Monday, February 6, 2023

Book Review: Of Manners and Murder by Anastasia Hastings (Dear Miss Hermione Mysteries #1)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Characters and plot in a fun historical hook
Cons: A few minor things
The Bottom Line:
Written plea for help
Violet must find a killer
In this fun debut

Dear Miss Hermione, Can You Solve My Murder?

I’m always on the lookout for new series that sound like fun, so Of Manners and Murder immediately caught my eye. Despite the fact that I don’t need any new series, I decided to read it, and I’m glad I did. 

This book takes us to the late 1800’s London and introduces us to half-sisters Violet and Sephora Manville. Their father was in the foreign service, so they’ve grown up all over the world, but now that they are both orphaned, they are living with their aunt Adelia. 

And Adelia has just dropped a bombshell on Violet. Adelia is the woman behind the extremely popular advice column Dear Miss Hermione. And, since Adelia is heading to the continent with her latest beau, she wants Violet to take over the column. 

As if that weren’t overwhelming enough, one of the first letters that Violet receives is from a young woman who thinks her life is in danger. She even includes newspaper clippings with pictures of her suspects. Violet can’t help but be concerned, so she travels to the woman’s village only to arrive in time for her funeral. Violet feels compelled to figure out what happened. Which of those suspects killed her?

I found the premise of an early advice columnist to be lots of fun. We see a few of her letters over the course of the book, not just the one that set off the plot. 

The book is told mostly from Violet’s first-person point of view, but we get a few passages from Sephora’s first-person point of view as well. These switches are always clearly labeled so it is easy to keep track. 

This also helps us get to know both of them well. Unfortunately, Sephora still comes across as a bit shallow, but she’s supposed to. I hope we can see some growth in her in future books. Violet and the rest of the cast are great, and there are some I’m looking forward to seeing again in future books. 

The plot is strong. It does a good job of introducing characters and the situation without slowing things down. And then it keeps moving, pulling us into the story. I did feel the climax was a little abrupt, although the ending was completely logical. 

I’m very curious how writing this advice column will continue to get Violet into mysteries. If you are looking for a fun historical with a different set up, be sure to check out Of Manners and Murder

Note: I received an ARC of this book.


  1. I enjoyed this book too, Mark. I enjoyed your review as it highlights everything I enjoyed as well.

  2. I was eyeing this at NetGalley over the weekend and then saw three reviews among blog friends. I think I'll go back and request the audio.
    I'm glad that you liked it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.


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