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12 April 2016

Teaser Tuesday (& a bit of a ramble) -- Kate Kingsbury's Room With A Clue

The Book & The Tease

The Meme

Amazon Description
The Pennyfoot hides many secrets and its downstairs staff keeps a tight lip, even when the Edwardian aristocrats are spotted dallying with damsels in the boudoirs, or gambling in the forbidden card rooms hidden below the floorboards. Should now and then one of the hotel guests fall prey to a dastardly murderer, however, it is up to Cecily Sinclair to restore order before Scotland Yard steps in and shuts down her infamous seaside hotel.  

Lady Eleanor Danbury thoroughly enjoyed the view of the ocean from the rooftop garden of the Pennyfoot Hotel, until someone pushed her over to fall four stories to her death. In order to keep secret the goings-on of her illustrious guests, Cecily takes on the task of tracking down a killer. There are no shortage of suspects, since Lady Eleanor managed to alienate everyone with whom she came in contact. That includes the downstairs staff of the hotel, the fellow aristocrats staying at the hotel, and even her own husband. Since Inspector Cranshaw of Scotland Yard is bound and determined to shut down the Pennyfoot and put a stop to all the hanky-panky, Cecily must work fast and be terribly discreet, or she might lose her home and her livelihood….  
There are twenty-one books in the Pennyfoot Hotel series, including seven Christmas Editions. 

The only excuse I can come up with for not having jumped on this series when it first started was that  it was the Fall of 1993. I was a college freshman -- finally away from home to study hotel management at a school as close to Canada as I could get without actually leaving New York. So, yeah. I had other things on my mind. Granted, doing well in my classes wasn't actually one of them .... but I made up for it later on. Now, years decades later I'm finally making up for not reading the Pennyfoot Hotel series, too!

I was probably in love with the concept of the series before I even started it. A secluded British seaside hotel in the early 1900s? What's not to love? Well, besides the weather.
(First Line)
Widow Cecily Sinclair runs the Pennyfoot Hotel with the help of the manager, Baxter, her departed husband's former butler. At the beginning of the story she's meeting with Phoebe Carter-Holmes (the local vicar's mother) and Madeline Pengrath (a rumored gypsy) to finalize plans for that weekend's Arabian Nights-themed masquerade ball -- complete with a live python on display. The night of the ball the python goes missing and one of the most affluent (and utterly obnoxious) hotel guests is found dead.

Now, the Pennyfoot Hotel is popular amongst the upper-classes because it's location in Badgers End is not the popular place to go. It's a safe haven to go to if you don't want word to get out as to what you're doing. Sort of like "what happens at the Pennyfoot stays at the Pennyfoot." The death of Lady Eleanor Danbury (not to mention the missing python, some missing jewelry, a retired colonel's missing pith helmet and someone in Suite 3 that has everyone all a-twitter) could definitely put an end to all of that if word got out. Once Cecily and Baxter suspect that her death may not have been accidental, she decides to do some investigating in hopes of nipping it in the bud without too much outside interference from the local authorities (whom Baxter had once referred to as "a bumbling fool with a lump of hog fat for a brain"). Baxter is right there with her -- whether she likes it or not. He had promised her husband that he would look out for her, after all, and she is only a woman.

Speaking of which, one of the things I greatly enjoyed about this book was the references to the changing times for women. It being 1906 women still had not been given the right to vote. The Women's Social and Political Union was only three years old and Cecily envied those able to go and protest while she was there in her corset -- much to Baxter's dismay.
Through it all, though, Cecily still has Baxter's support -- as well as that of Phoebe, Madeline, her gardener and housekeeping staff ... and the colonel with the missing pith helmet (and, to make matters funnier, more than a few missing marbles). It's a good thing, too, since even when she spells out what she learns the authorities dismiss her. (Granted, this kind of makes a nice change from some cozies where no one ever seems to question the amateur busy-body detective.)
It's been a fast and delightful read. When I left for work last night at 9:45pm I was at 10%. It's now 6:30am and I'm at 77% and I didn't even neglect my work duties in order to read instead! I may, however, neglect part of my morning nap in order to finish it up after I get John off to school ....


  1. Hmm...curious. I love it when a book is on my mind when I'm able to keep reading. Sounds like a winner.

    My TT from Girl Of Mine

  2. Oops. Meant to say when I can't keep reading.

  3. I haven't heard of this series. I'll have to look for book 1. The teaser on my adult blog comes from a mystery - Cold Girl by RM Greenaway. Happy reading!

  4. Nice teaser! Sounds like a good read.

  5. Sounds like fun and a 'new' series for me to try. Always a murder! If we went back in time to a resort, we'd probably feel cheated if there wasn't a murder while we were there, lol.

    Mine this week is Ink and Bone (The Great Library #1) by Rachel Caine at http://wp.me/pZnGI-uD

  6. I feel like I should know this series, but I cannot say with 100% surity that I do. This does sound like a fun series.