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Mrs Jeffries and the Feast of St.Stephen (Berkley Prime Crime Mysteries) Mass Market Paperback – 7 Oct 2008

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Mrs Jeffries and the Feast of St.Stephen (Berkley Prime Crime Mysteries) + Mrs. Jeffries and the Yuletide Weddings (Berkley Prime Crime Mysteries)
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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 263 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley Books (7 Oct 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425224279
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425224274
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 1.9 x 17.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 414,146 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Born Richwood, West Virginia November 10, 1948.
Married May 1976 to Richard Arguile.
First published by Silhouette Special Edition: "Kindred Spirits" March 1990.
First published by Berkley: "Inspector and Mrs. Jeffries" February 1993.
First three titles in the series published in UK by Constable and Robinson November 2013. Next four titles available as eboks June 2014.
Latest published mystery - November 2013 - #32 in series - Mrs. Jeffries and the Merry Gentlemen"
Currently living in Alameda, California. Supports Everton FC.

Product Description

Berkley Crime Mysteries Series.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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First Sentence
"I do hope you like this, Stephen. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By L. J. Roberts TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 3 Dec 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
First Sentence: `I do hope you like this, Stephen."

Stephen Westfield is hosting a small Yuletide dinner, but dies in the middle of the feast. The doctor identifies the cause of death as foxglove poisoning. Detective Inspector Witherspoon is wealthy in his own right, a very generous employer and has a perfect record solving murders.

What DI Witherspoon doesn't know is that his extremely loyal staff, and others around him, investigates the murders behind the scenes, ensuring he is given all the credit.

Lighter than books I usually read, it was quite delightful. Even though it was the 23rd book in the series, I was given enough background on each character to understand them and how they fit into the story. The story is remarkably visual considering its relatively short length (263 pages). Both those elements commend themselves to the quality of Ms. Brightwell's writing.

The plot could have been stronger. I did identify the killer and motive fairly early in the story. I did appreciate that the author didn't make the Witherspoon seem stupid. There was a feeling that he could have reached the same results had his background investigators been the modern-day equivalent of a police, rather than be required to work behind the scenes. It may have been only my perception, but it certainly improved my view toward the book.

If you are looking for an enjoyable Victorian traditional mystery, you might try this.
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By Mrs. M. A. Minster on 11 July 2014
Format: Hardcover
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. RJ KING on 29 Jan 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I was disappointed with this thriller.It was not an easy read and I will not be reading any more of these.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 26 reviews
24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
What a Feast! 12 Oct 2007
By drebbles - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It's Christmas time and Stephen Whitfield is having a small dinner party. Tensions are running a bit high at the dinner especially since the woman Stephen had hoped to marry, Eliza Graham, seems a bit too friendly with Hugh Langford, the guest she brought to the dinner party. Rosalind Murray, Stephen's sister-in-law, is none too happy about the attention Stephen is paying to Eliza. Maria and Basil Farringdon think Stephen is a bit of a snob and Maria gives Stephen a bottle of Bordeaux that is much more expensive than the port he gave them for Christmas. While all the guests seem to dislike Stephen, it's still a shock when someone poisons the Bordeaux and Stephen dies. Inspector Gerald Witherspoon is given the case to investigate since his record of solving murders is unblemished. What he doesn't realize is that his household staff, led by housekeeper Mrs. Jeffries, has been working behind the scenes to help him solve his cases. But this case is far more complex than anything else they've worked on and it begins to look like they may not be able to solve this one.

Emily Brightwell's Inspector and Mrs. Jeffries series gets better and better with each book and "Mrs. Jeffries and the Feast of St. Stephen" is the best of a wonderful group of books. The setting is Victorian England and Brightwell does a great job of capturing the time period and bringing little bits of trivia into the books (in this book Christmas trees are a novelty). The characters are all wonderfully written including Inspector Witherspoon, who is getting better at solving mysteries but still needs his household staff to help him even if he doesn't know it; Constable Barnes who knows what it going on and is happy to have help; Mrs. Jeffries; Mrs. Goodge, the cook; footman Wiggins, maid Betsy; coachman Smythe; eccentric American Luty; and her faithful butler and sparring partner Hatchet. Those who read Mrs. Jeffries and the Best Laid Plans will be eager to find out how Betsy and Smythe resolve the problems in their relationship after he "left her at the altar" and Brightwell doesn't disappoint in that plot line. I've read all 23 books in the series and am always amazed at how much I still learn about these characters in each book. In this book I learned some things about Mrs. Goodge and Hatchet that added more to their character. The mystery is extremely well written and plotted and just like the inspector and his staff, I was completely baffled as to who the killer was and was shocked when the identity was finally revealed. Many cozy mystery books have blurbs on the cover comparing the author to Agatha Christie, but Emily Brightwell lives up to that comparison - the solution to the murder was truly Christie-like.

One of the themes in the Mrs. Jeffries mysteries is how Witherspoon's staff has become like a family to each other and Witherspoon (there's a very touching and funny scene towards the end of the book that shows how much Witherspoon cares for them). At this point, Witherspoon and Mrs. Jeffries and the rest of the staff also feel like family to me - I love my visits into their world and can't wait to visit it again.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
A clever Victorian cozy 9 Oct 2007
By Bookworm - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Mrs. Jeffries and the Feast of St. Stephen is the latest in Emily Brightwell's Victorian cozy murder mystery series. This series never gets predictable or boring, as Brightwell gives each book a unique stamp. This book is no exception. The mystery in this book is rather complicated for the staff of Inspector Witherspoon to figure out and indeed, the Inspector comes close to handing the case to someone else. There is a keen sense of tension and anticipation throughout the book as you hope the staff can figure out who murdered the aristocratic Stephen Whitfield before the case gets handed to the odious Inspector Nivens!

I highly recommend this book to all fans of the series as well as to anyone who enjoys a cracking good Victorian murder mystery without any blood, gore, or bad language.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Wonderful Victorian cozy! 4 Feb 2008
By S. Schwartz - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I have been following the lives of the people at Upper Edmonton Gardens for some time now, and I really enjoyed this book. It is a Christmas cozy, and that alone would make it fun for me, but the story is a good one. I find that these stories keep getting better and better. In this book Mrs. Jeffries and her Inspector are trying to solve a murder of one of the gentry. The murder occurs about two weeks before Christmas, and Inspector Witherspoon is under some pressure to have the case solved by Christmas. It's a complex case with a real twist, and even Mrs. Jeffries has difficulty with it at first. This is a truly deligtful little book with all the wonderful characters that are like friends to me now.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
23rd in a series--and a most delightful cozy 29 Oct 2007
By Armchair Interviews - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Yuletide preparations abound in Victorian London. One celebration is the party Stephen Whitfield is hosting for a few select guests. How rude-the host didn't make it through dinner. He fell forward into his soup, dead. Now six guests are suspects, including a sister-in-law, boyhood friends, and a romantic interest, but who would want to kill Stephen?

Each with their own special connections, Mrs. Jeffries and her below-stairs friends and fellow workers secretly help their employer, Inspector Gerald Witherspoon, solve his latest murder. He can use the help. Christmas is just around the corner and his superiors want the murder of wealthy Stephen Whitfield solved before December 25.

With Witherspoon's nemesis Inspector Nevins waiting in the wings to see him fail and each lead exonerating a suspect, everyone must work harder at pursuing leads and solving the murder.

Emily Brightwell uses slight of hand to build intrigue from the beginning of the story. She skillfully weaves leads throughout the book. The challenge is laid down before you, but are you capable of solving the mystery before Mrs. Jeffries or Inspector Witherspoon?

Humor and romance aren't forgotten during the course of the book. In-depth descriptions of the people and places of the Victorian Era set you firmly in each scene. A pleasant surprise was the spacing used to introduce characters and their traits.

Armchair Interviews says: This is the 23rd book in a delightful series of cozy mysteries. Come, join the search and solve the mystery before the feast of St. Stephen.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Blimey It Was Boring 26 April 2012
By Carla C. Thomas - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I do so love a British mystery. I love it when the pages just eek out tweed and Earl Grey and scones. British mysteries are so very staid and so very proper and so very un-American. It's refreshing. But alas, this one was a dud.

There were so many characters to keep track of that's it's hard to find one to focus on and identify with. Of all, Mrs. Jeffries (of the title, duh!) seems to be the character the action centers around although we don't really learn much about her or from her. The mystery itself was a small pleasure--the main characters made for a lot red herrings so that did keep me guessing and there was a surprise at the end. My favorite part was the on-again/off-again romance of two minor characters in the list of seven or more detectives.

Overall, it was a BOOK and I never forgot that, I never got lost in it. Mrs. Jeffries, you and I shall part ways here. I wish I could have said it was a pleasure.....
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