Book Review: A Proposal To Die For (A #LadyAlkmene Callender Mystery – Book 1), by Vivian Conroy

Publisher:  Carina UK

Publication date:   19th September 2016


a-proposal-to-die-forWhen it’s as charming as A Proposal to Die For mystery and history make the most wonderful combination.

Lady Alkmene Callender is half social butterfly, half wannabe amateur sleuth. Finding too much time on her hands while her globetrotting father investigates his latest botanical obsession, Lady Alkmene has a desire to investigate intriguing situations involving persons in her close circle.

Instead of solely concentrating her efforts on attending functions and reacting appropriately to polite conversation, she shows an unconventional interest in detective pursuits and prefers to expand her knowledge by reading books like ‘Rigor Mortis’.

Unfortunately for Lady Alkmene she has neither the streetwise sense nor life skills to draw swords against people already hardened against the world she has been protected from. Her naivety often impairs her judgement leaving her open to a wide range of predicaments.

Rather than be content with reading the morning’s papers and simply call for more tea upon hearing the news that the wealthy art collector Silas Norwhich has expired, she has already concluded there has been a callous murder, a spot of theft, to be followed by a dash of blackmail. It’s all hearsay, of course. One recently eavesdropped conversation later leaves an American heiress and actress Evelyn Steinbeck firmly in the spotlight which will outshine any of her Broadway appearances.

Events unfold with the impromptu assistance of Anglo/French relations in the form of Jake Dubois, a charming but tough, sharp-tongued journalist, who has also taken and a similar interest in the unofficial case into Norwhich’s death, even though the police think it’s nothing more than a tragic accident. Dubois is a terrific character – where he lives, how he responds, especially to a certain Lady’s interference.

Quite often Alkmene is under the illusion she can match Dubois’s skills as a sleuth, while she’s no push over his background lends a much wiser touch to these matters, generally underlining their interactions with an insult aimed at the Lady’s privileged background.

So, high society mingles with the ‘lower classes’ and by doing so each sees how the other half lives and the issues they contend with daily. Sometimes that divide closes, and at others it widens. But one thing is for sure, regardless of their backgrounds both Dubois and Alkmene actually want the same thing – to catch a potential killer and tie up the loose ends that are unravelling.

A Proposal to Die For is the epitome of its wonderful cover, evoking a sense of period where the art of a good old fashioned mystery can thrive. Here, possessing a title is not simply a lifelong ticket to not launder your own washing, it also leaves you ample leisure time to attend to the right kind of gossip where your connections could come in fairly handy, or may even place you in the line of fire. Thank goodness for that or we wouldn’t have been given the learning curves of a new amateur sleuth on a silver platter, now would we?!

Rating:  4/5

(I was delighted to be approved by the publisher to receive a digital copy of this title from NetGalley. Huge thanks to them, as this was a wonderful read.)

a-proposal-to-die-for-book-summary(Courtesy of Amazon UK)

The first book in the new Lady Alkmene Callender Mystery series.

A murderous beginning.

With her father away in India, Lady Alkmene Callender finds being left to her own devices in London intolerably dull, until the glamorous Broadway star Evelyn Steinbeck arrives in town! Gossip abounds about the New York socialite, but when Ms Steinbeck’s wealthy uncle, Silas Norwhich, is found dead Lady Alkmene finds her interest is piqued. Because this death sounds a lot to her like murder…

Desperate to uncover the truth, Lady Alkmene begins to look into Ms Steinbeck’s past – only to be hampered by the arrival of journalist, Jake Dubois – who believes she is merely an amateur lady-detective meddling in matters she knows nothing about!

But Lady Alkmene refuses to be deterred from the case and together they dig deeper, only to discover that some secrets should never come to light…

The twenties have never been so dangerous.

Don’t miss the next Lady Alkmene Mystery:

1. A Proposal to Die For
2. Diamonds of Death
3. Deadly Treasures



(Courtesy of Amazon UK)

Find out more about Vivian Conroy, the daring author of The Lady Alkmene Mysteries.

Vivian Conroy discovered Agatha Christie at 13 and quickly devoured all Poirot and Miss Marple stories. Over time Lord Peter Wimsey and Brother Cadfael joined her favourite sleuths. Even more fun than reading was thinking up her own fog-filled alleys, missing heirs and priceless artifacts. So Vivian created feisty Lady Alkmene and enigmatic reporter Jake Dubois sleuthing in 1920s London and the countryside, first appearing in A PROPOSAL TO DIE FOR (published by Carina UK/Harper Collins).

For the latest #LadyAlkmene, with a dash of dogs and chocolate, follow Vivian on Twitter via @VivWrites.



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