A Soupcon of Poison by Jennifer AshleyA Soupcon of Poison by Jennifer Ashley
Series: Kat Holloway #.5
on December 15, 2015
Genres: Historical Mystery
Pages: 79
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon

Note: This work also appears in the anthology, Murder Most Historical. 

London, 1880

Kat Holloway, highly sought-after young cook to the wealthy of London, finds herself embroiled in murder when she’s accused of poisoning her employer, the loathsome Sir Lionel Leigh-Bradbury. Her only help as she works to clear her name comes from the mysterious Daniel McAdam, a handsome man-of-all-work who seems to know everyone and always happens to be in the right place at the right time. Kat and Daniel investigate the crime, but the mystery of Daniel’s background might be just as elusive and dangerous as the poisoner bent on framing Kat for murder.

I saw a new Jennifer Ashley book coming up and I about flipped out. It’s Historical Mystery but with romance, I think. So I ran over to Kobo and bought the prequel, this novella, A Soupcon of Poison.

We need more Historical Mysteries with Romance in the world!

Kat Holloway is a cook, and she’s just taken a new position. It’s set in the 1880s, and Victoria is queen. With dukes and the Regency era being so popular, I was curious why she picked the Victorian era. Ms. Ashley has mentioned before that she loves the new inventions of the Victorian age, and how it’s historical, but also can feel very modern. I emailed her a quick couple of questions, and I think I’ll just share her words.

Q: Why the 1880s?

A: Set in the 1880s. I picked the Victoria era simply because I like it. Much of what Kat does and what she cooks is very modern, but at the same time vintage, if that makes sense. It’s an era rich with history, and all the changes of the 20th century more or less started then.

Q: This has a romantic vibe, but it’s not a romance. Will there be a romance in the series?

A: Yes, the romance will develop throughout the series. I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say you’ll see a lot of Daniel (and his son, James) throughout the series.

Q: How would you classify this series?

A: It is historical mystery. It will be shelved in the mystery section of bookstores. I call it a hist myst with romantic elements.

Now that you guys have a feel for it, let me tell you that I really enjoyed having a bit of a different type of Historical. The cook, rather than the duchess is the heroine here. And like the in show Murder, She Wrote, Kate seems to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Between her practical sensibility and her curious nature, Kat makes an excellent heroine for this mystery.

When her new master is found dead with one of her knives stuck in his back, well, things don’t look good for Kat. But with the help of her friend, and possible love interest, Daniel, Kat is able to figure out who really killed him, and why. But don’t worry! She doesn’t neglect her kitchen duties, and it’s really fabulous reading about the foods. Several times I wanted to eat what she’d made! The rich and savoury dishes were described in such vivid and lush detail that once or twice my mouth watered!

I enjoyed this novella, and I definitely recommend it.  Full of vivid descriptions, and intriguing characters, this is one series I’m definitely looking forward to reading.