Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman is another ARC review. This is a historical mystery with a lot of Downton Abbey vibes. I love that this book was told from multiple perspectives in both narration and class. Clementine Montfort, the lady, and Edith Jackson, the head housekeeper, have such distinct voices it was easy to bounce between them. Arlen’s style of writing was dense but not overly flowery. The tone that she set really helped solidify the setting and her massive vocabulary was refreshing. She used the word vixen to talk about an actual fox, it was marvelous.
The mystery here settles around Lady Montfort’s murdered nephew, Teddy Mallory. By all accounts, Teddy was a scoundrel so naturally there are plenty of suspects. Thankfully the author included two other mysteries to go along with the main plot-a maid and a young lady, apparently unconnected went missing. With the cunning of Mrs. Jackson, and the determination of Lady Montfort, the mystery plays out in a very entertaining way. I did enjoy the resolution of this mystery much more than Dubiosity.
The historical timeline entwined with this book was very informative and relative. I enjoyed the history lesson and the multiple opinions that were explored. I also loved the dedication of the character to morality and manners. There was just something very noble about characters that actually cared about honor, loyalty, and respect.
Lady Montfort was handled well. The slow unraveling of her character’s developed help hold interest when the narrative became too dense. I enjoyed her wit, not over whelming but present, and her tenacious demeanor. The way she interacted with her husband and son really highlighted her intelligence. Her confrontations with Mr. Barclay and Gertrude were fantastic.
My favorite character was Mrs. Jackson. She was proper and intelligent. She did the legwork of this investigation which turned up many interesting tid bits. I can just picture her put in some sort of put in some sort of life or death circumstances and still managing to keep her principles while making it out in one piece. One of my favorite pieces of her depth was her fascination with the talented gardener she kept at a distance and lack of mention to Mr. Jackson. This mystery about her really balanced out her sometimes severe personality.
Arlen was able to add depth to the story with the other character’s backstories, though not all were developed and I admit to having a small problem keeping all the young bachelors straight at times. While some supporting character’s were developed well like Gertrude, others were not. Lord Haversham, while explored moderately, was not nearly as developed as I hoped.
There were some issues I want to address. The narrative was too rich for my tastes, it made the plot drag a bit even if it was skillfully done. The author showed wonderful bouts of dialogue that were beautiful and pieced together well but that did not permeate the entire book. The side story with Barclay and Mallory was not quite believable, nor did it seem to serve a purpose to the story other than making it politically correct. The chapters told from Lord Montfort’s perspective lacked the distinct voice that the chapters from Lady Montfort’s perspective and Mrs. Jackson’s perspective had.
Overall this was a good read and I would recommend it for fans of Downton Abbey, there were many similarities to this book and that show. A very strong four out of five footmen.