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The Pigeon Pie Mystery: A Novel (edition 2012)

by Julia Stuart

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1952360,388 (3.58)30
Member:tututhefirst
Title:The Pigeon Pie Mystery: A Novel
Authors:Julia Stuart
Info:Doubleday (2012), Hardcover, 336 pages
Collections:Your library, Review copies, On Loan
Rating:****1/2
Tags:ARC, Contest win, fiction, England, Victoriana

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The Pigeon Pie Mystery by Julia Stuart

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Showing 1-5 of 23 (next | show all)
What a charming book! It is a mystery that takes place in Hampton Court's grace-and-favour residences in the late 1890's and is so well-researched it makes my head spin! The character dynamics are taken directly from Victorian manners and protocol, and the descriptions of Hampton Court, its byways and history, are stunning. And let's not forget that visiting said Court was a tourist attraction from way, way back!

The story centers around the daughter of a late Maharajah, whose family fortunes have been retained" by the crown due to the crown's cost of putting down the uprising of the people in Punjar. Our young heroine is reduced to straitened circumstances, including the loss of a fiance, due to the manner of her father's death. And said manner is not delved into at first, making the reading just that much more intriguing.

Relationships between mistress and servant, between married couples, between guests of the grace-and-favour apartments and these apartments' staff are all well-drawn and quite involved. And seemingly quite accurate." ( )
  threadnsong | Jun 18, 2016 |
From the first sentence, "As the hail bounced on the carriage roof, Mink suddenly wondered whether she ought to buy mourning knickers," the reader is caught up in [b:The Pigeon Pie Mystery: A Novel|13330604|The Pigeon Pie Mystery A Novel|Julia Stuart|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1332254523s/13330604.jpg|18538254] by Julia Stuart, an enjoyable tale of manners and mysteries in Victorian London.

Princess Alexandrina (aka Mink) and her maid Pooki are the newest grace-and-favour residents of Hampton Court Palace. The other grace-and-favour residents are mostly widows of military men, and those who have fallen on hard times. The residents remain staunchly (and humorously) upper-class, despite their parsimonious natures or financial changes in circumstances.

Pigeon pies (each adorned with six pigeon legs) are customary at the annual Easter picnic at Hampton Court. Pooki makes the pies for the picnic this year. The pie without eggs, for their loathsome lecherous neighbor Major-General Bagshot, is always distinguished by only three pigeon legs sticking up. As he is eating his third slice, the General suddenly becomes ill, and passes away later that day. As the autopsy shows traces of arsenic in all organs, the cause of death is found to be arsenic poisoning.

To Police Inspector Guppy, Pooki is the obvious suspect. To Mink, Guppy is the police inspector who hasn't got a clue, so she begins her own investigation. Mink makes many discoveries about the other delightful Hampton Court residents, even some that aid in Pooki's defense.

The pace is slow at times, but of course to rush things in Victorian London society is simply not done. I recommend this book, an advance copy of which I received for free through Goodreads First Reads.
( )
  Jane.Reads | May 28, 2016 |
It was the cover that interested me and then the inside flap said Hampton Palace and I couldn't resist; but, this was a silly cartoonish story about an impoverished Indian Princess and her maid with very "big feet." She moves to the palace and socializes with the other impoverished quirky nobility that live as guests of the Queen and for a fair Pooki (her maid) makes Pigeon Pies. Major Bagshot dies after eating one of the pies and it's up to the Princess to clear her and discover the real murderer and find romance. ( )
  Kathy89 | Mar 27, 2016 |
As much as I want to love this author, the stories just don't captivate me. I also read Julia Stuart's other book. Won't be reading any further of her writings. ( )
  anglophile65 | Mar 8, 2016 |
Princess Alexandrina, nicknamed Mink, lives a lavish lifestyle with her widowed father, the Maharaja of Prindur, in London. However, when the Maharaja dies in compromising circumstances, Mink finds herself penniless. Queen Victoria rescues her by offering a "grace-and-favour" home within the Hampton Court Palace. Once she and her servant, the large footed and outspoken Pooki arrives, they are invited to a picnic to meet the other residents. She asks Pooki to bake a pigeon pie for the occasion, a favorite dish for the much reviled and fellow resident, Major-General Bagshot. After eating several slices, the Major-General dies from what is later revealed as arsenic poisoning and Pooki becomes the primary suspect. Mink has little time to do her own sleuthing to uncover the true murderer within the many eccentric residents, each with a motive to want to murder the Major-General.

This cozy mystery will have you guessing while walking with Mink as she gathers clues from the often odd occupants. Juxtaposed with her quest, you will also laugh as Pooki plays matchmaker between Mink and the local physician, Dr. Henderson. ( )
  John_Warner | Jan 19, 2016 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385535562, Hardcover)

Julia Stuart returns in her follow-up to the bestselling The Tower, the Zoo and the Tortoise with this clever murder mystery set in Victorian England, brimming with her signature charm and fabulous characters.

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:02:29 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Moving to the reputedly haunted Hampton Court Palace of Queen Victoria when her father's untimely death renders her penniless, Indian princess Alexandrina is befriended by three eccentric widows before her faithful lady's maid, Pooki, is wrongly accused of murder.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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