Book Review: Murder at the Mayfair Hotel

Finding the Book

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Murder at the Mayfair Hotel by C.J. Archer wasn’t even on my To Read list.  The first book in the Cleopatra Fox Mysteries series was a complete accidental find for me.  And what a sweet surprise!

I know, I know…we’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover.  But, in my defense, I didn’t judge this book by its cover; I simply chose this book based on its cover!

Lately I’ve been trying to utilize audiobooks as I find myself feeling “behind” in my reading, and this is really such a great way to get in just a few more books.  While I was searching the Hoopla app to find a new audiobook, a gorgeous book cover – purple with black silhouettes telling me this was a turn-of-the-century British setting – just seemed to beckon me.

I did go ahead and read the description of the book, and since it exceeded my basic criteria of an audiobook read, I started it immediately.  And then I couldn’t stop!  It’s Seriously.That.Good.

About the Book

During the last week of the year 1899 (cue music intro by Prince partying like it’s the end of a century), we find our young lady friend, Cleo, arriving at the upscale Mayfair Hotel.  She is moving into the hotel to live with her only remaining family due to the death of her grandparents.  Cleo hasn’t married at the age of 23, and during this era, other relatives take in young ladies in these situations.

Cleo’s aunt, her deceased mother’s sister, along with her husband and two young adult children live in this hotel, also a norm for this time period.  Instantly in the story, Cleo’s personality is revealed, and the hotel staff characters are showcased.  By the end of the book, I was completely attached to several staff members!

The arrival of Cleo on Christmas Eve starts a week of suspense leading up to the climactic New Year’s Eve Ball, an annual event at the hotel.  During this week, Cleo tries to find her place in her new family, in her new environment, and in her new amateur occupation of sleuth.

By the end of the book, the questions are answered and Cleo is starting to envision what’s next for her story.

From the Publisher:  It was the most fashionable place to stay in London, until murder made a reservation. Solve the puzzle in this new cozy historical mystery from USA Today bestselling author of the Glass and Steele series.

December 1899. After the death of her beloved grandmother, Cleopatra Fox moves into the luxury hotel owned by her estranged uncle in the hopes of putting hardship and loneliness behind her. But the poisoning of a guest on Christmas Eve throws her new life, and the hotel, into chaos.

Cleo quickly realizes no one can be trusted, not Scotland Yard and especially not the hotel’s charming assistant manager. With the New Year’s Eve ball approaching fast and the hotel’s reputation hanging by a thread, Cleo must find the killer before the ball, and the hotel itself, are ruined. But catching a murderer proves just as difficult as navigating the hotel’s hierarchy and the peculiarities of her family.

Can Cleo find the killer before the new century begins? Or will someone get away with murder?

What I Love

The Setting  

Give me anything pre-1950 back a 100 years or so, place it anywhere in England, and I will read it.  I have no explanation why I adore this type of setting so much; I just do.  And it has never disappointed me.

The Characters

From the heroine to the supporting guy to the hotel staff to the villains.  I found every single character to be thoroughly enjoyable.

The Narration

I have struggled with listening to audiobooks over the years and have never fully embraced it.  I’m so stuck on traditional books that I can hold in my hands.  But the narrator of this book was superb.  I instantly melded the voice with my imagined character and immensely enjoyed the audio version of the story.

If you enjoy a good cozy mystery, a setting in the 1900 years, or even just a London atmosphere, this is absolutely a book I highly recommend.  I’m completely hooked and will be pre-buying the second book, excitedly awaiting its release!

The second book in the Cleopatra Fox Mysteries series is scheduled to be out on June 1, 2021 and you can preorder it here.

See all the books by C.J. Archer and find her website, newsletter and social media to follow here.

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