The Daughters of Gentlemen: A Frances Doughty Mystery

Overview

The second book in the series of Victorian murder mysteries set in London, with a clever and determined female sleuth

Frances Doughty is a young sleuth on her first professional case, trying to discover who distributed dangerously feminist pamphlets to the girls of the Bayswater Academy for the Education of Young Ladies. Armed with only her wits, courage, and determination, she finds that even the most respectable denizens of Bayswater have something to hide, and what ...

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The Daughters of Gentlemen: A Frances Doughty Mystery

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Overview

The second book in the series of Victorian murder mysteries set in London, with a clever and determined female sleuth

Frances Doughty is a young sleuth on her first professional case, trying to discover who distributed dangerously feminist pamphlets to the girls of the Bayswater Academy for the Education of Young Ladies. Armed with only her wits, courage, and determination, she finds that even the most respectable denizens of Bayswater have something to hide, and what begins as a simple task soon becomes a case of murder. As election fever erupts and the formidable ladies of the Bayswater Women's Suffrage Society swing into action, Frances’ enquiries expose lies, more murders, and a long-concealed scandal—and she makes a powerful new friend.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In Stratmann’s diverting second Frances Doughty mystery (after 2012’s The Poisoned Seed), Frances takes on her first professional case as a detective. Concerned fathers engage Frances to find out who has been hiding a pamphlet entitled “Why Marry?,” anonymously penned by “A Friend to Women,” inside the students’ textbooks at the Bayswater Academy for the Education of Young Ladies. When the school’s housemaid, Matilda Springett, is found murdered, it becomes clear to Frances and Mary, her maid and friend, that the case is more serious. Vivid details and convincing period dialogue bring to life Victorian England during the early days of the women’s suffrage movement, which increasingly appeals to Frances even as she strives for acceptance from the male-dominated society of the time. Historical mystery fans will be hooked. (July)
From the Publisher
"Most readers will want to see more of Frances."  —Publishers Weekly on The Poisonous Seed
Library Journal
New PI Frances Doughty is hired to find out who slipped inflammatory feminist pamphlets into schoolgirls' desks at an upscale London academy. The school administrators want to quell any tone of impropriety about the incident since one of them is a candidate in the upcoming 1880 parliamentary election. Well, Frances is not one to squelch the truth, and she doggedly pursues her clues. Suspiciously, one of the school's maids, Matilda, disappears. The staff is ready to blame Matilda for the pamphlet incident, but when Frances finds her murdered body, she knows that much more is at stake than rhetoric. Politics, the women's suffrage movement, and confusion over family identities all whirl together to create a complex challenge for diligent Frances. VERDICT Known for her true crime writing (Chloroform: The Quest for Oblivion), Stratmann has neatly turned that expertise into a winning series; this follows her mystery debut, The Poisonous Seed. The story unfolds slowly and deliberately and aptly demonstrates the author's awareness of Victorian society's mores. Her wit will reward readers who stay with the elaborate plot.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780752464756
  • Publisher: The History Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/2013
  • Series: The Frances Doughty Mysteries Series , #2
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 813,613
  • Product dimensions: 4.90 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Linda Stratmann is the author of Chloroform: The Quest for Oblivion and The Poisonous Seed.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 2, 2012

    This novel is the second Victorian mystery by Linda Stratmann fe

    This novel is the second Victorian mystery by Linda Stratmann featuring Miss Frances Doughty, a nineteen-year-old gentlewoman with no pretensions of beauty, no family and limited means. Frances is asked to discover who and why disturbing pamphlets appeared in the desks of twelve schoolgirl. A disappointed bride? A strategy to instil scandal for a political appointee whose daughters attend the school? Or simply a malicious prank?

    At first Frances' inquiries into takes her nowhere- until someone who worked at the school is found dead in the Serpentine in Hyde Park.

    The narrative is beautifully written, in a flowing, easy style with some pithy observations. As a young, unmarried woman Frances is aware she will have to handle prejudice and bigotry, as well as employ considerable charm and persuasion to get people to reveal the more intimate and important facts she will need to solve discover the culprit.

    The plot is very complicated, with many twists turns and a blind alley or two, but the writer's style is so eloquent and polished I was glued throughout. Frances Doughty reminds me of a Victorian, and much younger Miss Marple, with her exemplary people skills and refusal to accept insults from `males who think they know better'. I loved the way she handles those who consider themselves superior, with firmness and polite insistence to get them to answer her questions - so to refuse makes them seem churlish and impolite.

    Her enquiries bring her into contact with the fledgling Women's Suffragette Movement and Frances finds she has to walk a tightrope between their militant views, the revelation that they might well have something to offer her as an independent woman, and yet keeping on side with the rigid views of her clients who regard marriage as the ultimate, and only aim for any female.

    This story has given me an incentive to read the first book, `The Poisonous Seed' and I will eagerly await the next one.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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