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The Governess by H. R. F. Keating
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The Governess (1983)

by H.R.F. Keating, Evelyn Hervey (Pseudonym)

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  aurelas | Dec 23, 2016 |
A Victorian cozy mystery written by H.R.F. Keating under a pen name. This is the first in a trilogy. It was a fun, light, quick read for me. Overdramatic and unrealistic, especially in the portrayal of the stubborn police inspector. However, it was a pleasant romp with lots of atmosphere and dealings with the downstairs goings on in a Victorian household. The mystery was not too complicated being more involved in proving the governess's innocence than in a real secret of who the perpetrator was but, the reveal for motive at the end was amusing. Nothing too stimulating but an entertaining cozy read to which I'd most certainly read the sequels. ( )
  ElizaJane | Mar 25, 2015 |
Miss Harriet Unwin is the featured sleuth in this novel, which is the first in a series of three mysteries written by HRF Keating in his guise as Evelyn Hervey. Had I written this novel, I would have disguised my identity as well.

In a nutshell, the story is as follows: Miss Harriet Unwin is a governess in a Victorian home, where three generations of the same family live together. The family name is Thackerton, made wealthy by their invention of a steam process for making hats. Mr. Thackerton senior is soon found stabbed to death in his library, and suspicion falls on the governess. Of course, she's innocent, but threatened with arrest or worse (being turned out of the household to face a life of poverty), she feels that she must clear her name. The police sergeant is a major bumbler, but soon Harriet finds herself out of the loop of suspects. But wait...after a second murder, her fortunes change yet again...but with an entire house filled with suspects, the road to cleariing herself is an uphill one.

Sounds good, right? And it really could have been, had it been written well. I have a fondness for Victorian settings as well as governesses, so I was looking forward to this one, but as things progressed, I had to force myself to finish this one. The characters are all flat, the solution is anything but satisfactory, and comes out of nowhere at the end of the novel. I couldn't feel even the slightest amount of pity for the heroine, which is really sad.

Perhaps this one is more for people who enjoy cozy mysteries set in historical time periods, but serious mystery readers might want to skip this one. ( )
  bcquinnsmom | Dec 31, 2009 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Keating, H.R.F.Authorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hervey, EvelynPseudonymmain authorall editionsconfirmed
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That is until William Thackerton is found stabbed and Harriet is accused of murder.... In a desperate attempt to prove her innocence, she embarks on a daring scheme to save herself from the gallows. In doing so she uncovers the dark secrets which the family is trying to hide behind a veneer of Victorian respectability.… (more)

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