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For Lucy Campion, a seventeenth-century English chambermaid serving in the household of the local magistrate, life is an endless repetition of polishing pewter, emptying chamber pots, and dealing with other household chores until a fellow servant is ruthlessly killed, and someone close to Lucy falls under suspicion. Lucy can’t believe it, but in a time where the accused are presumed guilty until proven innocent, lawyers aren’t permitted to defend their clients, and—if the plague doesn't kill the suspect ...
For Lucy Campion, a seventeenth-century English chambermaid serving in the household of the local magistrate, life is an endless repetition of polishing pewter, emptying chamber pots, and dealing with other household chores until a fellow servant is ruthlessly killed, and someone close to Lucy falls under suspicion. Lucy can’t believe it, but in a time where the accused are presumed guilty until proven innocent, lawyers aren’t permitted to defend their clients, and—if the plague doesn't kill the suspect first—public executions draw a large crowd of spectators, Lucy knows she may never find out what really happened. Unless, that is, she can uncover the truth herself.
Determined to do just that, Lucy finds herself venturing out of her expected station and into raucous printers’ shops, secretive gypsy camps, the foul streets of London, and even the bowels of Newgate prison on a trail that might lead her straight into the arms of the killer.
In her debut novel Murder at Rosamund's Gate, Susanna Calkins seamlessly blends historical detail, romance, and mystery in a moving and highly entertaining tale.
“Calkins makes Lucy’s efforts to find the real killer entirely plausible, leading to a nail-biter climax with London in flames. This history-mystery delivers a strong heroine making her way through the social labyrinth of Restoration London.”—Booklist
“Set in 1665, Calkins’s debut brings London on the eve of the Great Plague to vivid life…the high-quality writing augurs well for future outings.”—Publishers Weekly
“Calkin’s debut mystery places her unusual detective in a world rich in carefully researched historical detail.”—Kirkus Reviews
Excerpted from A Murder at Rosamund's Gate by Susanna Calkins Copyright © 2013 by Susanna Calkins. Excerpted by permission.
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Posted April 23, 2013
I absolutely loved this wonderful debut novel! The history was spot on and the mystery was even better. Calkins is a superb storyteller and she left me guessing until the very end. Suffice it to say, I can't wait to find out what Lucy Campion does next!
On a different note, I was particularly impressed with the care that Dr. Calkins took with her research. At first, I had expected the stereotypical "upstairs-downstairs" relationship between Lucy and the Hargraves. But, this was a very different time period and a very different setting (house, not mansion; different class of people), and as the reader will see, the relationships differ from the stereotype. I found it refreshing and, after some research of my own, I found it to be completely appropriate.
I also appreciated the "historic note" at the end and the authors choice to modernize the language of the time. Strictly historic language would've made the dialogue nearly unreadable!
Five stars. Bring on book two!
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Posted May 17, 2013
A Murder at Rosamund’s Gate is a historical mystery set in 17th century London. Lucy Campion is a chambermaid who works for the Hargraves family. When one of her fellow maidservants turns up murdered like two other women before, and her brother is falsely accused, Lucy quietly begins to unravel the facts.
I don’t read a lot of mystery novels, but I thoroughly enjoyed this one. The Restoration period of England gave the book an interesting backdrop, as did the details of the deadly plague, which struck the country’s population during that same period, followed by the great London fire of 1666. There were plenty of unpredictable twists, capricious and compelling characters, and a tense but satisfying ending! So, there was plenty of historical details and horrors to keep me reading to the end. This whodunit kept me guessing to the very end as to which one of the characters was the notorious serial killer. Flowing prose, good pacing, and a humdinger of a good plot makes this cozy mystery one to add to your shelves.
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Posted June 13, 2013
What a great start. I can hardly wait to read more of the adventures of Lucy Campion. Success to Susanna Calkins.
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Posted May 9, 2013
Posted September 3, 2013
Title: A Murder At Rosamond's Gate (Lucy Campion Mystery Book 1)
Author: Susanna Calkins
Published Kindle Edition: 4-23-2013
Publisher: Minataur Books
Set in the era of strict class distinctions of 1665, London, A Murder at Rosamond's Gate finds eighteen year old Lucy Compion contracted by the local magistrate John Hargraves as a chambermaid. Early one morning the local constabulary arrives at the Hargraves' estate to speak with the magistrate. Lucy and her best Bessie, Mistress Hargraves' ladies maid, whisper among themselves over the handsome constable and what might have brought him to the manor so early in the morning.
As the day progresses Bessie and Lucy learn that the body of a young woman was found in a field not far from their employers home. Bessie tells Lucy she knew the woman and she was not a woman of loose morals as the police state. All the police know is that the woman was found in her undergarments and was last known to be on her way to meet someone who had sent her a note to come to the field late at night. Because of the remote location her body was not found for many days. Lucy meets Avery, a vagrant war vetran, who is a might touched with madness, that gives her first clue that the woman's clothing was removed not by the killer, but rather 3 supposed witches took the clothes off the dead body.
Lucy and Bessie meet up with Lucy's brother Will, and spend the day with him, Bessie is interested in Will, but it appears will is not ready to become serious with anyone until he finishes his apprenticeship and see his family settled. Lucy notices that Bessie has been acting strangely over the last few weeks and tries to get her to talk to her, but to no avail.
On the evening of the Easter weekend ball at the neighboring Embry home both servants and masters celebrate, although at different parties. After all the help need to know their place and not think themselves equal to their betters. Something Lucy might do well to remember when she dreams about master's son, the magistrate in training. Lucy catches the eye of Richard, the most handsome man at the servants dance and when she leaves to return to the Hargraves estate due to drinking a bit to much ale she comes upon Judith Embry and Adam Hargraves in what she believes is a lover's rendezvous and goes home the long way. Richard follows her and pulls her into the stables and attempts to attack her, but is he is pulled off her by Adam.
The following evening she meets the house guest, Master Del Gado, for the first time who leaves her feeling distressed. The artist is there to do a portrait of Mistress Hargraves and Lucy comes upon his sketches and finds that they are mostly of women in various stages of undress including pictures of Mistress Hargraves and of Bessie.
Shortly after Bessie leaves taking nearly all her possession including a few items of Lucy's as well as Mistress Hargraves' silver spoons. After Bessie disappears and is later found dead at Rosamond Gate, Lucy is devastated and vows to find her killer when the local constabulary puts it down to another strumpet, and a theif at that, and lets it go. Superstitions run rampant when Bessie eyes open when they move the body and seems to look directly at young Master Adam Hargraves.
The suspects are many Will, Lucy brother who was seen out and about with Bessie, the artist who drew revealing pictures of her, Richard, the lout who attacked Lucy, Adam Hargraves who arrived home the morning after Bessie disappeared bloodied and bruised or perhaps an unknown transient. How do the recent murders tie into the one eerily similar from 20 years before? Lucy must use caution as she tries to find the killer or she could be next and what does Adam feel for Lucy, is there a for them future in it?
Read Susanna Calkits first novel in the Lucy Campion series and follow the leads to see who done it in this delightful historical cozy. You will be kept guessing to the very end. From one who does not read historicals on the norm I found it quick paced and with a very good plot line.
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Posted June 1, 2014
Posted April 27, 2014
This book was set in 17th century London. A chambermaid who worked for the Hargraves has a fellow maid who is murdered and Lucy's brother was accused and she starts to investigate the facts.
A well written and researched story with developed characters and historical facts. I could not put it down until the end. It keeps you guessing as to the ending.
***This book was given free by the publisher in return for an honest review***
Posted October 27, 2013
Lucy Campion is an English chambermaid who works in the local magistrate's house during the seventeenth-century. Lucy has a spark in her and she loves to learn, so much so that she listens in when her master debates politics and the law. She also speaks up during her masters sermons at home. When her good friend and fellow chambermaid, Bessie, is found brutally murdered and left in a field, Lucy's brother is blamed. Lucy decides to play amateur sleuth and try and solve the mystery by finding the true killer so she can exonerate her brother.
A Murder at Rosamund's Gate just sucked me right in from page one. I liked Lucy right away and I felt like I was alongside her as she tried to gather clues to figure out who killed Bessie. She has gusto and is smart, finding ways to learn whenever she could.
Author Calkins sets the mood just right, she takes the reader to 17th century London with her rich writing and vivid details. You get a peek into a Newgate prison with all its horrors and into a seventeenth-century English courtroom. Both the prison and courtroom were pretty scary, especially for those who knew if they didn't do well in court, off to the prison or to the noose they went. In the midst of the storyline, the Plague is spreading and everyone is in danger.
There were a few twists and turns towards the end that kept me guessing. I didn't guess who the killer was and I was surprised when that was revealed, but it did all make sense and the author wrapped the story up nicely.
Calkins makes a note at the end of the book that she took some liberties with historical details and facts. I didn't mind this, I found A Murder at Rosamund's Gate to be a fun little historical mystery. This one was a quick and easy read, and like I said, it kept me guessing until the end. There's also a budding romance between Lucy and her master's son, Adam. I was curious to see what would happen with these two.
This was historical with a bit of romance, plenty of mystery and some suspense. What more could you want?
Book 2 in the Lucy Campion Mysteries called From the Charred Remains is due out in April 2014. I have to grab a copy of that one, I am curious to see what adventure Lucy finds herself on next.
This review is my honest opinion. I did not receive any type of compensation for reading and reviewing this book. While I receive free books from publishers and authors, such as this one, I am under no obligation to write a positive review.
The author sent me a free copy of A Murder at Rosamund's Gate in exchange for a possible review.
Posted September 6, 2013
Posted August 27, 2013
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Posted September 15, 2013
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Posted March 20, 2014
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