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A Death in the Family

Caroline Dunford

Average Review Rating Average Rating 8/10 (1 Review)
Book Details

Publisher : EPRINT Publishing

Published : 2009

Copyright : Caroline Dunford 2009

ISBN-10 : PB 1-905637-90-X
ISBN-13 : PB 978-1-905637-90-4

Publisher's Write-Up

I briefly considered the option of swooning in a ladylike manner, but I was denied this by virtue of position: I was a maid; and by natural inclination I have never known how to swoon. Instead I did what I believe most females of sensibility would have done finding themselves alone with a murdered corpse. I screamed exceedingly loudly, quite in the common manner and pelted out of the room...

In December 1909 the Reverend Joshia Martins expires in a dish of mutton and onions leaving his family on the brink of destitution. Joshia's daughter, Euphemia, takes it upon herself to provide for her mother and little brother by entering service. She is young, fit, intelligent, a little naive and assumes the life of a maid won't be too demanding. However, on her first day at the unhappy home of Sir Stapleford she discovers a murdered body.

Euphemia's innate sense of justice has her prying where no servant should look and uncovering some of the darker secrets of the Stapleford family. All she has to defend herself with is her quick wits, sense of humour and the ultimate weapon of all virtuous young women, her scream.

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Reader Reviews

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Review by Amanda McDonald (311209) Rating (8/10)

Review by Amanda McDonald
Rating 8/10
I'm a big fan of historical crime fiction, and A Death in the Family by new crime writer Caroline Dunford was exactly what I was looking for - a rattlingly good dose of Edwardian country house intrigue with plenty of twist and turns and clues to puzzle through along with the heroine of the book, Euphemia Martins.

Euphemia, the eighteen year old estranged granddaughter of an Earl, has fallen on hard times due to the death of her vicar father - just one of the deaths alluded to in the title. To help support her family, she assumes a false name and goes into service, where she promptly stumbles over a dead body in a secret passage. As her virtue is put to question, and the household suspect she's not quite who she claims to be, she makes a number of unlikely alliances in order to find the murderer and restore her good name.

In Euphemia Dunford has created a strong lead character - clever, courageous and witty, yet she's got enough vulnerability and naivety to make her believable. And although forced by necessity to seek a position below her social standing as a maid, a strong sense of romanticism and - I'm sure - a desire for adventure clearly shines though behind her career choice. She's also refreshingly unsure of herself and doesn't always make the right decisions, which just made me want to cheer her on all the more!

Without stooping to lecture at any point, A Death in the Family is also a stark reminder of the lot of women at the turn of the century, where everything depended on virtue, and class divides were often insurmountable. I was also delighted by the Edwardian setting - one of my favourite eras and often overlooked by other authors. I'm very pleased to see another Euphemia book is on the cards for next May, and look forward to seeing how the series, as well as the character, develops further.
Amanda McDonald ( 2009)

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