it. But there is another aspect to it: she has researched her era and the book is well worth reading for its portrayal of the times, their household and policing ass it then was. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed it...
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  • Noodles78
    January 1, 1970
    I really enjoyed this. It wasn't as light and fluffy as I thought it might be, which isn't a bad thing. The storyline was really interesting, and I loved the dynamics between Nancy and Louisa. It's a very clever premise to start a book series based on a true unsolved crime.
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  • Zoe
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks Little, Brown Book Group UK and netgalley for this ARC.I can't wait to see how Fellows continues this series. It's a cozy mystery series that has so much paths it could follow. This is just plain good stuff.
  • Kirsty (overflowing library)
    January 1, 1970
    I really enjoyed the historical aspects
  • Claire Davies
    January 1, 1970
    A soft read, but had atmosphere and kept me turning the pages
  • Bethwyn (Butterfly Elephant Books)
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars. A fun read, very cute, and the mystery was quite interesting, too. there was one small inconsistency that bothered me a touch, but mostly a fun, diverting read that I enjoyed my time with.
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