The Pigeon Pie Mystery by Julia Stuart
I started this book with a little trepidation. I don’t usually like books that are set in the Victorian era or, really, any era that involves women taking four hours to get ready in the morning with the help of their ladies’ maids. There is far to much romanticizing, idealizing of these eras which, more often than not, results in a boring book. I picked it up, hoping against hope for a quick read, certain that, in fact, I was going to be bored out of my mind.
Oh boy. I was wrong.
Mink is the Maharaja’s daughter, granted a home at Hampton Court Palace as a grace-and-favour resident after the death of her father. Grace-and-favour warrants are leases granted free of charge by the monarch to subjects for their services to the queen. In this book, the residents consisted mainly of the widows of high ranking officials, especially after one of the few male residents keels over dead after eating a particularly ugly pigeon pie.
Of course, it’s a mystery. It falls to Mink to figure out whodunit because the inspector on the case seems useless and her maid is at the top of the suspect list.
But, the plot doesn’t matter in this particular book. It’s a stellar plot, really. But the point of this book is it’s complete and utter awareness of it’s genre – Victorian era mystery. From the very beginning, it sets out to make light of the setting, the people, the situations. Turn after turn of absurdity and suddenly, you’re at the end, and you’ll never look at a pigeon, a bicycle, or wallpaper the same way again.
This week, I’m on to 419, a book that’s already chilling me to the bone.