Thursday, September 16, 2010

BBAW #4-- Forgotten Treasures

Today's topic for Book Bloggers Appreciation Week is Forgotten Treasures:

Sure we’ve all read about Freedom and Mockingjay but we likely have a book we wish would get more attention by book bloggers, whether it’s a forgotten classic or under marketed contemporary fiction.  This is your chance to tell the community why they should consider reading this book!

I had a difficult time with this one because so many of the mysteries I enjoy aren't well-known (or known at all) here in the United States. I finally decided that I'd turn to my Favorite Mystery Series page on my blog and just choose one. A bit like closing your eyes and sticking a pin in a map, you might think. I wouldn't disagree.

My pin in the map landed on a wonderful series that most mystery readers will probably be... well... mystified over-- Fidelis Morgan's splendid four-book historical mystery series featuring the Countess Ashby de la Zouche and her buxom maid, Alpiew.

It is the end of the seventeenth century, and sixty-something Lady Ashby de la Zouche, Countess of Clapham (a former mistress to deceased King Charles II) is more than a bit down on her luck. Living in a crumbling mansion in London with her quick-witted maid, Alpiew, and a manservant that reminds me of Lurch from The Addams Family, the Countess manages to eek out a living by writing for a scandal sheet.

Not only are these books a sparkling window to the seventeenth century-- to the point where you feel you're walking the streets of London with the characters-- they are so outrageously funny at times that it's been known for Denis to hear me laughing all the way down at the other end of the house. (Naturally he had to come find out what he was missing out on.) 

The setting, the characters, the plots, the humor-- all of these elements combine to form four very special books:


Unnatural Fire
The Rival Queens
The Ambitious Stepmother
Fortune's Slave

In them, there are not just interesting mysteries to solve and living, breathing characters to connect with, but tidbits to be learned about 17th-century life, acting on the London stage, even a trip to the court in France. Never once do I feel as though I'm learning something dry, dusty and dead, and I always close these books with a smile on my face. 

These four mysteries are so much fun that I just can't understand why more people haven't read them. I certainly hope you'll give one a try! 



  1. Oh..a mystery and they are funny? Sign me up! I've never heard of this series but you definitely have me interested in them now.

  2. Oh, I love discovering new mystery series! Thanks for this!

  3. Kris-- Good! I hope you're able to give them a try and enjoy them as much as I do.

    Swapna-- You're very welcome!


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