Mrs. Jeffries and the Feast of St. Stephen (Mrs. Jeffries Series #23)

( 7 )

Overview

A Yuletide dinner in West Brompton should have been a festive occasion, until the host, wealthy Stephen Whitfield, dropped dead before the second course. Now Mrs. Jeffries and the busy sleuths must rally in support of their Inspector-especially since the clues are harder to find than a silver sixpence in a plum pudding.

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Mrs. Jeffries and the Feast of St. Stephen (Mrs. Jeffries Series #23)

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Overview

A Yuletide dinner in West Brompton should have been a festive occasion, until the host, wealthy Stephen Whitfield, dropped dead before the second course. Now Mrs. Jeffries and the busy sleuths must rally in support of their Inspector-especially since the clues are harder to find than a silver sixpence in a plum pudding.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Brightwell's unobtrusive 23rd Victorian historical mystery (after Mrs. Jeffries and the Best Laid Plans) adds a dash of holiday spirit to the adventures of Insp. Gerald Witherspoon and his housekeeper, Mrs. Jeffries. At the height of the Christmas season, Witherspoon is called in when Stephen Whitfield, a member of the upper class, is poisoned by foxglove slipped into his wine. Jeffries's below-stairs crew of irregulars track down those who were present when the fatal drink was poured, collecting rumors and gossip concerning the dead man and his family and friends. They soon find that Whitfield belonged to a tontine (an investment group where the last one alive collects the dead members' contributions) whose membership has been steadily dwindling. The writing lacks the wit of other Victorian series, such as Peter Lovesey's Sergeant Cribb novels, and the characters often border on cliché, but readers looking for a light diversion will be satisfied. (Oct.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Kirkus Reviews
Sudden death at a Victorian Christmas party. Inspector Witherspoon is no fool. But who would guess that his sleuthing servants are the secret of his success? They all pitch in when Stephen Whitfield ends his dinner party by keeling over in his soup. Luckily, the doctor called from across the street is police surgeon Dr. Bosworth, who's had experience with foxglove. The poison was in a bottle of pricey wine, a gift that guests Basil and Maria Farringdon donated in return for the awful port Whitfield always doled out as Christmas presents. The fortunate guests all stuck to sherry while Whitfield guzzled the Bordeaux. Mrs. Jeffries, Witherspoon's housekeeper, duly musters her veteran troops (Mrs. Jeffries and the Best Laid Plans, 2006, etc.), who head out to question their sources and learn more about the suspects, including Whitfield's sister-in-law and a number of old friends. Their most interesting discovery is that Whitfield was one of the last three surviving members of a tontine whose last surviving member stood to inherit all the money the participants originally invested. Although it seems a likely motive for murder, the other two survivors are wealthy men, whereas Whitfield had only a life interest in his former wife's fortune. A weary Witherspoon is ready to give up when his canny servants come up trumps. A pleasant, if unexciting, whodunit with a surprise ending.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780425224274
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 10/7/2008
  • Series: Mrs. Jeffries Series , #23
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 398,658
  • Product dimensions: 4.10 (w) x 6.70 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Emily Brightwell is the author of the "Mrs. Jeffries" series of mysteries. She lives in Lake Forest, CA.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 7 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 6, 2010

    Relaxing to Read

    I enjoyed this book very much because it was interesting enough to hold my attention and interest but relaxing enough to look forward to reading before bed time. The characters are real personalities and each an individual and the plot was pleasantly intriging. I will definitely be reading the rest of the series.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2010

    Another good read in the Mrs Jeffries series

    I've read most of the series and enjoy every one of these stories. Sometimes my guess is right and sometimes I've been lead off in the wrong direction. Whichever the case may be, it is fun to try to figure it out; but I'm not certain til the end of the book. I love the characters and the plots and hope the author will write more of this series. They are so enjoyable.
    My only criticism is with the publisher, not the author. These books are really poorly proofread. It is not quite bad enough to ruin the read; but can be irritating when reading a sentence with a word missing or a wrong word in place of the intended word. Fortunately, it has never been hard to figure out how the sentence was meant to read.
    Still, I would recommend any book in the series for those who like a good old fashioned mystery.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Every Mrs. Jeffries mystery is an entertaining, well plotted police procedural

    The household of Inspector Gerald Witherspoon is usually a merry one with the servants not only liking each other but all working together to help their employer (without his knowledge) solve homicide cases. As a result of their works, he has a 100 percent solved homicide rate and is looked upon as the best detective on the Metropolitan police force. This year is very different as everyone is worried about the maid Betsy who has lost so much weight since her beloved and fellow servant in the Witherspoon household cancelled the holidays to help a friend in Australia.-------------- When he returns she barely speaks to him and on the same night of his return Witherspoon is given a homicide case after not having one for the last six months. Stephen Whitfield, a man in polite society, was hosting a dinner party when after drinking Bordeaux that one of the guests gave him as a gift keels over and dies. A doctor friend of Mrs. Jeffries was called to the scene, and he realized right away the victim was poisoned. Foxglove was found in the liquor and all the guests had access to it. Working separately, Mrs. Jeffries and Inspector Witherspoon find they haven¿t a clue who killed Whitfield because none of the people at the party had a motive.---------------- Every Mrs. Jeffries mystery is an entertaining, well plotted police procedural filled with continuing characters that feel like old and familiar friends. Emily Bright¿s Victorian whodunits are like potato chips, they are so delicious you can¿t stop with just one. Taking place in Victorian England, readers get a glimpse of bygone era as seen through the eyes of the servant class.------ Harriet Klausner

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2010

    GOOD

    LOVED IT

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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    Posted October 12, 2010

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    Posted July 25, 2011

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    Posted June 14, 2012

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    Posted February 7, 2010

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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews

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