England -- fiction
Have you met Flavia de Luce? The girl genius/sleuth, whose adventures began with The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, finds her young and eventful life in discord after the events of Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd. In the latest mystery, The Grave's a Fine and Private Place, Flavia, her family, and her faithful, brilliant, and PTSD-stricken family retainer Dogger, whilst taking a lengthy boating outing complete with picnic hamper, snag something utterly unlike the fish they hoped to enjoy for dinner. No, indeed, their catch is a young man—or, was a young man—dressed in tights and wearing one red silk slipper.
Will Somers was nobody’s fool—until he became the King’s Fool. Born in the medieval English countryside, he should have led the rest of his life unremarkably, as an undersized farmhand who happened to be able to read and write and add figures—and tell jokes, which there wasn’t much need for on his uncle’s small farm.
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Four girls are best friends and inseparable at Salten, a second-rate boarding school near the cliffs of the England Channel. They are notorious for playing the Lying Game, telling lies to both fellow boarders and faculty. Their little game has consequences when they soon learn their shared past was not as safely buried as they had once hoped. (catalog summary)
If you're waiting for The Lying Game, or, you would like to read more titles like it, check out these titles:
Gossip of the Starlings by Nina Gramont
When Catherine Morrow is admitted to the Esther Percy School for Girls, it's on the condition that she reform her ways. But that's before the beautiful and charismatic Skye Butterfield, daughter of the famous Senator Butterfield, chooses Catherine for her best friend. Skye is in love with danger and the thrill of breaking rules, taking risks, and crossing boundaries, no matter the stakes. The problem is, the stakes keep getting higher, and Catherine can neither resist Skye nor stop her from taking down everyone around her. (catalog summary)
When Philip and his brother Francis were small boys, their knightly father and beloved mother were slain in front of them. The enemy soldiers were about to do likewise to the children, when a monk from the neighboring priory intervened, promising God’s wrath would descend on the soldiers should they continue their slaughter of innocents. The soldiers stood down.
For such was the power of the Church in the 12th century that even bloody-minded men-at-arms would take heed of a religious man’s words.
2017 falls during the 100th anniversary of World War I, and The Summer Before the War is the perfect novel to remind us of the world-changing conflict’s impact. In the novel, England is in the midst of fighting the Great War. For the small town of Rye in Sussex, all of the moral complexities of that war are realized. Helen Simonson is a master of gentle and sometimes fierce satire in this comedy of manners, as she was in her first novel, Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand.
The first three parts of The Summer Before the War have a lighter tone as the characters are gently satirized for their foibles. There is nostalgia for the Edwardian innocence still left in the town of Rye, but cruel prejudice and gossip also reside in the town. All the characters seem like good people, but Helen Simonson cleverly reveals their flaws. Beatrice Nash enters the scene as the first female Latin “master” for the local grammar school. Beatrice has recently lost her father, whom she idolized, but she will not bow to the dictates and restrictions of how her family and society want her to lead her life, so she must earn her way.
It takes a serious case to bring Scotland Yard detectives to the countryside, but, without doubt, that is what the local Bobbies have on their hands. Detective John Madden, a hollow-eyed veteran of the Great War, has a knack for discovering the truth behind baffling crimes, even if his manner leaves some of the more politically savvy officers cold. In the case of the violent murder of a fine, upstanding family, the horrors presented are disconcertingly familiar to him, even if they do not match their otherwise bucolic village setting.
The mystery behind Rennie Airth’s River of Darkness unfolds in a time when class distinctions were still very real, but the 1920s was also a period of greater freedom, when some women, such as the village’s lovely Dr. Helen Blackwell, might discover other outlets for their interests and passions. All the while, men who had survived the war might not survive the battles that raged in their minds. Psychiatry was still in its infancy, and fingerprints, as well as casts of footprints and tire tracks, were the common limits of scientific investigation. The rest was up to logic, hard experience, curiosity, and intuition.
Dr. Ruth Galloway, heroine of Elly Griffiths’ popular set of mysteries, has been called to the rural parish of Little Walsingham to investigate a mysterious murder. Galloway, a devout atheist, has managed to avoid Walsingham for the last 17 years since she’s been in Norfolk. The town is crawling with religious fanatics and devoted Christians.
Orphans Molly and her younger brother Kip are looking for work away from their home in famine-stricken Ireland. They find it at the Windsor estate, an isolated, sprawling house in England that is a lot more than it seems.
As they work and live with the Windsors, Molly and Kip begin to discover that the atmosphere of the old, crumbling mansion is slowly taking the life force of the once-cheerful family of four.
Two years after the infamous and hideous Black Plague swept the continent of Europe, 18-year-old Oswald de Lacy finds himself the Lord of Somershill.
Although he does not wish to claim the title, he has no other choice since the Sickness took his father and two older brothers, leaving him to deal with a crumbling estate; an overbearing, paranoid mother; an unmarried, spoiled sister; and extremely fearful peasants.