Mrs. Jeffries and the Feast of St. Stephen

Mrs. Jeffries and the Feast of St. Stephen by Emily Brightwell

The winter months are in full force, especially here on the frozen east coast.  What better time than to keep the cold, wintery and holiday cozy mystery reviews flowing.  So curl up by a warm fireplace and enjoy more cozy mystery reviews from Wonder Women Sixty.  Let’s start the New Year with a review on one of the Mrs. Jeffries mystery series.

For those of you who follow the Mrs. Jeffries Victorian mystery series, you know her characters and plots are perfect.  For those who have never read a Mrs. Jeffries mystery, it’s definitely time to grab a cup of tea and one of Ms. Brightwell’s wonderful cozy mysteries.

I recently read Mrs. Jeffries and the Feast of St. Stephen and it is one of my personal favorites in the series.  There’s something about Victorian times, especially around the holidays, that adds a personal charm to all the well fleshed out characters – and oh boy, are there ever “characters!”

The mysteries go back to a time where upper crust households had maids, coachmen, cooks and other staff tending to their daily chores to make sure the homes were run like clockwork.  Inspector Witherspoon shines bright throughout the series as heinous crimes seem to appear in his lap – particularly around the holidays.  In this case, a heinous murder right before Christmas.

Inspector Witherspoon adores his fine and efficient staff that run his home to maximum efficiency.  There’s always a home-cooked meal waiting for him when he gets home, and Mrs. Jeffries is always there to lend an encouraging ear when the cases get stymied.   What Witherspoon doesn’t know, is that not only is Mrs. Jeffries in charge of keeping his household running flawlessly, but she organizes the staff in his absence to help find clues to help him solve his cases!

It’s all on the down low as staff scour their list of friends and acquaintances in town for tidbits of information that could just help Witherspoon break a case wide open.  The tricky part comes in when Mrs. Jeffries has to slyly get Inspector Witherspoon the information he needs to solve the murder — in this case, of a wealthy businessman, Stephen Whitfield.  When Mr. Whitfield hosted his festive Yuletide dinner, I’m sure he wasn’t expecting to be done in during the holiday season by one of his guests!

The series is a breath of fresh air as you can feel yourself being transported into Victorian times where folks churned their own butter, baked everything from scratch and hansoms (2 wheel horse drawn carriages) were used to get around – no Ubers in this book!

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