Death is the Cure

Death is the Cure is published by Robert Hale Publishers. This is the second in my cosy mystery series: Charlotte Richmond Investigates … In this novel Charlotte — a resourceful young widow who was brought up in Australia but now lives in Hampshire — goes off to Bath where she is soon up to her ears in mayhem and murder.

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Story Outline

When Charlotte Richmond’s dearest friend decides to visit Bath for medical treatment, Charlotte, a young Victorian widow, is delighted to accompany her.

But the spa town turns out to be far less genteel than she anticipates. Their fellow guests at elegant Waterloo House seem to be haunted by secrets and Charlotte is soon embroiled in mysteries, mayhem and murder. When one of the inhabitants of Waterloo House is stabbed to death it is Charlotte who trips over the corpse and begins to ask questions. In the course of her unofficial enquiries her own life is put in peril as she uncovers family secrets and stumbles upon a mystery that could even change the course of history.

What do other people think of it ?

Latest reviews of Death is the Cure.

A Victorian Folly (Sort Of)

What could possibly happen when a young Victorian widow accompanies her dearest friend to Bath for specialised treatment?

When she’s Charlotte Richmond, smart (as in clever), sharp (thanks to an unconventional upbringing), caring (as in loving and loyal) — and with a penchant for becoming entangled in other people’s secrets (whilst trying to keep her own), she could very quickly become immersed in Bath’s hot water (metaphorically speaking).

Charlotte soon realises that her fellow guests at Waterloo House: a charming French pere et fils, a clergyman with delusions of grandeur and a mother to match, an overweening bachelor with an overbearing interest in funerary monuments, and a naval gentleman with a musket ball lodged… exactly where our girl just about manages to avoid learning — are greatly perturbed. Intrigued, Charlotte ferrets for reasons and mid-deduction, following a brutal murder near the guesthouse, nearly meets her own Waterloo.

Now, could ‘who dunnit’ be linked to the mysterious American? Is what the maid took and then returned (kind of), important? Why does a certain hostess take against Charlotte? What about the ‘French question’? (Secrets? Moi?) And as for our heroine’s patchwork past: who has the missing piece (unexpectedly)?

Do read (and Discover All!)

Reviewer: Geraldine Newbrook in The Yellow Room Magazine

Charlotte Richmond made a very successful detective in her first adventure and this second outing confirms her skills. In 1858 she visits Bath with her friend, Elaine Knightley, who is to undergo a startling new medical treatment. The whole atmosphere of Victorian Bath is cleverly evoked — the stuffiness of polite manners, the centrality of illness and the apparently petty concerns of the town’s inhabitants.

The genteel behaviour that Charlotte had expected from the other guests at Waterloo House is not really what she finds. The atmosphere is one of unease with dark secrets hinted at behind elegant facades. The people staying at the guesthouse include a French family whose oldest member appreciates Charlotte’s depths of character, and an American who sees in Charlotte a fellow observer of the world. All the people at the table for each meal show signs of agitation as they receive various comments which seem innocent. These characters develop as we learn more and more about them.

Charlotte returns to the house one day and falls over a corpse on the cobbled mews outside. Shockingly, this is the stabbed body of one of her fellow guests and she feels impelled to ask questions about this event. She uncovers family secrets of both personal and political concern, imperilling her own safety in the process.

Again Nicola Slade has given us an exciting story peopled by memorable Victorians and involving a riveting mystery.

Review in Mystery Women magazine, July 2010

Merry widow Charlotte Richmond has always wanted to see Bath, ever since reading Jane Austen back when she lived in her native Australia. Now she has the chance to do just that, in the company of her best friend Elaine Knightley. They put up at a hotel that caters exclusively to invalids, and discover that their fellow ‘inmates’ are a motley crew indeed. When one of them is murdered Charlotte naturally is keen to discover whodunit, especially when she is sure that at least one person knows about her less than spotless past …

This is the second in an utterly delightful new series of Victorian whodunits, featuring a ‘lady’ with a shady past who cannot help encountering dead people and wishing to find out who killed them. From the tongue-in-cheek dramatis personae to the vein of humor that bubbles throughout like a refreshing spring, this is a highly readable and well paced novel that sows the seeds of the third book and leaves the reader eager for more. Ms. Slade is adept at sketching in people and places rapidly and concocting interesting plots, while keeping her feet on the ground regarding a feel for the period. I look forward immensely to this being a long-running series.

Rachel A Hyde at MyShelf.com

Once again, Nicola Slade has created a novel that not only is dripping with intrigue and wit, but is also moving and poignant. Her attention to the historical detail and her intricate plotting that kept this reader on her toes, makes for a fascinating and entertaining whodunit. But it is in the character of Charlotte that the author excels. She is intelligent, witty, kind and thoughtful and not a little wicked. I can't wait for her next appearance.

Sally Zigmond, novelist and editor — reviewed on Amazon UK

In Death is the Cure we follow the continuing adventures of Charlotte Richmond, left a young widow af the end of Murder most Welcome and happy to be so as her dead husband was a pretty unpleasant character. Elaine Knightley married to, yes Mr Knightley (love this — me and Jeremy Northam anybody…), is an invalid and goes to Bath to take the waters and try a new treatment and Charlotte accompanies her. They take rooms at Waterloo House, an establishment run by a Mrs Montgomery where a disparate collection of lodgers are gathered. Amongst the guests, as Mrs Montgomery prefers them to be called, is an American gentleman, a Mr Tibbins who seems to have an inordinate interest in his fellow residents. They, in turn, evince strong signs of discomfort and annoyance when he talks to them and makes veiled references to their past… Charlotte also has an interest in visiting Bath which has nothing to do with accompanying her friend, but a longing to discover more about her background as her mother was born in this city, but as she is discovering more about her past she comes back to Waterloo House and finds a body… So, we have the classic situation — a collection of suspects all under one roof and all of them with a motive for murder. Running alongside this mystery and Charlotte‘s involvement with the guests is the secret of her family background and the mystery surrounding a French count also residing in Waterloo House with his son and grandchild. Lots of intriguing hints and clues for the reader to puzzle over as well as the Austen references which I enjoyed so much in the previous book. This time we meet Mrs Smith, a resident of Bath — and of course, it was a Mrs Smith who Anne Elliot in Persuasion went to visit on her stay in this city, much to the disgust of her father Sir Walter ‘A Mrs Smith. A widow. Upon my word Miss Anne Eliot you have the most extraordinary taste’. I do like seeing if I can spot these Austen references but only came across this one — wonder if there are any more lurking that I have missed? Great fun and I spent a happy afternoon reading this curled up indoors away from the snow and cold outside.

Elaine Simpson–Long, at Random Jottings, Book Blog

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