A Very English Murder (Eleanor Swift #1) by Verity Bright #CozyMystery #BookReview

Move over Miss Marple, there’s a new sleuth in town! Meet Eleanor Swift: distinguished adventurer, dog lover, dignified lady… daring detective?

England, 1920Eleanor Swift has spent the last few years travelling the world: taking tea in China, tasting alligators in Peru, escaping bandits in Persia and she has just arrived in England after a chaotic forty-five-day flight from South Africa. Chipstone is about the sleepiest town you could have the misfortune to meet. And to add to these indignities – she’s now a Lady.

Lady Eleanor, as she would prefer not to be known, reluctantly returns to her uncle’s home, Henley Hall. Now Lord Henley is gone, she is the owner of the cold and musty manor. What’s a girl to do? Well, befriend the household dog, Gladstone, for a start, and head straight out for a walk in the English countryside, even though a storm is brewing…

But then, from the edge of a quarry, through the driving rain, Eleanor is shocked to see a man shot and killed in the distance. Before she can climb down to the spot, the villain is gone and the body has vanished. With no victim and the local police convinced she’s stirring up trouble, Eleanor vows to solve this affair by herself. And when her brakes are mysteriously cut, one thing seems sure: someone in this quiet country town has Lady Eleanor Swift in their murderous sights…

A Very English Murder (Amazon US) (Amazon UK) (Audible) (AbeBooks)

After recently completing Eleanor Swift’s latest two books (see my reviews here), I wanted to go back to the beginning of the series and see how things started. First off, don’t believe the blurb about this book series being like Agatha Christie’s. It’s England and 1920 and Eleanor has become Lady of the manor upon the death of her uncle. It’s mentioned that her parents died some years ago but their death is never explained in this volume.

Eleanor inherits a delightful staff, including a very capable butler, an aging bulldog named Gladstone, and real characters as household staff that just jump off the page. I’d already been introduced to most of them due to reading the latest volumes, but it was nice reading more about them at the beginning of Eleanor’s journey as lady of Henley Hall.

Eleanor was previously a world traveler on her own, making her very independent and bristling at having to be part of the upper tier of society. For all her worldliness, she gets weak in the knees when she meets Chief Inspector Hugh Seldon. That’s one thing I didn’t like about this first book. For such an independent woman who got burned by a man previously, she sure seems to put her heart right out there. But I suppose the authors didn’t want to make Lady Eleanor too independent.

There’s a murder mystery to solve, and Eleanor gets her first crack at finding out who the killer is before the police can solve the case.

I’m really enjoying the settings and characterizations of the Eleanor Swift series, and I can’t wait to catch up on the rest of the series.

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