Off the Charts – a lady’s guide to etiquette & murder (Dianne Freeman)

Ahoy there me mateys!  For those of ye who are new to me log, a word: though this log’s focus is on sci-fi, fantasy, and young adult, this Captain does have broader reading tastes.  Occasionally I will share some novels that I enjoyed that are off the charts (a non sci-fi, fantasy, or young adult novel), as it were.

This be a Victorian murder mystery romance series.  Not me usual fare but I needed a change of pace.  Luckily Matey Milou wrote a lovely review of book three in this series wherein she said:

This series is, for me, quite romance heavy. Especially in this book, which is set in the week of Lily’s wedding. Surprisingly though, I don’t mind it at all. Frances is a widow, and has been married for 10 years. She has a daughter. She has been through it all. So her relationship isn’t angsty whatsoever. It is based on friendship, with a lot of mutual respect and an equal partnership in every aspect. And it is just really lovely. Also, because most of their ‘alone time’ is spent discussing the case, the mystery never suffers under the romance either.

This book appealed because it was a Victorian murder mystery but I like me romances to be minor to the plot.  I loved the idea that this book had a (slightly) older widow as a main character.  I loved the idea that the romance is based in friendship and doesn’t get in the way of the plot.  I also loved that Milou had read all three and enjoyed the series thus far.  So I gave it a whirl.

I was highly entertained by this one.  Frances is a wonderful character.  I thought the set up for this book was excellent and immediately was rooting for Frances’ independence and the start of a new life.  Her dead husband was a cad.  She is intelligent and fun and it is nice to see her taking charge of her life.  Of course unusual circumstances get in the way.

The book can be silly at times but in a way that makes me smile.  How can ye not enjoy thievery, murder, suitors, and the Season?  I thought the blend of husband hunting, family shenanigans, and murder investigation was mixed really well.  This book was lighthearted and lovely and just what I needed.  I will certainly be reading more of the series.  Books two and three are out and book four is scheduled for July 2021.  I have time to catch up!  Arrr!

Goodreads has this to say about the novel (shortened by me for spoilers):

In this exciting historical mystery debut set in Victorian England, a wealthy young widow encounters the pleasures—and scandalous pitfalls—of a London social season . . .

Frances Wynn, the American-born Countess of Harleigh, enjoys more freedom as a widow than she did as a wife. After an obligatory year spent mourning her philandering husband, Reggie, she puts aside her drab black gowns, leaving the countryside and her money-grubbing in-laws behind. With her young daughter in tow, Frances rents a home in Belgravia and prepares to welcome her sister, Lily, arriving from New York—for her first London season.

No sooner has Frances begun her new life than the ghosts of her old one make an unwelcome appearance . . . A killer is in their midst . . . And Frances must unmask the villain before Lily’s season—and their lives—come to a most unseemly end . . .

To visit the author’s website go to:

Dianne Freeman – Author

To buy the novel please visit:

a lady’s guide to etiquette & murder – Book 1

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

15 thoughts on “Off the Charts – a lady’s guide to etiquette & murder (Dianne Freeman)

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