Wednesday, June 26, 2013

REVIEW: A Murder at Rosamund's Gate by Susanna Calkins

Synopsis: 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 she loves is wrongly arrested for the crime. 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 them first--public executions draw a large crowd of spectators, Lucy knows she may never see this person alive again. Unless, that is, she can identify the true murderer.

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.

My Thoughts:  And once again the pretty cover sucked me in and fortunately contained within it was a pretty good mystery.  Lucy Campion is a chambermaid who is fortunate enough to work for the Hargraves-a family which includes the local magistrate who values intelligent conversation from any quarter and his lawyer son Adam whom Lucy will get to know much better as the novel progresses.  Lucy and the rest of the servants in the household are horrified to hear about the discovery of a young woman's body slain in a most gruesome manner.  While many take precautions for their safety, Lucy's friend and fellow maid Bessie seems to be acting a little reckless as of late and Lucy is left to wonder if it is because of her budding romance with Lucy's brother Will.  When yet another murder occurs and the crimes hits close to home, Lucy must piece together the clues and try to identify the culprit-or risk losing those closest to her.

This book has several things going for it-a likable heroine, the author's ability to immerse the reader in Lucy's world and the time period, and a mystery that managed to serve up a satisfying surprise or two along the way.  I loved the tension between Adam and Lucy.  The writing style is engaging and you really root for Lucy as she encounters several obstacles on her path of discovery-the convoluted English court systems of the era and her conflicted feelings for a certain magistrate's son being but a few.  A Murder at Rosamund's Gate is a fast paced read that will leave you guessing.  My only trouble spot was my mixed feelings about the ending.  While I was completely surprised when the villain was finally revealed, I couldn't decide whether I could completely buy it.  Maybe because this character had not revealed any real nefarious tendencies previously?  I cannot quite put my finger on what it was that didn't settle with me about the conclusion.  Also I would have appreciated a bit more attention on the murders themselves.  It seemed like a whole lot was going on that often overshadowed this part of the story.  I really did enjoy this book and am glad to see that it is the first in a series.  I am looking forward to future adventures with the smart and spirited Lucy.

I received this book for review from the publisher via NetGalley.  These are my honest thoughts on the book.


  1. I enjoyed this one as well..and can't wait for the next one.


  2. I liked this one a little more than you did, probably because I didn't have the same issue with the ending (I suspected the characters guilt before it was revealed). I, too, am looking forward to reading more in this series.