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When overweight Thomas Whibley dies, his death sparks an acrimonious correspondence in the local paper about dieting and the dangers of being overweight. Frances Doughty is asked to find out who wrote the libellous letters. At the same time she is approached by a man who has recently been released from prison and who wants to trace his estranged family. It is this latter case which puts Frances in opposition to Inspect Sharrock.

This is an entertaining and well written Victorian mystery which shows extremely well how women had to struggle to make their own living at this period of history. Frances’ reputation is growing and she has plenty of work and she is gradually building up a network of contacts who are willing to help her with information on a quid pro quo basis. I enjoyed reading this fourth episode in the Frances Doughty series. The dialogue and characters are believable and realistic and not everything goes the way of our heroine all the time.

If you like historical crime series then give this one a try. The books can be read in any order though it is interesting to see how the series characters develop if you start with the first one in the series which is ‘The Poisonous Seed.’
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VINE VOICEon 30 August 2014
If you have read any other Frances Doughty Mysteries you will know what to expect in this one. There is a knotty problem for Frances to unravel, and much to her assistant Sarah's consternation she takes on a murder case. She has just agreed to help a man, newly released from prison, find his wife and family when the police march in and arrest him.
The book follows the same sort of pattern as the previous books but Linda Stratmann still wrong footed me when I thought I had things sussed.
Frances is an interesting character, young, clever, observant, making her own way in the world, supporting herself all at a time, in the late 1800's, when most young women had only one ambition, to get married.
I look forward to seeing how she grows.
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on 6 September 2014
I thoroughly enjoyed all of the Frances Doughty mysteries but this was the best, set in Victorian times the theme of being overweight and fad diets endangering health is still relevant today. In the first of the series, The Poisonous Seed, 19 year old Frances takes on the role of detective when her pharmacist father is suspected of being responsible for the death of a gentleman through an error in assisting in the make up of a medicine for indigestion. An Appetite for Murder is the fourth in the series and Frances is now recognised as a lady detective who gets results, the stories are atmospheric, the mysteries original and a revelation at the end regarding one of the characters came as a complete surprise. I would highly recommend reading all four books and I hope Linda Stratmann is hard at work on a fifth. In my opinion readers who enjoy cosy crime will love these mysteries.
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on 6 March 2017
Some things are less surprising than others. Some plot developments are a bit of a shock.
Thoroughly enjoyed it. Thanks.
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on 9 March 2017
Great book, i really like this author, storyline keeps you guessing throughout, many twists and plots along the way.
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on 26 July 2014
I've read all the rest of the Frances Doughty stories, and loved them, particularly as I'm really into Victorian social history. This one, though, wasn't quite as good, I felt, which is why it hasn't got 5 stars. For most of the story, the historical background is just as accurate, and the story just as intriguing, until I got the the part that one character wasn't what he appeared to be - I won't say in what way, so as not to spoil it for others. Of course, we expect characters in murder mysteries not to be quite what they seem, but the scenario in this novel just wasn't believable - for me, at least - and it left me feeling very disappointed that I'd bothered to read it. Sorry, but it was a real let-down, although still beautifully written as all the others.
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Ms Stratmann makes it all look effortless. This tale of Victorian financial shenanigans is extremely easy and pleasant to read. Mr Sweetman approaches Miss Doughty and asks her to find his wife and children who refused to have anything to do with him after he was imprisoned 15 years earlier for theft and assault. From there on it gets extremely complicated, improbable and deliciously amusing. I don't know much about the Victorians but it all seems very well researched and in keeping with what I do know. It is essentially a historical cozy but it is very well written and kept me reading until the end. I think this book is worth a read.
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on 6 August 2014
If you have not read these start now!
We though the first one might be a fluke, utterly enthralling!
They have keep the standard and even improved with each new story.
The characters are "real".
The backgrounds superbly rendered and the period brought to life with masterly accuracy.
Add to this that the mysteries work, all the clues are there, no cheating!
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on 24 June 2014
Have enjoyed all four books, looking forward to the next one . Lady detective who is doing the job to earn money , it' makes a nice change from the country house rich amateur . The first book is to solve a crime in her own family , well everybody has to start somewhere, plenty of very likeable characters.
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on 27 June 2014
Another excellent case for Frances Doughty. This extremely well-realised series of Victorian mysteries is fast becoming my favourite new detective fiction series. I eagerly await the fifth book!
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