A Lady and Lady's Maid Mysteries
featuring Lady Phoebe Renshaw and her maid, Eva Huntford, bringing killers to justice while negotiating the changes and challenges of life following the Great War
Available in hardcover, paperback, ebook, and audio
Murder Most Malicious
In post–World War I England, Lady Phoebe Renshaw and her lady’s maid, Eva Huntford, step outside of their social roles and put their lives at risk to apprehend a vicious killer…
December 1918: As a difficult year draws to a close, there is much to celebrate for nineteen-year-old Phoebe Renshaw and her three siblings at their beloved family estate of Foxwood Hall. The dreadful war is finally over; eldest daughter Julia’s engagement to their houseguest, the Marquis of Allerton, appears imminent; and all have gathered to enjoy peace on earth, good will toward men.
But the peace of Foxwood Hall is shattered on the morning of Boxing Day, when the Marquis goes missing. Not entirely missing, however, as macabre evidence of foul play turns up in gift boxes given to lady’s maid Eva Huntford and a handful of others. Having overheard her sister and the Marquis in a heated exchange the night before, Lady Phoebe takes a personal interest in solving the mystery.
As the local constable suspects a footman at Foxwood Hall, Phoebe and Eva follow the clues to a different conclusion. But both young women will need to think outside the box to wrap up this case—before a cornered killer lashes out with ill will toward them…
Check out the Fashions and Trends of the Post World War Era on my new Pinterest Board!
"Downton Abbey fans will enjoy Maxwell’s evocative descriptions of a particular society as it transitions from the Edwardian Age to modern times. Lady Phoebe is torn between her life before the war and her desire to become a modern woman." Library Journal
"Maxwell provides a neat little mystery and a heavily atmospheric look at life in a great house after the trials of the war." Kirkus Reviews
"The story is so good, you don’t want it to end." Suspense Magazine
"...Reminiscent of TV’s Downton Abbey, but Maxwell makes Phoebe and Eva distinctive personalities in their own right." Publishers Weekly
"...Forward-thinking Phoebe is a charming main character." Booklist
"Vicariously living in this world is an experience that rivals and complements the suspense of the suspected murder plot and the dangers that threaten Phoebe and Eva. All in all, it makes for a delightfully engaging package." Phil Jason, Florida Weekly
Available now in hardcover and ebook.
Trade paperback available December 28th!
A Pinch of Poison
In post–World War I England, Lady Phoebe Renshaw and her lady’s maid, Eva Huntford, encounter an uncharitable killer at a charity luncheon sponsored by a posh school for girls . . .
Good deeds build good character, and good character is what the Haverleigh School for Young Ladies is all about. Lady Phoebe—with the tireless assistance of Eva—has organized a luncheon at the school to benefit wounded veterans of the Great War, encouraging the students to participate in the cooking and the baking. But too many cooks do more than spoil the broth—they add up to a recipe for disaster when the school’s headmistress, Miss Finch, is poisoned.
The girls at Haverleigh all come from highly respected families, none of whom will countenance their darling daughters being harassed like common criminals by the local police. So Lady Phoebe steps in to handle the wealthy young debutantes with tact and discretion, while Eva cozies up to the staff. Did one of the girls resent the headmistress enough to do her in? Did a teacher bear a grudge? What about the school nurse, clearly shell shocked from her service in the war? No one is above suspicion, not even members of the school’s governing body, some of whom objected to Miss Finch’s “modern” methods.
But Lady Phoebe and Eva will have to sleuth with great stealth—or the cornered killer may try to teach someone else a lethal lesson.
“With its upstairs/downstairs sleuths and an expertly etched post-World War I setting, A Pinch of Poison, the second in Maxwell’s A Lady and Lady’s Maid series, is tailor-made for fans of Phryne Fisher mysteries or anyone who misses Downton Abbey.” VOYA Magazine
"Colorful information on the postwar period is combined with plenty of suspects, all neatly wrapped up in the style of a classic mystery." Kirkus Reviews
"Along with a bracing mystery, Maxwell explores compelling themes concerning the effects of war... A good match with Rhys Bowen's Her Royal Spyness series." Booklist
"A Pinch of Poison, hits all the right notes ... sweet, delightful ... sure to appeal to historical-fiction and mystery readers alike." Foreward Reviews
"...Delightful early 20th-century romp." Mystery Scene Magazine
“...A well-crafted historical mystery which continues the tradition so ably pioneered by “Upstairs, Downstairs” and, later, “Downton Abbey,” with just the right amount of romance added to create a delightful story." Suspense Magazine
"The settings, era, and characters are beautifully developed." Christian Writers
"...So easy to get lost in!" Cozy Mystery Reviews
"...Makes you feel immersed in the time period and feel like catching up with family friends. 5 of 5 stars." NikBookLovers Blog
"...A great read for those still searching for their British fix, or searching for a wonderfully written historical mystery." Bibliophile Reviews
Available hardcover and ebook. Audio release TBA!
A Devious Death
In the sobering yet hopeful years following the First World War, Lady Phoebe Renshaw and her lady’s maid, Eva Huntford, find their summer plans marred by an instance of murder . . .
Phoebe and her sister Julia are eager for a summer getaway at High Head Lodge, the newly purchased estate of their cousin Regina. But they are not the only houseguests. Regina's odd friend, Olive, is far from friendly, and Regina's mother and brother—bitter over the unequal distribution of her father's inheritance—have descended on the house to confront Regina.
In addition to the family tension, Eva is increasingly suspicious of Lady Julia's new maid. She questions Miss Stanley's loyalty and integrity, wondering why she left her former employer so suddenly. And why does Regina seem ill at ease around the maid, as if they were previously acquainted? Everyone, it appears, is on edge.
But things go from tense to tragic when their hostess meets an untimely end—mysteriously murdered in her bed with no signs of struggle. Now, with suspects in every room, Lady Phoebe and Eva must uncover secrets hidden behind closed doors—before a killer ensures they never leave High Head Lodge . . . alive.
"An unusual twist rooted in the recent horrors of World War I adds interest to a typical country-house mystery." Kirkus
Maxwell artfully portrays the personal dynamics of English society at the time, and readers will hope to see more of the endearing Phoebe and Eva.
"A well laid out mystery." New York Journal of Books
"A delightful read. Maxwell deftly balances all the subtleties of setting, character, and theme to offer her readers a view of a society in transition." Stephanie Saxon Levine, editor, Murder on the Beach Newsletter
"With each book, I grow to love Lady Phoebe and her Lady's Maid Eva more and more!!" Cozy Mystery Book Reviews
"This mystery will blind side, shock, and keep you reading til all hours. Can’t wait to read the next one." NikBookLover's Blog
Hardcover, Ebook, and Audible, and Audio CD!
Read an EXCERPT
A MURDEROUS MARRIAGE
A Lady and Lady's Maid Mystery book 4
Lady Phoebe Renshaw and her lady’s maid, Eva Huntford, are preparing for a wedding, but it may not be the happy occasion everyone hopes for . . .
Since the Great War, some family fortunes have suffered, including those of the Renshaws. Despite being the granddaughter of an earl, Julia Renshaw is under pressure to marry for money—and has settled for Gilbert Townsend, a viscount and a wealthy industrialist. He is decades older than Julia, and it’s clear to her sister Phoebe—and to Eva, who has been like a surrogate mother to the girls—that this is not a love match. Nevertheless, the wedding takes place—and in a hurry.
At the reception aboard the groom’s yacht, there appears to be tension between Gil and several guests: his best man, a fellow veteran of the Boer War; his grouchy spinster sister; and his current heir, a nervous young cousin named Ernest. The bride is also less than pleased when she discovers that her honeymoon will be more crowded than expected—with Gil’s pretty secretary, among others, coming along.
That very night, Julia pounds on her sister’s door, brandishing a bandaged hand and reporting a hot-tempered outburst on her new husband’s part. Julia is feeling doubt and regret about her hasty decision, but returns to the boat. Then the next morning, before the yacht can depart the harbor, Gil’s body is found in the water below—and Phoebe and Eva must discover who pushed him over . . . before the Renshaws’ social standing is irreparably stained by Julia’s arrest for his murder. . .
"I adored A Murderous Marriage and cannot wait for the next book in the series to be released. Highly recommended to any historical, cozy, or traditional mystery reader."
“Fans of Maxwell will enjoy this fourth in the series and will look for the next one.” – Historical Novel Society
"A well written mystery, with both an interesting plot and detailed characterization." --Mystery Playground
"The action unfolds smoothly until well-disguised clues lead to a clever and satisfying denouement. Downton Abbey fans will have fun." Publishers Weekly
"Maxwell, who always puts an interesting spin on her country-house mysteries set between the great wars, delivers once again in this tale of love, hate, revenge, and country houses in peril." Kirkus Reviews
“‘A Murderous Marriage’ is a well-crafted historical mystery which will delight devotees of television shows such as Downton Abbey. I especially enjoyed the relationship between Lady Phoebe and Eva, as they work together to solve the mystery of Gilbert’s death and clear Julia’s name.” – Suspense Magazine
"The atmospheric Isle of Wright setting, lords and ladies galore, impoverished estates, arranged marriages … these elements and more combine in a murder mystery by Alyssa Maxwell that I thoroughly enjoyed." The Power of Words
"A MURDEROUS MARRIAGE is an engaging historical mystery that illustrates the importance of family and duty by both the upper and working classes in 1920 England." Cozy Up With Kathy
"I am always inspired to read more historical mysteries after reading a Maxwell mystery. She has the talent to create lively characters, charming settings, and the mystery that takes the wedding cake." Bibliophile Reviews
"I was pleasantly surprised to be immersed in the post World War I era. From the customs and clothing to the attitudes and actions, the story felt authentic and true." Mysteries With Character
"Maxwell will have you on the edge of your seat wondering what trouble the ladies are going to get in to and what secrets they will uncover, and as you get closer to the end of the story, your heart will be racing as you turn the pages..." Cozy Mystery Book Reviews
“The real murderer doesn’t stand a chance in face of this indomitable, experienced pair of detectives. ‘Circumstances call for logic and cool heads,’ and that’s exactly what they bring.” Criminal Element
“Deftly scripted with a wealth of twists, turns and surprises, "A Murderous Marriage" by Alyssa Maxwell showcases a flair for originality and a master of the genre. A page turning pleasure of a read from first page to last.” Midwest Book Review
Available in Hardcover, Audio, and Ebook
A Silent Stabbing
A Lady & Lady's Maid Mystery book 5
As England recovers from its costly involvement in the Great War, Lady Phoebe Renshaw and her lady’s maid, Eva Huntford, find the steady comforts of their lives unsettled by a local case of murder . . .
Eva is excited for a visit from her sister Alice, who lives in Suffolk with her husband and three children. But when Alice arrives alone, desiring a break from her family, Eva becomes concerned. Her dismay deepens as Alice starts spending time with a former beau, Keenan Ripley, who owns the nearby pear orchard. At the same time, Phoebe's sister Julia, now a widow and pregnant, is in a fretful state, and Phoebe struggles to be helpful to her.
When Keenan's brother Stephen, the new head gardener at the Renshaw estate, Foxwood Hall, is found impaled by a pair of hedge clippers, the police—including Eva's beau, Constable Miles Brannock—suspect his closest kin. Stephen had been eager to sell their orchard to an American developer, but Keenan had fiercely resisted. A table set with two teacups and scones suggests Keenan had company the morning of the murder—and Eva fears her sister was with him.
If Alice were to provide Keenan with an alibi, her reputation and marriage would be ruined. She denies being there but is clearly withholding secrets, much to Eva's consternation. Now, to protect her sister, Eva and Phoebe set off to expose the gardener's real killer, putting their own lives at risk . . .
"Eva and Lady Phoebe provide smart sleuthing and insight into the upstairs and downstairs worlds. Fans of traditional English mysteries will be rewarded." Publishers Weekly
"A stylish post–World War I mystery with plenty of twists and strong female characters fully capable of negotiating them." Kirkus Reviews
"The forward-thinking Phoebe and the loyal Eva are a sympathetic duo, and the life and times of a small, post-WWI English village are nicely integrated into the story." Booklist
"Themes of family, sisterly, neighbourly and upper/lower class relationships are explored with care and affection. This will delight Maxwell’s readers as well as all who love a good cosy. And since they appear in the plot ―tea and scones, anyone?" The Historical Novel Society
"A great period mystery highlighting family relationships as well as class differences. I only wish that I had my own glass of perry to raise in its honor!" Cozy Up with Kathy
"The aftermath of the Great War impacts the relationship between Phoebe and Eva: women of every class face choices that they could not have anticipated in their youth. Alyssa Maxwell’s A Silent Stabbing brings the pastoral world of maid and mistress to vibrant life, with an elegantly elegiac tone to the narrative." Criminal Element
"I love traveling back in time with Maxwell as the guide. . .You will fall in love with this series and never want to leave Foxwood Hall." Missi Stockwell Martin at Cozy Mystery Book Reviews
"A series that never fails to delight this reader. Thanks to the considerable talents of Alyssa Maxwell, readers can “visit” the delights and perils of life in a small English village in post- World War I England. Don’t miss it." Stephane Saxon Levine, Murder on the Beach Mystery Bookstore
"A first-rate historical mystery . . . I always enjoy spending time with Lady Phoebe and Eva, and this book is a welcome diversion in these uncertain times. Highly recommended. Suspense Magazine
A Sinister Service
A Lady & Lady's Maid Mystery Book 6
A trip to Staffordshire for Lady Phoebe Renshaw and her lady’s maid, Eva Huntford, leads to murder in a famed pottery works . . .
Following the devastation of the Great War, England's noble class takes comfort in honoring tradition. To celebrate their grandparents' wedding anniversary, Lady Phoebe Renshaw and her siblings travel to Staffordshire to commission a china service bearing the Wroxly coat of arms from the venerated Crown Lily Potteries, a favorite of Queen Mary.
The two leading designers at the illustrious china manufacturer offer competing patterns. But when one of them is found dead—his body crushed in a grinding pan and his design pattern book missing—his rival is immediately suspected. The police are also suspicious of the dead designer's resentful young son, a schoolmate of Phoebe's fifteen-year-old brother Fox. When Fox gets involved to help his friend, Phoebe begins to investigate the rival artist.
At the same time, Eva is enlisted to go undercover at the works so she can gain the confidence of the female employees, who are only allowed to paint, not design, which may have led to a grudge against the victim. Pursuing a killer who has no compunction about using a kiln as a coffin, Phoebe and Eva take their lives into their hands to discover the shattering truth . . .
"A revealing look at the pottery business melds nicely with a classic 1920s-style mystery." Kirkus Reviews
"Distinctive characters complement the well-crafted plot. Maxwell brings the era’s class and gender constraints to life in this intelligent historical." Publishers Weekly
"An excellent standalone despite being part of an ongoing series, with lots to be learned about the bone-china industry, and a murderer who remains elusive until the final pages." The Historical Novel Society
"A bracing and satisfying mystery." Stephanie Saxon Levine, Murder on the Beach Mystery Book Store Newsletter Editor
"Maxwell grabs your attention immediately and you will feel like you are standing along side the duo as they investigate this new murder . . . You cannot help but turn the pages as fast as you can so that you can see what happens at every turn."
A Deadly Endowment
A Lady & Lady's Maid Mystery book 7
To make ends meet, Lady Phoebe Renshaw and her lady’s maid, Eva Huntford, have decided to open up Foxwood Hall to guided public tours. Not everyone is pleased about it—even to the point of committing murder . . .
The lean times following the Great War continue to require creative solutions for England's noble class. But Lady Phoebe’s proposal to open up the Renshaw estate to guided tours for additional income strikes many in the family as a “vulgar enterprise.” Phoebe’s grandfather, the Earl of Wroxly, however, reluctantly concedes the necessity.
Their first tour group consists of members of the Historical Society, a magazine writer, and a flock of students. It’s a large group for Phoebe, her sister Amelia, and Eva to manage, and when the widow Arvina Bell goes missing, Eva goes in search of her—only to find her in the library, strangled with a silken drapery cord.
The schoolchildren are promptly sent home, but the members of the Historical Society—many of whom also wandered off at times—remain for interrogation. There is also, curiously, a framed photo missing from the library. As the police hastily zero in on a suspect, Phoebe and Eva weigh the clues. Does the crime have to do with rumors of hidden treasure at Foxwood Hall? But they must make haste to solve the widow’s murder—before someone else becomes history . . .
"An exemplary cozy.” –Publishers Weekly
"An appealingly perceptive look at England between the wars." - Kirkus Reviews
"A fast paced, quick read, with entertaining and likeable characters, and a plot with enough red-herrings, twists and turns to keep a reader engaged. I give it 5 stars and recommend to all cozy mystery fans." My Cat Reads
"This author has an admirable ability to populate her stories with distinctive and credible characters. She brings the period to life so vividly that the settings of the tale appear visible on the reader's mental screen." Stephanie Saxon Levine, Murder on the Beach Mystery Bookstore
"With a “Downton Abbey” flair, this historical cozy mystery will appeal to many." The Parkersburg (West Virginia) News and Sentinel
"It's always a treat to escape into one of Alyssa Maxwell's book and A Deadly Endowment is a fast paced, exciting and exhilarating read!!" Cozy Mystery Book Reviews
Available in hardcover, ebook, and audio
A Fashionable Fatality
A Lady & Lady's Maid Mystery #8
Amid the aftermath of the Great War and its hardships, it’s no wonder that many wish to rediscover life’s pleasures—parties, fashion, dancing. Still, Lady Phoebe and Eva are disconcerted when a small gathering at the home of Phoebe’s sister, Julia, becomes a far larger and more glamorous affair . . .
Julia has invited her favorite French fashion designer, Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, and Coco’s current beau, the Earl of Chesterhaven. Coco has brought an entourage of her own, including two models, and intends to use the gardens as a photographic setting for her latest creations.
Madame Chanel is as outspoken as she is talented, offering a scathing critique of Phoebe’s fashion sense. There is tense competition between the models as well. When one of the guests is found dead of smoke inhalation, it appears to be a tragic accident. But was a footman really to blame for mistakenly closing the fireplace flue, or is there a more sinister explanation?
Phoebe is determined to find out, despite the protestations of her sweetheart, Owen Seabright. Both above and below stairs, Phoebe and Eva uncover myriad motives—career ambition, romantic rivalries, and even deeper betrayals. For despite the surface beauty, there are ugly secrets in the world of Maison Chanel, ones that a killer will risk anything to protect..
"An evocative setting, realistic relationships, and a nicely crafted plot." Publishers Weekly
"The addition of the notorious (Coco) Chanel adds interest to a solid golden age–style mystery." Kirkus Reviews
"Plenty of suspects, hidden clues, historical details, and glimpses into the lives of the well-to-do and those who work for them add interest to this mystery. VERDICT Readers with an eye for fashion will enjoy the detailed descriptions of 1920s clothing and accessories while fans of the series will be excited to return to Phoebe and Eva’s world as they navigate a new mystery and ongoing relationships." Library Journal
"Suberbly framed by the life and times of the period, this delightful historical cozy seamlessly weaves the details of couture fashion into the story." Booklist
"Maxwell provides a crafty group of individuals and any one of them could be capable of murder and the reasons why will be astonishing. Best advice I can give you is to open the book, sit back and get comfortable because you will be there for a while. You will not want to stop reading." Cozy Mystery Book Reviews
"Phoebe has an inquisitive mind and so does Eva. Between them, a killer doesn’t have a chance. I enjoy seeing strong women follow protocol where they must, chase clues and facts where they can, and not just survive but adapt and thrive." Kings River Life Magazine
Author of the Gilded Newport Mysteries
A Lady and Lady's Maid Mysteries