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The Deathly Portent (A Lady Fan Mystery) [Kindle Edition]

Elizabeth Bailey
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

Her charm and cajolery may fool the unwary.
Unscrupulous and cunning, as dauntless as she is resolute, the incomparable "Lady Fan" is as ruthless as the killer she is tracking in...

A violent murder has left the village of Witherley aghast. The locals are convinced that a witch doing the devil's work is to blame-a young woman believed to have second sight. The new vicar, Aidan, taking up the cudgels in her defence, fears the witch hunt is escalating out of his control. But help is at hand.

The bright and perceptive Ottilia, once a lady's companion and now bride to Lord Francis Fanshawe, is drawn to Witherley by an insatiable curiosity. Ottilia rapidly uncovers a raft of suspects with grudges against the dead man, one of whom is determined to incriminate the "witch." And as foul play runs rampant, Ottilia must wade through the growing hysteria to unravel the tangle and point a finger at the one true menace...

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 449 KB
  • Print Length: 379 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0425245675
  • Publisher: Berkley; 1 edition (3 April 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005GSYY3U
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #427,762 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Elizabeth Bailey grew up in the open spaces and tropical atmosphere of colonial Africa, one of four siblings with unconventional parents. Reading and drama were part of her life from an early age and both have borne fruit in acting, directing and writing. Elizabeth returned to the England of Mary Quant and Vidal Sassoon and ended up in drama school. Later, Elizabeth discovered her true métier as a writer and fulfilled an early addiction to Georgette Heyer by launching into historical romance. After a lengthy apprenticeship she was published by Harlequin Mills & Boon. Lately, Elizabeth changed direction with her first two Georgian crime novels, THE GILDED SHROUD and THE DEATHLY PORTENT, with Berkley Books (Penguin US). But she still loves writing romance, and is delighted with the opportunity to publish her work independently.

You can find out about Elizabeth Bailey's writing career and her books at and follow her on twitter @lizbwrites.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written Georgian mystery 21 May 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Elizabeth Bailey has been writing about this period for many years and knows it inside out. The historical detail in this book, the second in the Lady Fan series, is perfect, without showing too much. The language is right, the mystery enjoyably puzzling. I can't wait for the next one.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable mystery 28 May 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
More complex than the first book, which in my opinion improves it. When the axle breaks on their carriage, Tillie and Francis are dismayed to hear that the only blacksmith for many miles has been killed the night before. Tillie's sleuthing instinct is immediately alerted. Heading for the village on foot, Francis immediately realises that the death was no accident. He and the curious Tillie are drawn into a complex case where there are several possible suspects, and danger to Tillie herself.

Enjoyable mystery. However, I think that the author, because we see the case through Tillie's eyes/thoughts, does give us a few too many clues as to the villian.
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5.0 out of 5 stars love it! 26 Mar. 2013
By LisaBlc
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Elizabeth, I just so wish that you could write more in this series!!
Fingers crossed :)
Love the characters and the story flows well!! A gentle and uplifting story despite it's plot!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.1 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Historical Murder Romance 14 May 2012
By Mrs. Susan Perkins - Published on
Lord Francis Fanshawe and his new wife Ottilia suffer a breakdown to their carriage. When Ottilia hears a murder has taken place in nearby Witherley she convinces her husband they must stay and look into the case.

This is a lighthearted book, with murder lurking in the background. Ottilia is delightful and Francis is a perfect foil to his wife's unusual interest in murder most foul. They are surrounded by a mixed host of characters who range from the lady of the manor to the landladies of the two village inns who are at loggerheads with one another. Add to this the "witch" accused of being the murderer and the new vicar who is determined to save her and you have a story full of depth and richness set in the times of horse and carriage mode of travel.

A very well written book, I did not come across one typo or grammatical error - a definite bonus when reading as erros can spoil the reader's enjoyment. Well done to Ms Bailey, her editors and publisher.

This is apparently the second book of the "Lady Fan" series. I read the paperback edition and I will certainly go out and buy the first book of the series as this second one is mind grabbing. Want a good read? I recommend "The Deathly Portent".
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good mystery, but disappointing sequel 4 May 2012
By CJ-MO - Published on
The coach of Lord Francis Franshawe and his new bride Ottilia has broken down on the way home from visiting Ottilia's elderly godmother. Francis's groom Ryde walks to the nearby village of Witherley to find a blacksmith. The newlyweds are shocked to learn Duggleby the blacksmith had just been killed when a roof caved in on him the night before. At first the roof collapse seems to be caused by a severe storm, but Lord and Lady Fan learn the villagers think the damage was caused by a witch's curse.

A few days before the accident, Mrs. Cassie Dale had foreseen the roof falling down on Duggleby and now she has been branded a witch. Cassie is forced to take sanctuary with the Reverend Aidan Kinnerton when she is stoned by some of the local boys. Before long, it is discovered that Duggleby was hit in the head before the roof collapsed, but Cassie is still Witherley's number one suspect. Ottilia is glad to have the excuse of a broken-down carriage to stay and talk to some of the residents of Witherley and find out what really happened. Ottilia was recently able to solve a murder that occurred in Lord Francis's family and she is confident she can solve this one. However, Ottilia doesn't count on the depth of the villagers' superstitions or just how dangerous the investigation will become.

"The Deathly Portent" is a follow-up novel to the wonderful series debut The Gilded Shroud. The first book was one of my favorite books of 2011, so I had high expectations for the sequel. Although The Deathly Portent is a good book, it doesn't live up to the excellence of the first book. Lord and Lady Fan are still delightful in the scenes they share. Their love for each other is still strong and they are happy just to spend time together. Lady Fan is kind and capable and doesn't hesitate to take charge, whether it's to play matchmaker or solve a murder. Lord Francis is devoted to Ottilia and is fine with staying in Witherley so she can ask questions regarding the murder until it becomes clear that her life could be in danger because she is getting too close to the truth. Unfortunately, we don't get to see enough of Lord and Lady Fan together, which is the best part of this series.

The people of Witherley think Cassie Dale is a witch and that accusation and the subsequent events is the main focus of the book. Although Cassie is somewhat aloof and prickly, she is a good person and an interesting character, and I enjoy watching her growing friendship with Aidan unfold. On the other hand, with a few exceptions, most of the other residents of Witherley are interchangeable and unlikeable. Almost everyone is hateful toward Cassie and each other. At one points, there is a catfight between two of the women of the town which is ridiculous and detracts from the book.

My main criticism of the book, however, is the way the dialogue of the local people of Witherley is written. I'm sure it is written authentically and it does convey the Georgian England era, but it really slows the pace of the story. Fortunately, buried beneath the confusing language and overly long scenes with the residents of the town, there is an interesting mystery with a unique hero and heroine. Overall, it's a pleasant read, even if it isn't as magical as the prior book. At the end of the book, Ottilia hints to Lord Francis that there could be a time that she gets involved in another investigation, and I enjoy her character enough that I want to read about her next adventures in future installments.

This review was originally written for The Season EZine - 3.5 stars. The book was provided to me in exchange for an honest review.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Needs editing 8 Oct. 2012
By Ginny - Published on
This is a series with great potential if only the author could cut a great deal of excess dialog and superfluous detail from the story. Instead of interesting detail (such as clothing, personal appearances, architectural details, etc.), they seem to be fluff included to puff up the word count and the number of pages. There is a lot of repetitious conversation back and forth -- which include a lot of country dialect for versimilitude. As does another reader I have a problem with the quaint dialect. It may (or may not) be accurate but it frequently gets in the way of the story line. In this sort of story a little would go a long way. So far (I'm about half way through)I find that I am skipping over paragraphs and pages hoping to get to the nub of a scene; the plot line is thin and the story rambles. Ms Bailey runs a blog with tips on how to help writers to improve; perhaps she needs to take her own advice to heart. This is the second author who I've read recently who mentions (in the bio) that she teaches or advises on writing; unfortunately they apparently haven't benefitted from their own advice.

Better luck with the next book.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A cozy, endearing historical mystery 10 Jun. 2012
By Sally Pink Reviews - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
Bailey pens a suspenseful "who-done-it" mystery with The Deathly Portent. Set in the small English town of Witherly, Lord and Lady Fanshawe find themselves stranded when their carriage loses a wheel. Unfortunately for them, the only person in town who can help them with their problem has just been murdered. Can Lady Fan solve the mystery before the murderer strikes again?

Set in the 1800's against a rural English backdrop, the novel opens with the citizens of Witherly chasing Cassie Dale. They call her a witch and blame her for the death of the local blacksmith, Duggleby. Thankfully, the new pastor, Aiden Kinnerton comes to her aid. He's going to need help in solving Duggleby's murder, though. In a stroke of luck - or unfortunate circumstance - Ottila and Francis Fanshawe find themselves stranded when their carriage breaks down. Ottila is a bit of a sleuth and can't help but investigate the circumstances surrounding the blacksmith's death, especially when she discovers the fire which destroyed the smitty was set deliberately to hide the blow on the head that killed him.

Bailey's writing is lush and vivid, striking to the heart of the setting by enveloping the reader into the story with authentic dialogue and rich narrative. I felt like a serving girl at the Pakefield's establishment, the Blue Pig, watching as Ottila investigated Duggleby's death. The pacing takes its time as it introduces the colorful citizens of Witherly and slowly uncovers the clues behind the murder. What makes the wait entertaining is the rich characterization.

The Fanshawes are a delight! Ottila and Francis compliment each other well. Lady Fan is a force to be reckoned with. She's determined, focused, and courageous - which gets her in trouble when danger arises. Lord Fan gives Ottila the space she needs while offering his steadfast support. The suspects shine against Witherly's landscape from the old bittys, to the serving girls, to the witch, to the crusty old lawmen - they're serious, entertaining and all will worm their way into the reader's heart with their very human faults and honest emotions.

The Deathly Portent is a sequel to The Gilded Shroud, but the story reads well as a stand alone. As the suspense builds, the novel culminates in an exciting ending. If you're a fan of historicals and mysteries, you'll enjoy this story. This is my first Elizabeth Bailey novel, and it won't be my last. "The Deathly Portent" sweeps the reader off to another time and place and leaves them breathless.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great historical mystery 22 Sept. 2012
By Deb Guay - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a book that combines a mystery with a romance set in Regency England. The author understands the period she writes about, but what made it most enjoyable for me were the well rounded characters and their interactions. Those relationships between the characters formed the basis for a well plotted mystery that keeps the reader guessing, and the romance makes a delightful sub-plot. The Deathly Portent is extremely enjoyable light reading for fans of either mystery or romantic suspense.
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