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Flapper Fiction

Readers' Cafe

Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman
Her Royal Spyness
Blotto, Twinks and the Ex-King's Daughter
Dying in the Wool
Death At Wentwater Court
The Mitford Murders
A Few Right Thinking Men
Murder and Mendelssohn
A Deadly Measure of Brimstone
The Impersonator
All for a Sister
The Flapper's Fake Fiance
Nobody's Sweetheart Now
Dollface
The Jazz Files
The Wicked City
Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman / Tessa Arlen

Lady Montfort has been planning her annual summer costume ball for months with scrupulous care. Pulling together the food, flowers and a thousand other details for one of the most significant social occasions of the year is her happily accepted responsibility. But when her husband's degenerate nephew is found murdered, it's more than the ball that is ruined. In fact, Lady Montfort fears that the official police enquiry, driven by petty snobbery and class prejudice, is pointing towards her son as a potential suspect. Taking matters into her own hands, the rather over-imaginative countess enlists the help of her pragmatic housekeeper, Mrs. Jackson, to investigate the case, track down the women that vanished the night of the murder, and clear her son's name.

Her Royal Spyness / Rhys Bowen

Her ridiculously long name is Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie, daughter to the Duke of Atholt and Rannoch. And she is flat broke. As the thirty-fourth in line for the throne, she has been taught only a few things, among them, the perfect curtsey. But when her brother cuts off her allowance, she leaves Scotland, and her fianc?? Fish-Face, for London, where she has:

a) worked behind a cosmetics counter-and gotten sacked after five hours b) started to fall for a quite unsuitable minor royal c) made some money housekeeping (incognita, of course) , and d) been summoned by the Queen to spy on her playboy son.

Then an arrogant Frenchman, who wants her family's 800-year-old estate for himself, winds up dead in her bathtub. Now her most important job is to clear her very long family name.

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Blotto, Twinks and the Ex-King's Daughter / Simon Brett

P.G. Wodehouse fans will welcome Brett's zany first in a new series set between the wars among the English aristocracy. When Blotto (aka Devereux Lyminster), the impossibly handsome but slow-witted son of the duchess of Tawcester (pronounced "Taster"), reports that he's found a dead body in the library of the ancestral home, Tawcester Towers, his mother replies, "Not now, Blotto. We have guests." Blotto seeks his highly intelligent sister, Twinks, an amateur detective, for help with this "bit of bother in the library," but since she's still changing after playing tennis, Grimshaw, the butler, deals with the matter instead. Later, Blotto overhears a conversation about a plot to kidnap the daughter of one of the house guests, the ex-king of Mitteleuropia. Together Blotto and Twinks embark on a quest to discover the killer's identity and to prevent the kidnapping. Brett puts a hilarious spin on the traditional British mystery.

Dying in the Wool / Frances Brody

Kate Shackleton, widowed during WWI, has developed a reputation for being able to find people. So much so that a friend met during her wartime service as a nurse with the Voluntary Aid Detachment offers to pay Kate to find her father so that he can be at her wedding a mere five weeks later. And thus begins her new career in this first in a British series.

The missing man was a well-off woolen mill owner outside Leeds, who was last seen one Sunday five years earlier, during the war. Questions abound, and seeking the answers in the traditional society of the mill town or at the manor house takes patience and skill. Kate herself is a modern woman, with her own car and house, but her independence and curiosity offend those not ready to meet women in business settings. Brody, who has written historical fiction, presents a carefully researched setting, with accurate references to the popular culture of the day and clear explanations of the dyeing and weaving processes at the mill.

Death At Wentwater Court / Carola Dunn

More than twenty years ago, Carola Dunn introduced to the world the charming, vivacious and perspicacious Daisy Dalrymple and the tumultuous decade of the 1920s, in an England barely starting to recover from World War I and now undergoing rapid social changes. In early 1923, the young Honourable Daisy Dalrymple has made a decision that shocks her social class--instead of living in the Dower House with her mother and being supported by her relatives, she's decided to make her own living as a writer. Landing an assignment for Town & Country to write a series of articles on country manor houses, Daisy travels to Wentwater Court to research her first piece. There she finds a household in turmoil, filled with holiday guests and recriminations. But that's nothing compared to the uproar when one of those guests drowns in a tragic early-morning skating "accident."

The Mitford Murders / Jessica Fellowes

It's 1920, and Louisa Cannon dreams of escaping her life of poverty in London.

Louisa's salvation is a position within the Mitford household at Asthall Manor, in the Oxfordshire countryside. There she will become nursemaid, chaperone and confidante to the Mitford sisters, especially sixteen-year-old Nancy, an acerbic, bright young woman in love with stories.

But then a nurse -- Florence Nightingale Shore, goddaughter of her famous namesake -- is killed on a train in broad daylight, and Louisa and Nancy find themselves entangled in the crimes of a murderer who will do anything to hide their secret...

Based on an unsolved crime and written by Jessica Fellowes, author of the New York Times bestselling Downton Abbey companion books, The Mitford Murders is the perfect new obsession for fans of classic murder mysteries.

A Few Right Thinking Men / Sulari Gentill

Meet Rowland Sinclair, gentleman and artist living in 1931 Sydney. Friend of the Left, son of the Right, he paints in a superbly tailored, three-piece suit and houses friends who include a poet, a painter, and a feminist sculptress whom he has painted nude and hung it in the drawing room. Is he perhaps in love with Edna? If so, she isn't having any.

One day in December 1931 comes terrible news: Uncle Rowly has been murdered in his home by unknown assailants. The murder prompts Roland to infiltrate the echelons of the old and new guard. Among them are a few "right thinking men," a cadre of conservatives who became convinced of a Communist takeover and have formed a movement to combat it. In time, Rowland's investigation exposes an extraordinary conspiracy with direct personal consequences.

Murder and Mendelssohn / Kerry Greenwood

To the accompaniment of heavenly choirs singing, the fearless Miss Phryne Fisher returns in her 20th adventure with musical score in hand. An orchestral conductor has been found dead and Detective Inspector Jack Robinson needs the delightfully incisive and sophisticated Miss Fisher?s assistance to enter a world in which he is truly lost. Hugh Tregennis, not much liked by anyone, has been murdered in a most flamboyant mode by a killer with a point to prove. But how many killers is Phryne really stalking? At the same time, the dark curls, disdainful air and the lavender eyes of mathematician and code-breaker Rupert Sheffield are taking Melbourne by storm. They?ve certainly taken the heart of Phryne?s old friend from the trenches of WWI, John Wilson.

A Deadly Measure of Brimstone / Catriona McPherson

Catriona McPherson's critically acclaimed mystery series set in 1920s Scotland and featuring plucky and laugh-out-loud-funny heroine Dandy Gilver is perfect for fans of PG Wodehouse or?Agatha Christie. In A Deadly Measure of Brimstone, Dandy and the whole Gilver clan travel to a spa town for a weekend of relaxation which is quickly interrupted by a slew of mysterious-- and deadly--events. The men of the Gilver family have come down, between them, with influenza, bronchitis, pneumonia and pleurisy. The family repairs to the town of Moffat, there to submit to the galvanic wraps and cold salt rubs of the splendid Laidlaw Hydropathic Hotel. But all is not well at the Hydro, and the secret of the lady who arrived but never left cannot be kept for long.

The Impersonator / Mary Miley

In 1917, Jessie Carr, fourteen years old and sole heiress to her family's vast fortune, disappeared without a trace. Now, years later, her uncle Oliver Beckett thinks he's found her: a young actress in a vaudeville playhouse is a dead ringer for his missing niece. But when Oliver confronts the girl, he learns he's wrong. Orphaned young, Leah's been acting since she was a toddler.

Oliver, never one to miss an opportunity, makes a proposition -- with his coaching, Leah can impersonate Jessie, claim the fortune, and split it with him. The role of a lifetime, he says. A one-way ticket to Sing Sing, she hears. But when she's let go from her job, Oliver's offer looks a lot more appealing. Leah agrees to the con, but secretly promises herself to try and find out what happened to the real Jessie. There's only one problem: Leah's act won't fool the one person who knows the truth about Jessie's disappearance.

Set against a Prohibition-era backdrop of speakeasies and vaudeville houses, Mary Miley's Minotaur Books/Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel Competition winner The Impersonator will delight readers with its elaborate mystery and lively prose.

All for a Sister / Allison Pittman

In Hollywood during the Roaring Twenties, Celeste DuFrane has it all. Her father's work with color movie film opens doors that lead to the stardom she's always aspired to. But after losing her mother, she discovers that half the estate has been left to a woman accused of killing Celeste's baby sister before Celeste was even born. Dana Lundgren arrives on the steps of the DuFrane mansion having spent most of her life imprisoned for a crime that never happened. After accusing her of murder so many years ago, why did Marguerite DuFrane leave her a sizeable inheritance? As Celeste and Dana learn each other's stories, they come up with more questions than answers. Then a surprising discovery begins to fill in the missing pieces: Marguerite DuFrane's written confession, penned shortly before her death.

The Flapper's Fake Fiance / Lauri Robinson

An inconvenient attraction ... To her convenient fianc?! Patsy Dryer may be a biddable heiress by day, but nothing will stop her from dancing all night in Hollywood's speakeasies - or fulfilling her dream of becoming a reporter. She's investigating the mystery of an escaped convict with brooding, handsome newspaper editor Lane Cox ... until they must pretend to be engaged.?With their scoop linked to Lane's tragic past, dare Patsy hope for a happy ending for their own story, too?

Nobody's Sweetheart Now / Maggie Robinson

August 1924. Lady Adelaide Compton has recently (and satisfactorily) interred her husband, Major Rupert Charles Cressleigh Compton, hero of the Somme, in the family vault in the village churchyard. Rupert died by smashing his Hispano-Suiza on a Cotswold country road while carrying a French mademoiselle in the passenger seat. With the house now Addie's, needed improvements in hand, and a weekend house party underway, how inconvenient of Rupert to turn up! Not in the flesh, but in - actually, as a - spirit. Rupert has to perform a few good deeds before becoming welcomed to heaven - or, more likely, thinks Addie, to hell. Before Addie can convince herself she's not completely lost her mind, a murder disrupts her careful seating arrangement. Which of her twelve houseguests is a killer? Her mother, the formidable Dowager Marchioness of Broughton? Her sister Cecilia, the born-again vegetarian? Her childhood friend and potential lover, Lord Lucas Waring? Rupert has a solid alibi as a ghost and an urge to detect. Enter Inspector Devenand Hunter from the Yard, an Anglo-Indian who is not going to let some barmy society beauty witnessed talking to herself derail his investigation. Something very peculiar is afoot at Compton Court and he's going to get to the bottom of it - or go as mad as its mistress trying.

Dollface / Renee Rosen

America in the 1920s was a country alive with the wild fun of jazz, speakeasies, and a new kind of woman?the flapper. Vera Abramowitz is determined to leave her gritty childhood behind and live a more exciting life, one that her mother never dreamed of. Bobbing her hair and showing her knees, the lipsticked beauty dazzles, doing the Charleston in nightclubs and earning the nickname ?Dollface.??As the ultimate flapper, Vera captures the attention of two high rollers, a handsome nightclub owner and a sexy gambler. On their arms, she gains entr?e into a world filled with bootleg bourbon, wailing jazz, and money to burn.? She thinks her biggest problem is choosing between them until the truth comes out. Her two lovers are really mobsters from rival gangs during Chicago?s infamous Beer Wars, a battle Al Capone refuses to lose.

The Jazz Files / Fiona Veitch Smith

Introducing Poppy Denby, a young journalist in London during the Roaring Twenties, investigating crime in the highest social circles It is 1920. Twenty-two year old Poppy Denby moves from Northumberland to live with her paraplegic aunt in London. Aunt Dot, a suffragette who was injured in battles with the police in 1910, is a feisty and well-connected lady. Poppy has always dreamed of being a journalist, and quickly lands a position as an editorial assistant at the Daily Globe. Then one of the paper's hacks, Bert Isaacs, dies suddenly and messily. Poppy and photographer Daniel Rokeby (with whom Poppy has an immediate and mutual attraction) begin to wonder if Bert was pushed. His story was going to be the morning lead, but he hasn't finished writing it.

The Wicked City / Beatriz Williams

When she discovers her husband cheating, Ella Hawthorne impulsively moves out of their SoHo loft and into a small apartment in an old Greenwich Village building. Her surprisingly attractive new neighbor, Hector, warns her to stay out of the basement at night. Tenants have reported strange noises after midnight - laughter, clinking glasses, jazz piano - even though the space has been empty for decades. Back in the Roaring Twenties, the place hid a speakeasy.

In 1924, Geneva "Gin" Kelly, a smart-mouthed flapper from the hills of western Maryland, is a regular at this Village hideaway known as the Christopher Club. Caught up in a raid, Gin becomes entangled with Prohibition enforcement agent Oliver Anson, who persuades her to help him catch her stepfather Duke Kelly, one of Appalachia's most notorious bootleggers.

Headstrong and independent, Gin is no weak-kneed fool. So how can she be falling in love with the taciturn, straight-arrow Revenue agent when she's got Princeton boy Billy Marshall, the dashing son of society doyenne Theresa Marshall, begging to make an honest woman of her? While anything goes in the Roaring Twenties, Gin's adventures will shake proper Manhattan society to its foundations, exposing secrets that shock even this free-spirited redhead - secrets that will echo from Park Avenue to the hollers of her Southern hometown.

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