A Most Agreeable Murder: A Novel (Hardcover)
When a wealthy bachelor drops dead at a ball, a young lady takes on the decidedly improper role of detective in this action-packed debut comedy of manners and murder.
A PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR
Feisty, passionate Beatrice Steele has never fit the definition of a true lady, according to the strict code of conduct that reigns in Swampshire, her small English township—she is terrible at needlework, has absolutely no musical ability, and her artwork is so bad it frightens people. Nevertheless, she lives a perfectly agreeable life with her marriage-scheming mother, prankster father, and two younger sisters— beautiful Louisa and forgettable Mary. But she harbors a dark secret: She is obsessed with the true crime cases she reads about in the newspaper. If anyone in her etiquette-obsessed community found out, she’d be deemed a morbid creep and banished from respectable society forever.
For her family’s sake, she’s vowed to put her obsession behind her. Because eligible bachelor Edmund Croaksworth is set to attend the approaching autumnal ball, and the Steele family hopes that Louisa will steal his heart. If not, Martin Grub, their disgusting cousin, will inherit the family’s estate, and they will be ruined or, even worse, forced to move to France. So Beatrice must be on her best behavior . . . which is made difficult when a disgraced yet alluring detective inexplicably shows up to the ball.
Beatrice is just holding things together when Croaksworth drops dead in the middle of a minuet. As a storm rages outside, the evening descends into a frenzy of panic, fear, and betrayal as it becomes clear they are trapped with a killer. Contending with competitive card games, tricky tonics, and Swampshire’s infamous squelch holes, Beatrice must rise above decorum and decency to pursue justice and her own desires—before anyone else is murdered.
“Despite its title, [A Most Agreeable Murder] is as much a parody of Regency conventions as it is a jaunty sendup of the locked-room mystery. It’s with a loving hand and a gimlet eye that she guides us through one fateful evening among the ever-so-proper elite of the aptly named township of Swampshire.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Without exaggerating, it’s one of the funniest cozy mysteries I’ve ever read.”—Bookriot, “15 of the Best Cozy Mysteries Coming Out in the Second Half of 2023”
“A Most Agreeable Murder begins as social satire and ascends into deadly knockabout farce. . . . There are dotty eccentrics, secret passageways, false identities, a rumored ghost, three acts’ worth of delicious banter—and an irrepressible heroine born from the ashes of her own trial by fire.”—The Wall Street Journal
“An utterly delightful murder mystery . . . A Most Agreeable Murder reads as if a giggly Jane Austen dipped her pen in blood. (Not too much blood, mind you; it’s all quite decorous) . . . I loved every page of this very silly romp.”—The Seattle Times
“A delightfully entertaining debut that kept me engrossed from the beginning right through to the satisfying end . . . Witty and clever, it’s like something Agatha Christie and Jane Austen might have created were they able to collaborate, only with its own wonderfully unique spark.”—India Holton, author of The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels
“I adored this: a comedy of manners meets murder mystery, just as thrilling as it is gorgeous.”—Sophie Irwin, author of A Lady’s Guide to Fortune Hunting
“The book is an entertaining and witty tale that combines elements of Jane Austen’s world with the intrigue of an Agatha Christie mystery. . . . Readers can expect a delightful blend of comedy, suspense, and the pursuit of justice. . . . [Seales] leads readers on a thrilling adventure filled with twists and turns that will keep them guessing until the very end.”—Blogarama
“Absurdly entertaining, with twist upon twist upon twist, A Most Agreeable Murder is a most agreeable read! Jane Austen fans will appreciate the insightful observations as well as the wry humor that pokes fun at certain well-known characters and tropes.”—Mia P. Manansala, author of Arsenic and Adobo
“An utter delight . . . I snorted and swooned my way through this book in record speed—it’s some of the most fun I’ve had reading all year. Cozy mystery fans, this is a must.”—Ashley Winstead, author of The Last Housewife
“Irreverent, satirical, and oh so much fun!”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“[An] exceptional debut . . . Jane Austen fans will be enthralled.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)