Grave Expectations

Grave Expectations

by Heather Redmond


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In this clever reimagining of Charles Dickens’s life, he and fiancée Kate Hogarth must solve the murder of a spinster wearing a wedding gown . . .
London, June 1835: In the interest of being a good neighbor, Charles checks in on Miss Haverstock, the elderly spinster who resides in the flat above his. But as the young journalist and his fiancée Kate ascend the stairs, they are assaulted by the unmistakable smell of death. Upon entering the woman’s quarters, they find her decomposing corpse propped up, adorned in a faded gown that looks like it could have been her wedding dress, had she been married. A murderer has set the stage. But to what purpose?
As news of an escaped convict from Coldbath Fields reaches the couple, Charles reasonably expects the prisoner, Ned Blood, may be responsible. But Kate suspects more personal motives, given the time and effort in dressing the victim. When a local blacksmith is found with cut manacles in his shop and arrested, his distraught wife begs Charles and Kate to help. At the inquest, they are surprised to meet Miss Haverstock’s cold and haughty foster daughter, shadowed by her miserably besotted companion. Secrets shrouded by the old woman’s past may hold the answers to this web of mystery. But Charles and Kate will have to risk their lives to unveil the truth . . .

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781496717160
Publisher: Kensington
Publication date: 07/30/2019
Series: A Dickens of a Crime Series , #2
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 596,707
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Though her last known British ancestor departed London in the 1920s, Heather Redmond is a committed anglophile, Dickens devotee, and lover of all things nineteenth century. She has lived in Illinois, California, and Texas, and now resides in a small town in Washington State with her husband and son. For more information please visit and

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Grave Expectations 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
CozyUpWithKathy 14 days ago
a gripping tale of murder and the past GRAVE EXPECTATIONS by Heather Redmond The Second Dickens of a Crime Mystery Kate Hogarth asks her fiance for a mystery to distract her while waiting for their wedding. Not content with an old conundrum Kate pines for something recent. She gets her wish when she and Charles Dickens go to check on his elderly neighbor only to find her dead, murdered in the apartment above his. Who would want to kill an old woman? Does it have anything to do with the ancient magazine thrust under Charles's door that told of the killing of a young Jewish girl? With a friend suspected of the current murder, Charles and Kate once again are plunged into a mystery. Life was not easy in the pre-Victorian time period and Heather Redmond's atmospheric descriptions capture this vividly. From the noxious fumes of the River Thames, crooked landlords, and desperate poverty to the fact that authorities let dead remain where they were found until a hearing could be convened, which could be days, readers are granted a visceral visit back in time. I continue to be fond of Charles Dickens as he strives to do the best for everyone, yet find myself a bit miffed at Kate. In this second Dickens of a Crime Mystery, Kate acts spoiled and more petulant than supportive. While I understand her attitude towards Julie, and Charles's interactions with her, Kate's response to Charles's financial state was beyond the pale. Despite my irritation with Kate's behavior, I was still captivated by her, indeed all of the characters gathered my attention, for better or worse. Manipulative Julie, joyful Breese Gadfly, dastardly Nickerson, and even the haughty Miss Jaggers imbue the mystery with life, and ultimately death. Providing an inventive look at the young Charles Dickens, GRAVE EXPECTATIONS is a gripping tale of murder and the past that none of us can truly escape. FTC Disclosure – The publisher sent me a copy of this book in the hopes I would review it.
Kate-Baxter 18 days ago
3.5 out of 5 stars What a charming and most enjoyable historical fiction cozy mystery. This is author Heather Redmond's second installment in the, "A Dickens of a Crime" series. Although this reader had not read the first in series (A Tale of Two Murders), they found the second book stands alone easily and does not rely on the first book's character development to carry it. There were a few references to action which occurred within the previous installment but not enough to derail the progression of the second. The story begins on June 20, 1835. A young Charles Dickens has rented additional quarters in order to be in closer proximity to his betrothed, Kate Hogarth, at least for the summer months. His 15 year old brother, Fred, resides with him as he prepares for eligibility for administrative employment or apprenticeship. Their father tends to be a spendthrift and Charles is often bailing out his family financially. This delays Charles' and Kate's marital plans and causes some consternation and a bit of friction. As the brothers rose on this Saturday morning, they discover that someone has slid a 50 year old article regarding a horrible group of children which had ganged up on a Jewish girl, thrown her in a barrel, and cast her to the waters of the outgoing tide. Perhaps initially done in fun, they, none the less, made no attempt to rescue poor Goldy. So who slid the article under the door? Is there any relationship between it and the subsequent murder of the tenant upstairs? A nearby neighbor is arrested on slim evidence of having killed or aided the killer of the upstairs neighbor. Charles, in turn, is eager to exonerate his new friend and thus the story begins. As to character development, Redmond is spectacular in this area. Our protagonist, young adult Charles Dickens, is experiencing life on his own while caring for his young brother and simultaneously making wedding plans with his betrothed, Kate Hogarth. We see glimpses of future Dickens novels based on the lives of the people Charles encounters throughout this story. We are painfully informed of the social strata of the day and how the haves look upon the have-nots with discomfort and disdain. Charles, on the other hand, is part of a group of folks trying to lift a few orphaned "mudlarks" from their poverty and give them a bit of hope for their futures. Redmond's development of 1835 London is rich in setting. The odors, along seedy streets or by the river's edge filled with sewage, are ripe in the telling. The sounds of horse hooves and bustling street markets are distinctly audible. The hand of fine silk or cotton batiste is richly textural and sumptuous to the touch. Kate's fresh and treasured strawberry jam is tasty down to its last bit. The fog of a smoky room is stifling and diminishes visibility. The reader richly experiences the mise en scène with all their senses. There was one moment in the storytelling which caused this reader to bristle a touch and that was the statement by one character of, "One for all and all for one" with a reference to the Musketeers. Dumas has yet to write the Three Musketeers which is not completed for another nine years. But beyond that, the book is well written and the setting of 1835 London well created. I am grateful to Kensington Publishing Corp. for having provided a free electronic copy of this book through NetGalley. Their generosity, however, did not influence this review - the words of which are mine alone.
Rachel_Denise01 19 days ago
Grave Expectations by Heather Redmond is the second installment in the A Dickens of a Crime series. This is a fantastic Victorian era murder/mystery involving the a fictionalization of the real life Charles Dickens. I love the detail and the intricacies of the character niches that were developed in this novel. I love the interplay and the chemistry that the characters evoked. The author has a talent in creating rich, multi-layered characters with quick wit and banter. The author did a fabulous job creating a nail-biting, thought-provoking, intricate plot involving the murder/mystery that kept me engaged throughout. If you love historical fiction, murder/mysteries, or just a good old mystery, then this book is for you. I look forward to future installments. 5/5 stars
Tangen 23 days ago
19th-century, murder-investigation, historical-fiction, historical-figures, London Excellent character development and representation of the prevailing attitudes of the time. There is some tweaking of the characters from Great Expectations as well as some rather graphic details of some observations. The publisher's blurb is pretty good and works as a hook to pique the reader's interest. The mystery writing kept my nose in the book too late into the night. I requested and received a free ebook copy from Kensington Books via NetGalley. Thank you!
Literaturebabe 24 days ago
Thank you to NetGalley, Kensington Books and Ms. Heather Redmond for the opportunity to read this Advanced Readers Copy of "Grave Expectations, A Dickens of a Crime Mystery Series". A fun summer read that features Mr. Charles Dickens and his fiancee Kate as murder mystery sleuths! This is the second book in the series by Heather Redmond where Charles Dickens and his friends solve crimes in Ye Olde Merry England Keeping a true voice to the times, the setting is very much Dickensian as is the solving of the crime. Drawing on facts of Mr. Dickens real life, Charles comes alive as he draws on his personal knowledge as a journalist and a man of the common people. This book also includes a book club reading guide to further discuss the inspired aspects of "Great Expectations" and of Victorian London life. Dark dirty streets, inept coppers, workhouses and thieves around every corner, this story comes alive with the sights and sound of Victorian life.
Vesper1931 24 days ago
1835 and Charles Dickens has moved to Selwood Terrace to be near fiancé Kate Hogarth for the summer months. One morning an old article is pushed under his door detailing the murder of a female mudlark by her friends some 50 years previously. Meanwhile having not seen his upstairs neighbour, Miss Haverstock, an elderly spinster for some days he decides to call on her. Unfortunately he finds her dead, and soon the local blacksmith, Daniel Jones, is arrested. Dickens is determined he is innocent and investigates with the help of his friends. A very enjoyable book in this well-written series with its interesting and likeable characters.
MKF 24 days ago
Charles Dickens and Kate Hogarth are back! They're engaged now (woo hoo) and they're still working together. This time, they find themselves investigating the death of Miss Haverstock, an elderly woman who lives upstairs. She's not a sweetheart, that's to be sure, but the murder is sorta odd. She's been dressed and the scene staged. Ned Blood has been arrested for the crime but his wife convinces Kate he didn't do it. Of course, there's more to the story that it first appears. This is in some ways a Victorian cozy featuring real people. It's well thought out and I liked seeing Dickens brought to life. It's also an improvement from the first novel (don't worry if you didn't read it- this is fine as a standalone)- it's more polished . Thanks to netgalley for the ARC. You'll enjoy this if you are looking for a light historical mystery.
AMGiacomasso 24 days ago
An excellent historical mystery featuring Charles Dickens. It's well written, well researched and full of humour. I found it engrossing and entertaining. The mystery was good and kept me guessing. I look forward to reading the next instalment in this series. Recommended! Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.