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Publisher's Summary

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 19-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, goodwill 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....

©2016 Lisa Manuel (P)2016 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about Murder Most Malicious

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I just skipped to the end.

The cop was stupid and mean. The girls fantasized about bulging chests and handsome faces. The real victims were servants. And, worst of all it went on and on. Finally I just couldn't take it anymore.

1 person found this helpful

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not for me

Murder Most Malicious is stereotypical with unlikable characters and too many romantic notions. I got tired of bulging chests, broad shoulders and blushing women. I couldn't get into it. I finally skipped to the end.

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Good Mystery

Pros: Good storyline. Good mix of upstairs and downstairs action. Moved quickly enough.
Cons: I got confused with names as some were called by their proper names and others by the Christian names. There were so many characters to which to keep track.

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Wonderful Mystery!

This was a great mystery. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and the final outcome. The narrator did an excellent job with all the various voices. This book held my interest through out the whole story. I didn't want it to end but I just realized that there is a sequel so I am a happy listener. I highly recommend this book.

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Horrible accents, dull slow story.

I could not continue the experience was awful. Not one good single thing to say.

1 person found this helpful

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An incredible historical mystery

It is Christmas 1918 in Murder Most Malicious by Alyssa Maxwell, and the Renshaws and their neighbors the Allertons have gathered together to celebrate the new peace. Julia Renshaw is all but engaged to Lord Henry Allerton, but on Christmas, her younger sister Phoebe overhears Julia breaking things off with him. In anger and a sense of ownership of Julia, Lord Allerton threatens the woman and grabs her tightly enough to cause massive bruises.

Boxing Day, the British holiday on December 26, originated when lords would give their serfs the box of their owed supplies for the year, and the Renshaws follow this tradition in giving the staff boxes of Christmas presents and the day off. Eva, the ladies' maid who serves all three daughters of the house, takes her box home to her parents' home, opening it to find a signet ring, but this ring comes with a finger. Upon returning to Foxwood Hall with her box, Eva finds out that she is the sixth servant to receive a finger, and it is apparent that the fingers belong to the missing Lord Allerton. Though the police come to investigate, Phoebe is certain that they are not doing a proper job and determines to investigate herself, using the help of Eva to let her know what is happening below stairs. When the constable arrests a member of the staff, the pair, certain that the man is innocent, get really busy searching for the killer and the still-missing body of Sir Henry Allerton.

I had a great time listening to this book. Even though it contains a fairly large cast of characters, Maxwell draws them with a vivid brush so as to make them appear real and thus easy enough to distinguish from each other. I enjoyed the characters of Phoebe and Eva and appreciated the discussion of the changing social mores that the First World War brought to the world. When Phoebe thinks Eva considers her less important than her two sisters because she is less decorative and conventional, Eva responds by negating that and challenging Phoebe to change the world with her intelligence and bold spirit.

The mystery plot also kept me guessing throughout the book. Though the appearance of fingers at the beginning of the book may scare away fans of the cozy mystery genre, the book does not contain any other form of gore, and the characters are even afraid to talk openly about such indelicate topics as severed body parts or the corpse they are trying to locate.

Ellen Archer performs the audio edition of this book. She helps to transport us to 1918 and the time when upper class households had such a large staff. Archer uses a gentle tone of voice that let the book sell itself, showing off the strengths of the book without added drama.

I thoroughly enjoyed Murder Most Malicious and thought it much stronger than Murder at the Breakers, the first book in Maxwell's Gilded Newport Mystery series. My only complaint is that it wouldn't allow me to go to sleep because I was too eager to learn what was going to happen. I give this book five stars.

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Enjoyable easy listen

What did you love best about Murder Most Malicious?

With my demanding job, it is fun to relax and have an easy listen while doing other projects. The characters took a bit to develop but worth it. Look forward to the next book!
Another nice narration from Ellen Archer.

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Fun and distracting

Any additional comments?

As I've said in my other reviews - I listen to cozy mysteries to keep my mind off of how much I hate exercising. This one did the trick. Its a bit contrived, but not boring. The mystery is interesting enough.

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INTERESTING FIRST START FOR A NEW HISTORICAL SERIES

Alyssa Maxwell is an up and coming author. I love her Gilded Newport Mystery and she did not disappoint with her new seriesLady and Lay's Maid Mystery. Lady Phoebe and her lady's maid, Eva tried their hand on sleuthing when a guest, the Marquis Allerton, guest of Lady Phoebe's grandparents were murdered and there was no body. Lady Phoebe and Eva did a remarkable amount of sleuthing before finding the killer and were almost I danger of being killed. A very well written book and superbly performed by Ellen Archer whose array of voices were quite good. I hope the next book in the series will be published soon.

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Alyssa Maxwell knows how to write

I have loved everything Alyssa Maxwell has written and this book didn't disappoint. I loved the upstairs/ downstairs feel of this story. I especially loved the parts told in Eva's point of view.