Series: Kat Holloway #6
Published by Berkley on August 2, 2022
Genres: Historical Mystery
Format: Kindle or ebook
Source: the publisher
Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository | Bookshop | Barnes & Noble | Audible
Add to Goodreads
Also in this series: A Soupçon of Poison, Death Below Stairs, Murder in the East End, Death at the Crystal Palace
Also by this author: A Soupçon of Poison, Death Below Stairs, Murder in the East End, Death at the Crystal Palace
In Victorian-era London, amateur sleuth and cook Kat Holloway must solve a murder to claim an inheritance she didn’t know she had in a riveting new historical mystery from the New York Times bestselling author of Death at the Crystal Palace.
A stranger who appears on Kat's doorstep turns out to be one Charlotte Bristow, legal wife of Joe Bristow, the man Kat once believed herself married to—who she thought died at sea twelve years ago. Kat is jolted by Charlotte’s claims that not only was Joe murdered, but he had amassed a small fortune before he died. Charlotte makes the cook an offer she cannot refuse—if Kat can discover the identity of Joe's murderer, Charlotte will give her a share of the fortune Joe left behind.
With the help of Daniel McAdam, her attractive and charismatic confidante, Kat plunges into her own past to investigate. When it becomes apparent that the case of Joe’s death goes far deeper than simple, opportunistic theft, Kat and Daniel's relationship is put to the test, and Kat herself comes under scrutiny as her connection to Joe is uncovered. She must race to catch the real killer before she loses her job and possibly her life.
I received a review copy of this book from the publisher.
In The Secret of Bow Lane, we finally find out more about Kat’s “husband” and that part of her early life, as well as the secret of Daniel’s past. I’ve been waiting for this, and for Kat and Daniel’s relationship to develope a bit more, and this book really delivered on the promises of previous books. Not that everything is resolved—far from it! Indeed, for a little while, I worried along with Kat that their relationship was irretrievably broken. But things are a bit clearer now, for both of them.
Kat is stunned when her bigamous husband’s first wife turns up to ask her to find out who murdered Joe. As far as Kat knew, he had died at sea some 13 years ago. But Charlotte insists that Joe was murdered, and he may have left a fortune behind. She offers Kat a share if Kat can find it, and Kat reluctantly agrees.
While the mystery surrounding Joe’s death and the missing “fortune” was certainly interesting and kept me guessing for quite a while, my interest was focused more on the unveiling of Kat’s and Daniel’s pasts. In Kat’s case, of course, the two are obviously intertwined. Daniel’s past doesn’t really have any bearing on the current investigation, but as always, his contacts and his unofficial involvement in law enforcement are useful. We also find out a bit more about Daniel’s shadowy boss, Monaghan, and my word, he’s a nasty piece of goods!
There are a lot of wonderful moments along the way, particularly with some of the secondary characters like Kat’s daughter Grace, her friend Lady Cynthia, Mr. Davis the butler, and Daniel’s former “brother” Mr. Fielding, a vicar with a decidedly shady past. I loved seeing Grace’s growing confidence and maturity, for all that she is still a young girl. The way she now comforts her mother when they have to part, instead of the other way around, speaks volumes about their loving relationship, and reminded me a little of my relationship with my own mother at that age. Lady Cynthia is always a delight, though I can’t help but wonder how long she will remain oblivious to Mr. Thanos’s feelings.
I find it impossible to read this series without getting hungry, specifically for all the delicious goodies Kat and her assistant concoct. The food porn in all the books is really mouthwatering! Thankfully, I had a few homemade cherry scones in the freezer, so I defrosted two and had them with tea while I thought about this review. (They were delicious!)
I will gladly recommend the Kat Holloway series to anyone who loves historical mysteries, but as much as I loved this installment, this book is probably not the best place to start. Ms. Ashley does her best to fill you in on the necessary information, but a lot of the enjoyment depends on your knowledge of and emotional investment in the recurring characters—not only Kat and Daniel, but Lady Cynthia, Thanos, Grace, and even Daniel’s son James, though he doesn’t appear in this book much. Do yourself a favor, and start with book one, Death Below Stairs (review), or even with the prequel novella, A Soupçon of Poison (review).
I buddy-read The Secret of Bow Lane with Sophia Rose, who posts reviews over on Books of My Heart. We had a wonderful time discussing the book and fangirling over the series in general. I had thought to share some of our discussion, but it was much too full of spoilers, so I decided to refrain. But I wanted to thank Sophia for a great discussion! If you’d like to read her review, you can find it here.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- COYER Seasons 2022: Summer