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Tessa Arlen Books In Order

Publication Order of Lady Montfort Mystery Books

Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman (2015) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Death Sits Down to Dinner (2016) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Death by Any Other Name (2017) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Death of an Unsung Hero (2018) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Tessa Arlen is an award-winning English author from Chiltern Hills, England best known for the writing of historical mystery series of novels. Arlen is the daughter of a British diplomat and while she was for the most part brought up in England, she spent a lot of time visiting her parents on their postings in continental Europe, India, and Asia. Her Lady Montfort Mystery series are set in the airy beech woods, rolling hills, and flint stone villages, which epitomize the pastoral beauty of the England. While her works has been compared to that of Downton Abey, she asserts that her biggest influences have been the likes of Richard Adams and Kenneth Grahame, who have written works with some of the most detailed and vivid descriptions of England. Her inspiration for her wickedly funny and eccentric characters is an influence from the likes of Nancy Mitford and E.F. Benson. She published the first novel in the Lady Montfort mystery series “Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman” in 2015. The novel was nominated for a Best First Novel of 2016 at the Agatha Awards. The series is still ongoing with a title published every year since 2015. Her historical mystery series are set in the early years of the 20th century, and feature the Countess of Montfort, Clementine Talbot, who resolves a range of mysteries with the help of Mrs. Edith Jackson her redoubtable housekeeper.

Tessa Arlen has always loved historical mystery writing given that apart from English and literature, history was the only subject she had an interest in. While she was a daydreamer and overall terrible student, she was quite good in history. Having been born to a career diplomat, she spent most of her childhood moving from place to place which gave her quite the worldly perspective on history and culture. After her father came back home to England from his duties abroad, she went to a boarding school in the Chilterns, where she found the culture shock quite a jolt. Coming from exotic and rich tropical climates, the frightful food, and drafty dormitories of her Chiltern Hills school was quite depressing. She has asserted that Elfreda Lady Neal the history teacher rescued her from becoming a total wreck during this trying period of her life. Neal was a woman with iron gray hair with a tall and stooped gait who made history come alive. She loved to tell the students that history was just very old gossip, which got the budding author hooked into history and become something of an amateur historian since then. She sat down to write her first novel “Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman” in 2008 and had it published in 2015. She lives in Washington D.C. in the United States and spends her free time indulging in a range of hobbies. Some of her favorite hobbies include gardening and eating, or preparing a meal on the terrace that she asserts is a result of the curse or blessing of her English genes. She also gets inspiration and ideas about her books while gardening or hiking in nature with her dogs.

The Lady Montfort series are set in the early part of the 20th century, which is an era, that Tessa has always been fascinated with. The Edwardian era was a period of great innovation in almost everything from the performing arts, crafts movements and the arts. The era was characterized by an idyllic life for the privileged few who took advantage of the rigid class system their money and, while the less privileged had a harder time of it. The series deals with issues of societal changes, particularly the women’s suffrage movement, and the fight for women’s franchise. The Lady Montfort mystery series feature two women at extreme ends of the social spectrum, who have to deal with issues according to their place in history and their time. Clementine Elizabeth Talbot comes from one of the most ancient of English noble families, and has the title of Countess of Montfort. On the other hand, Edith Jackson her housekeeper was brought up in an orphanage. The two women bridge the societal class divide to collaborate and pool their talents to resolve a range of mysteries in early twentieth century England. The characters interact with people from all walks of life in all kinds of settings from on board an ocean liner, an isolated country house, and dark tenements in London, where they investigate mysterious murders.

“Death of A Dishonorable Gentleman” is an enchanting debut from Tessa Arlen. The lead character is Lady Montfort, a woman who has been making preparations for her summer costume ball for the best part of the year. She loves the responsibility of putting together thousands of details including the flowers and food that will make the event a success. But things go haywire when the degenerate nephew of her husband turns up dead, with Lady Montfort’s son the lead suspect in the police inquiry. Believing that her son is targeted because of class prejudice and snobbery, the Lady Montfort enlists the help of her housekeeper Mrs. Jackson, to try to get to the bottom of the puzzling murder mystery. They are on the trail of two women that went missing on the night of the murder. What they find will leave them astonished and horror-struck at the treachery in human nature. The novel is an elegant mystery full of fascinating descriptions and fascinating characters in the old-fashioned Edwardian mystery style.

“Death Sits Down to Dinner” is the riveting second novel in the Lady Montfort series of novels. Lady Montfort has an invitation from Hermione Kingsley, who needs her to come to a dinner party in honor of Winston Churchill who is turning 39. The invited guests include some of the most noble of families in England, which include the First Lord of the Admiralty an utterly charming and ambitious man. But at the end of the sumptuous dinner, one of the venerable guests remains head down on the table with a dark red blotch in his side, where a knife is stuck in his ribs. With a highly anticipated charity event planned a few days later, the mistress of the house enlists the help of Mrs. Jackson and Lady Montfort in unraveling the mystery of the killer. Their investigation sees them traverse the households of the rich and famous of London, trying to find an elusive killer before he kills again.

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