The Pigeon Pie Mystery caught my attention when I read that it was set in Hampton Court Palace during the 1800’s when it was filled with grace and favor residents. These were given by the Queen for service to the crown. The main character in the book has just moved to Hampton Court Palace and thought it would be a great place for a mystery.
Here is Goodreads summary:
When Indian Princess Alexandrina is left penniless by the sudden death of her father, the Maharaja of Brindor, Queen Victoria grants her a grace-and-favor home in Hampton Court Palace. Though rumored to be haunted, Alexandrina and her lady’s maid, Pooki, have no choice but to take the Queen up on her offer.
Aside from the ghost sightings, Hampton Court doesn’t seem so bad. The princess is soon befriended by three eccentric widows who invite her to a picnic with all the palace’s inhabitants, for which Pooki bakes a pigeon pie. But when General-Major Bagshot dies after eating said pie, and the coroner finds traces of arsenic in his body, Pooki becomes the #1 suspect in a murder investigation.
Princess Alexandrina isn’t about to let her faithful servant hang. She begins an investigation of her own, and discovers that Hampton Court isn’t such a safe place to live after all.
With her trademark wit and charm, Julia Stuart introduces us to an outstanding cast of lovable oddballs, from the palace maze-keeper to the unconventional Lady Beatrice (who likes to dress up as a toucan—don’t ask), as she guides us through the many delightful twists and turns in this fun and quirky murder mystery. Everyone is hiding a secret of the heart, and even Alexandrina may not realize when she’s caught in a maze of love.
Pacing: Usually l like a mystery with a slower pace but for me The Pigeon Pie Mystery was a little to slow. There is a lot of history woven into the story and it slowed everything down. The real meat of the story did not start until the last one third of the book.
Characters: HH Princess Alexandrina called Mink is the main character. When her Father died she found out there was not money and was forced to move out of her house and into Hampton Court Palace. At times I did not like Mink much. She ran up bills she knew she could not pay and felt it was her right. She was clever and did solve the mystery. Dr. Henderson was her love interest but we saw little of him and less of the two of them together. Pooki, Mink’s maid was the best character in the book. She provides a lot of humor throughout the story. There is a huge cast of secondary characters and each plays some part in the story. The list is so long that the book starts with a 3 page Cast of Character section.
Mystery: The death that is at the heart of the mystery did not happen until half way through the book. It was intriguing and the solution was unexpected. I did like how it was handled.
Back-story and History: The back-story for Mink was told in more detail than I needed. The author did a lot of research on the history of Hampton Court Palace and much of the history was included in the story. It was interesting but I often felt I was reading a history book not a novel.
All in all this is just a OK book for me. It was so slow I often put it down and picked up something that moved a little faster. This is not an author I will read again
Doubleday published The Pigeon Pie Mystery by Julia Stuart in 2012.
I received a free ARC of The Pigeon Pie Mystery from Amazon Vine