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Compulsive writer, fascinated by the layering of history and the puzzles of traditional mysteries, eco-worrier, gardener, knitter and weaver, and when forced, university teacher.
on June 07, 2013 :
An ill woman is found outside the walls of the manse in Lexie Conyngham’s AN ABANDONED WOMAN. It is later discovered that the cause of her death was bleeding out from a stab wound. Who is the lady? Where did she come from? When later a cook’s assistant is missing from the Fairlie home, can there be a serial killer in Letho? One of the maids in Charles Murray’s employ has been assaulted while walking home one evening. Was it the killer?
Lexie Conyngham has captured the period of the early 1800’s very well. Her characters are true to the period in actions, thoughts, words, and deeds. I can say that she could have written in during that time period because her style is similar to Jane Austen’s style. I liked how she gave us a list of characters at the beginning so if I forgot who someone was I could check the list and remind myself. AN ABANDONED WOMAN can be read as a standalone novel but it is the fourth book in her MURRAY OF LETHO series.
AN ABANDONED WOMAN is a good mystery. There is romance but much of it is bittersweet. A good picture of life in the pre-Regency years is given here. People help one another but there is a definite class system which only when troubles come do they look beyond that system and work together. I did not figure out who the murderer was. I picked several characters out but I was wrong about them all. When it is all solved I was surprised and why the woman was murdered was shocking. I did like that no excuses were made for the murderer, that justice was to be served. There was a rigid moral code that was followed.
I want to read the first three books in the series and look forward to any more to come. Beautifully done.
(reviewed long after purchase)
on May 21, 2013 :
Not my Cup of tea. The mystery/murder was almost tertiary to the novel. It was more like looking into the gossiping interaction of turn of the century Scotland that just happen to have a murder happen. the who done it was irreleavent and the author made it very anticlimatic when you finally get the answer.
(reviewed long after purchase)
on May 17, 2013 :
Great book, really enjoyed it.
It's a bit of a cross between a murder case, a historical novel and a touch of Austen/Brontë thrown in. In the novel Murray of Letho tries to solve the murder of a young, unidentified woman. We follow his search for the murderer, but also get a glimpse of the life in the village of Letho, as well as the duties Murray has as a landowner. Aside from that, we get to know the villagers and Murray's friends, and his servants. Another aspect of the story is the life of the gentry and the attempts of the youngsters (and their parents) to find suitable husbands and wives.
A nice read; sometimes the pace gets a bit slow, but I really liked the combination of the murder case with the descriptions of 'regular' village life, as well as the combination with intrigues amongst the more wealthy inhabitants of Letho.
Well written and with an interesting conclusion.
I only found out after having finished the book that it is in fact the fourth book about Murray. The book is very suitable for reading as a stand-alone, but there are some references to Murray's past that I thought were somewhat vague, and I think those might be clearer if you've read the other stories.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)
on April 27, 2013 :
This is the first book I have read in the Murray of Letho series. I thoroughly enjoyed it and look forward to reading the earlier books. Set in Fife in the Regency period at the the time of the Napoleonic wars, the author conveys a good sense of the closeness and complexity of village life at this time in history.
At the start of the book, an unknown women is found dead, stabbed to death. The attempts of Murray and his father's old friend, Blair to solve the mystery of who she was and who killed her are carefully threaded through other storylines, resulting in a surprise denouement.
I was curious to know more of Murray who is not fully fleshed out in this book, but that may be because this is now the fourth book in the series and the focus is not so much on him but the characters in his household and village. No doubt reading the earlier books in the series will fill in those gaps. The book was well written and engrossing and I enjoyed the author's grasp of the historical details of life in Scotland in the early 19th century.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)