Audiobook review: Death at the Crystal Palace by Jennifer Ashley
Our adventure opens at an outing to the Crystal Palace for Kat, her daughter Grace, and her friends. Mr. Thanos introduces the gang to Lady Covington and her family. She is the widowed sister of Mr. Thanos’s mentor/benefactor. When Kat and Grace are alone, Lady Covington approaches Kat, telling her she’s been poisoned and is convinced that her entire family is trying to kill her. Meanwhile, Kat and Daniel are growing closer, which inadvertently draws her into his dangerous undercover work.
I really enjoy the Kat Holloway Mysteries, shared from the POV of the extraordinary Kat Holloway. She is clever and gifted, both as a cook and investigator. She is buoyed by a special group of friends that transcend the class-barriers. I love listening to Piazza portray Kat as she works through all her hypotheses and recipes. The stories are the perfect blend of Kat’s domestic life, mystery solving, and personal journey. While each is a standalone mystery, there is tremendous character development as the series progresses, as well as a few overarching threads, and the series is best read in order.
Death at the Crystal Palace is another wonderful adventure. There are two simultaneous storylines that work well together. First, Kat is approached by Lady Covington as she in convinced someone in her home is poisoning her. Second, Daniel is undercover working for his dangerous and mysterious employer, trying to discover if a well-known duke is funding the Irish separatists. In addition to these dangerous mysterious, Lady Cynthia’s parents, the Lord and Lady Clifford, come to London under the guise of marrying off Cynthia.
While the mysteries are exciting and well written, this time around, I loved the ongoing side story of Lady Cynthia. She’s become one of Kat’s dearest friends despite their class differential and the protests of Mrs. Bywater. Each relies on the other for honest conversation and true support. Lady C’s budding romance with Mr. Thanos is a delight to watch develop. I also enjoy how Kat has earned the respect of her peers and fellow staff. We see it time and time again in this book, and the scene when the butler, Mr. Davis, lies for Kat is so touching. The author does a great job getting us inside Kat’s head and expressing her emotions, that I feel so close to Kat.
Narration: Kat’s story is shared via her first person POV. The narrator provides a strong, working class female British accent, very suiting to Kat’s role. The narrator changes up her performance for dialogue, adjusting for social class, gender, and age. She is most successful with the other females and the working class characters. Her males are slightly deeper, and generally, each character is unique. While overall I enjoy her performance tremendously, I’m not wow’d by her portrayal of Daniel, which has a whispery quality, making it difficult to follow and a bit too soft at times.
Death at the Crystal Palace is exciting, entertaining, and at times, intense! I so enjoyed seeing Kat continue to develop her friendships, mystery solving skills, and cooking talents while remaining a lovable, caring mother and friend.
About the Book:
While attending an exhibition at the Crystal Palace, young cook Kat Holloway is approached by a woman in distress. Lady Covington is a wealthy widow convinced that her entire family is trying to kill her. Kat feels compelled to help, and she escorts the lady home to discover whether she is delusional or in true danger.
It is quickly apparent that the threat is all too real, and Kat promises aid. Her charming confidant Daniel McAdam is busy infiltrating a plot against the Crown, and she worries he will not have time to lend his sleuthing expertise. This might be for the best, as Kat fears her growing emotional entanglement with Daniel can only lead to disaster. But soon, Kat faces a more serious threat when her involvement in both investigations plunges her into peril.
Author: Jennifer Ashley
Narrator: Anne-Marie Piazza
Series: Kat Holloway Mysteries #5
Genre: Historical Mystery
Audiobook Release Date: August 1, 2021
Publisher: Dreamscape Media
Length: 9 hrs; 31 mins
Audio Speed: 1.3x
Audible/Amazon (affilate link)
Reviews in Series:
Death Below Stairs by Jennifer Ashley (Kat Holloway Mysteries #1) – Audiobook Review
Scandal Above Stairs by Jennifer Ashley (Kat Holloway Mysteries #2) – Audiobook Review
Death in Kew Gardens by Jennifer Ashley (Kat Holloway Mysteries #3) – Audiobook Review
Murder in the East End by Jennifer Ashley (Kat Holloway Mysteries #4) – Audiobook Review