Scandal Above Stairs by Jennifer Ashley

Scandal Above Stairs

Jennifer Ashley

When a priceless artwork goes missing followed by a murder in Victorian London, Kat Holloway must use all of her wits to see that the thieves are caught and justice is done.

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From the New York Times bestselling author of Death Below Stairs

A mystery of stolen antiquities has Kat Holloway setting aside her apron once again for the intrigues of the upper echelons of Victorian London


Priceless artwork has gone missing from the home of a wealthy baronet, and his wife stands to take the blame. When Kat's employer asks for help in clearing her friend's name, Kat trades her kitchen for the homes of Mayfair's wealthiest families. Soon antiques are disappearing not only from the extravagant households of connoisseurs and collectors, but from the illustrious British Museum.

As the thefts increase in frequency, Kat calls upon her friend Daniel McAdam, who has already set himself up in a pawnshop on the Strand as a seedy receiver of stolen goods. When a man is murdered in the shop, Kat must use all of her wits to see that the thieves are caught and justice is done.


Advance Galley Reviews

Scandal Above Stairs, the second Kat Holloway mystery, was so enjoyable to read. Jennifer Ashley tells this story with detail and Kat's passion for creating delicious meals and solving impossible mysteries really shines. There are many twists and turns that expose more layers of Kat's personality while also letting readers get to know Daniel quite a bit better. The pacing of this particular entry of the series was a bit faster than in Death Below Stairs, but as a whole I like that the series doesn't rush. I don't know everything about Kat's situation or Daniel's past, but with each story I learn a little more and I become that much more invested. I can't wait for the next one! *ARC provided via First to Read* Rating: 4/5

An absorbing cozy historical mystery that is elevated by a great cast of characters. Jennifer Ashley’s Scandal Above Stairs is narrated by Kat Holloway, a Victorian cook. She is an intelligent and observant woman, who provides a perspective on Victorian society I have not often read. The second book in the series that could stand alone but I think would be more enjoyable with some knowledge of the characters obtained from the preceding book and the prequel novella. I enjoyed this book more than the first installment, as I already had a connection to the characters. I am enjoying the building of the relationships amongst the characters. Not only between Kat and Daniel McAdam, Kat’s love interest and mysterious investigator of crimes, but also the building relationships with all characters: Tess - Kat’s new assistant cook with a difficult background; Cynthia - a lady of the house how feels constrained by societies expectations; Mr. Thanos, Daniel’s brilliant friend whose a bit oblivious to world around him; Daniel’s son James, who always wants to be in the middle of the action; and Mr. Davis, the butler with his love of reading the newspapers. Overall the clever plot of Scandal Above Stairs has witty dialogue peppered with descriptions of Victorian cooking and interesting character developments.

An entertaining second installment to the Kat Holloway series. This is a great cozy mystery. We have the same beloved characters and similar plot to the first book with a couple new twists. Highly enjoyable for anyone that loves food and mysteries.

Since this is the second book in its series, readers may already be aware of Kat’s prowess in the kitchen and her ability to solve murder mysteries. For me, this was an initiation into the series, and I thought the book was quite charming. The book is written in the first person past tense account of Kat. The high-point of the book, more than the murder, was the relationships between the characters. Nearly all the characters have a warm and endearing bond with someone or the other. Notably, I am referring to the relationship between Kat and her daughter, Grace, though their interactions don’t give us much of a clue to Grace’s feelings. In fact, we see more of James, Daniel’s son, than we do of Grace, but then again, that is because Grace doesn’t live with Kat. Kat and Daniel, Kat and Tess, and Kat and Cynthia are other interesting pairs that lighten up the pages. The characters are all sweet. Their back stories were handled neatly, without disturbing the flow of the book, or making the introduction jar. That Kat staunchly guarded her day off, for herself and Tess, the waif sent by Daniel to work as an assistant to Kat, I liked. There is Elgin Thanos, Daniel’s friend, with whom Cynthia has a slow burner of a romance. There is a similar slow romance going on between Kat and Daniel. Despite swearing off men, after her disastrous marriage with a man she didn’t know was already married, Kat cannot help the feelings she has for Daniel. Just the way I like it. It’s annoying when the romance element goes overboard. I liked Lady Cynthia, my namesake. She is sweet and has lots of ‘eccentricities,’ particularly when seen through the lens of her time. She dresses in men’s clothes and enjoys her freedom, going out at night, behaviour expressly forbidden for women. Tess was another interesting character, and I admired her wit and intelligence, and the slow buildup of respect between her and Kat. It’s amazing the amount of stuff that Kat manages to cook. For a long time, it seemed as if the cooking overwhelmed the sleuthing. Not that I am complaining. I enjoyed reading about the food portions. All that talk about chopping and hunks of ham and greens nicely crisped, not to mention tarts and pastries, kept me in good humour. The author does a fine job of evoking the period with its hansoms and flounces in women’s clothing, and its oppressive social mores and modes of behaviour and conduct. I found the context very interesting. The class differences are firmly in place, and those who try to cross over from one side to another are frowned upon. It is also worth noting that women from the higher classes were, in their own way, subjugated. In the book, we see how the few women, who wear men’s clothing, either to experience the freedom men enjoyed or to be free of the restrictive female clothing or because of their orientation, are punished, even institutionalized for defying societal norms. There is a Christian element in Kat’s belief that God forgives more than people do, and in Daniel’s willingness to forgive the man from whom he has sought vengeance all his life. The mystery was a good one. And there were lessons on trust and goodness and treating people the way you would want them to treat you, along the way. All served with some delicious food and great descriptions. There was a bit of action towards the end, that saw all the characters indulge wholeheartedly. I’m always appreciative of a book that honours its female characters as much as its male ones, and gives them space to show off their skills. I look forward to catching the previous book. Read the Full & Detailed review at https://cynthology.blogspot.com/2018/07/book-review-scandal-above-stairs.html

A well done story. It was entertaining, well crafted and served as a well done second installment in this series.

This was an entertaining second installment in this series featuring Kat Holloway, who juggles her daily job as cook in one of London's most exclusive addresses with a side line in criminal investigation. The different plot threads will keep readers second guessing what they know about the crime and the characters involved, all the way until the finale reveals all. All the major characters from the first book are present, as well as the addition of a new one - Kat's new kitchen assistant Tess, who is sent to Kat by the mysterious Daniel McAdam as much to keep the girl out of trouble as to provide Kat with some much-needed help in her busy kitchen. Tess's shenanigans provide some comic relief as well as complications for Kat, but the sisterly bond that grows between them adds some heart to the story as well.

This is a much different read from what I am used to with Jennifer Ashley. She crafts a great mystery that keeps you guessing until the end. Her characters are everyday people. The story line is believable. It was a very enjoyable read, even when I had not read any of the previous parts of the series.

Another wonderful addition to the series. I just love Kat Holloway and Daniel McAdam. Scandal Above Stairs was even better than the first book in the series--and I didn't think that was possible. Daniel is as charming as ever and Kat is a woman after my own heart. Big hearted, practical, and not so easily fooled. I also liked the additional characters and look forward to meeting everyone again in the next book in the series.

I tried reading Death Below Stairs, and for whatever reason I just wasn't into it. I decided to give this one a try because I love period piece mysteries. I ended up loving this book. It had a Downton Abbey vibe since the book centers on both the house staff and the residents who live above. This book is set before Downton Abbey is though, but if you're a fan of the television show, then you'll enjoy reading this series. I liked that the main character Kat is a strong, intelligent, and curious female and the hint of romance between her and Daniel. I'm excited to see their relationship progress in the next book. After reading this book, I was definitely interested in re-reading the first book in this series, and I enjoyed it much more the second time around. If you enjoy period piece mysteries with strong female protagonists and quirky secondary characters, then this is a fun read.

I love this series so much!! Kat is so smart and her relationship with Daniel is so sweet!! The way she figures things out even before Daniel does is so fun to read! I also love her relationship with Lady Cynthia. It would be so awesome if Lady Cynthia and Elgin got married and she went to work for them! I really hope there’s more Kat and Daniel to come!!

This book continues to develop particularly Daniel’s character and background although much remains a mystery, but brings together the same cast of quirky characters from the prior novel. Kat is a strong female character and it is refreshing to have the primary characters for a series be those characters “below stairs.”

Book 2, but works fine as a place to start. Mrs. Holloway has had a few tangles with the wrong side of respectability, but is determined to improve her lot in life. So when she's asked to help solve a theft, she's intrigued, but soon the situation is much worse than she imagined. Mrs. H, as she is sometimes called, is a great character, mixing a respect for the rules with compassion for those that need to break them. She's tartly funny, tolerates no nonsense, and a focused cook (the meal descriptions are fast-paced whirs of preparation, but sound quite tasty.) A solid, enjoyable Victorian mystery, atmospheric but not stuffy.

Scandal Above Stairs Jennifer Ashley Kat Holloway is a strong main character with a good supporting cast. After reading this book, I read the first one in this series, “A Soupcon of Poison” which was just as good. I find this series to be a bit reminiscent of the “Gaslight Mystery” series, with Kat being a mix of Sarah Brandt and Amelia Peabody Emerson with a touch of Dr. Quinn. A very enjoyable read. I received this from Penguin's First to Read Program in exchange for an honest review.

I liked the first full length book in the series "Death Below Stairs" and this book offered more of the same for my enjoyment. This story is full of mystery, romance, humor, and of course, cooking. Kat Holloway once again finds herself playing amateur sleuth to clear a friend of her boss/Lady Cynthia, who is being accused by her husband of selling expensive artwork from their home. However, the mystery gets more involved, as soon other antiques are going missing from other homes and museums, and people start dying. Kat turns to her on again, off again investigative partner Daniel McAdam for assistance, and a little flirting. While doing all this sleuthing, Kat's hands are full training a new assistant and maintaining her relationship with her daughter. I can't get enough of Kat, Daniel, and their friends and family! I received a free advanced copy from the Penguin - First to Read program in exchange for my honest opinion.

ARC. Once I learned this book was part of a series, I read the first book and prequel first. I love that we find out more about Daniel in this book. Kat is such a charismatic character and her circle of friends all have their own special personalities. We meet Tess in this book and she is an interesting addition. I find that Ashley was able to keep me guessing until the end on the murderer. I find her writing style refreshing and her ability to pull me in enticing. This is a great read for any mystery buff.

I received this book as an ARC, I absolutely loved it. This is my first book by this author and her writing style drew me in immediately. The characters are well rounded and the mystery is really well planned. I did not know who the murderer was until it was revealed and I usually can identify the guilty party fairly early in a book. I give this book 5 stars and look forward to reading more from her in the future. Do yourself a favor and buy this book.

I want this series to continue forever! Kat is such a likable character. She is smart, sassy, and classy. The relationship with her and Daniel is very intriguing and keeps you coming back to see how it advances. We learn more about Daniel in this book, but still are missing a lot of pieces. Lady Cynthia may be a secondary character, but she is forefront on the fun. You can count on her to drag Kat into some great situations. I could go on about how I love all the characters, but you should just read it for yourself!

I love this series especially the interaction between Kat and Daniel.

Little slow in reading this due to reading the other books in this series. I really enjoyed this series and I will keep following it. However if the audiobooks have an amazing narrator I will move to them. Can't wait to see more in this series. A real page turner. Highly recommend for any who enjoys mysteries.

I received a free advanced copy of this book from First to Read in exchange for an honest review. I didn't realize that this book was part of a series. I will definitely be buying the first book! That said, I didn't feel like I had missed much by not reading the first book before Scandal Above the Stairs. The author did a good job at making this a standalone novel. I've never read a historical mystery before. I really enjoyed it! The setting and the characters. I like watching Upstairs/Downstairs and Downton Abbey and this book reminded me of those.

Scandal Above Stairs is the second book of the Kat Holloway Mysteries. I didn't read the first book so I'm not sure if I missed some important elements of her relationship with the rest of the characters. I really enjoy reading historical mysteries. I really liked all the characters. Usually with some mysteries … I find myself saying .. I KNOW WHO IS GUILTY … but was really surprised in the ending. Really well written … and now I'm going to have to read the first book.

Another great installment in the Kat Holloway series. Kat is a cook to the wealthy in Victorian England. Kat is drawn into an investigation of art thefts at the insistence of Lady Cynthia. Soon Kat, Daniel, and the gang are on the hunt of a gang of art thieves at work in the Mayfield section of London. Kat manages to help solve mysteries all while managing to produce amazing sounding food in an understaffed kitchen. Although we do learn more of Daniel's past, I am still looking forward to the reveal of his true identity and history . I received a copy of this book from the Penguin First to Read program.

This book is my first exposure to this series and this author. I enjoyed the book. The characters are interesting and the plot believable. I enjoyed learning about the interaction between the household and staff during this time period in England. The author concentrates a lot on social protocols as well as food preparation, but those details add to the story rather than detract from it.

Jennifer Ashley's "Scandal Above Stairs" is not the first book in the series, but a first book by this author that I came across. The description caught my attention and the plot did not disappoint. The main character - Kat Holloway is witty and fun. The story is easy to follow and a joy to read. I will be looking forward to continuation and in the meantime catching up on the beginning :)

I truly enjoyed this book. It reminded me of the PBS series Upstairs/Downstairs. The historical venue is timeless and classic, and set in England. You learn about the lives of the household “keepers” supporting the wealthy families that live upstairs. The author paints a picture of the working class and the aristocracy and what it was like to live during that particular time. The story is carried ably on the shoulders of the head housekeeper who is very bright and astute. You combine the historical fiction with a good mystery, and you have a perfect book. What a great read!

This is a cute series. I like Mrs. Holloway and Mr. McAdam. It had me guessing the whole time about who was involved in the stolen goods. It was a quick read and very enjoyable.

I absolutely adore this series; it's so well written. I love period series on Britbox and Masterpiece theater and this series has the linguistics down to the proper mannerisms that they used back then. This book introduces a street urchin, Tess to Mrs. Holloway’s kitchen. She was recommended by the elusive Mr. McAdam who knew that Mrs. Holloway needed a kitchen assistant. Tess proves to be a quick study in the kitchen as well as helping Mrs. Holloway and Lady Cynthia in their latest caper. She's rough around the edges but with Mrs. Holloway as a mentor, she's coming around. If you like Victorian mysteries, this one doesn't disappoint. I can't wait to read the next installment in this series

While unable to finish Scandal Above Stairs, I will be finding this book in stores so that I can read the rest of the story. I was instantly charmed by Miss Holloway's wit and strength and, even though I have not yet finished the story, it's clear it is one worth reading.

Victorian cook Kat Holloway jumps at the chance to help Lady Cynthia with a problem. Lady Cynthia's friend is being blamed for artwork missing from her home. The woman's husband claims she is selling the paintings to pay her gambling debts. But while she's working on solving that problem, thefts start happening all around the city, and Kat asks for help from her friend Daniel McAdams, who has already set himself up in a pawnshop to get to the bottom of things. The thefts keep happening, and soon a body is found in a pawnshop, the very one where Daniel has been working. Kat rushes to see if it's her friend, and as things unfold she must use all her powers of deduction to see that the murderer, and thieves, are caught and justice prevails. If it is possible, I enjoyed this second book in the Kat Holloway series even more than the first. Ms. Ashley builds on the characters introduced in the first book, giving us insight into their background that make the characters come to life. There is also the addition of Tess, a cook's assistant sent to Kate by Daniel. Tess is wonderfully written, a street girl who at first fights against the household rules, but soon realizes that Kat is not your typical person set to judge her. I found the relationship between the two to be very refreshing, and perfectly drawn. The fact that Kat was willing to help, but knew to be a little leery of the newcomer, was very realistic. I feel very at home in Kat's kitchen, and reading this book was like sitting in the corner with a cup of tea watching events unfold. The tea never gets cold, and the scones are always warm. As on the last book, Ms. Ashley gives a great description of a Victorian household, and the way the kitchen is run, including talking about food that left me hungry to taste Kat's dishes. The Kat Holloway mysteries are working their way up my list of "grab it when it first comes out." If you like historical mysteries, this series is perfection. I read a digital ARC of this book through Penguin's First To Read program.

Jennifer Ashley once again did not disapoint. Kat Holloway, besides being a fabulous cook who is ready for anything thrown at her without worry, has a knack for sleuthing. As I follow the growth of the characters in Scandal Above Stairs I find myself transported into their life looking behind doors to find the unsavory individuals resposible for the mischief occuring in the surrounding households. Thank you firs to read for this ARC.

I thoroughly enjoyed this mystery from Ashley about an English cook that gets caught up investigating an above stairs crime. Kat is a great protagonist and far from one note with her amazing cooking skills (seriously Ashley's descriptions of food made me soooo hungry), secret daughter Grace, and crime-solving skills. I also really liked the introduction of Tess and the evolution of Kat's relationship with her. I am a mystery junky and I thought this one was well crafted with a few twists I didn't expect. I don't generally look for any romance in my mysteries but it was nice to have those elements in the story, and to have them fit in so seamlessly for both Kat and Cynthia. I think I am going to have to hunt down the first book in this series and start following future releases because I just need to see what happens with Kat, Tess, Daniel, James, Cynthia, and Thanos next.

This is the first book by Jennifer Ashley that I have read and I found her main character Mrs. Holloway to be warm, caring and very observant. This is the second investigation that she has been drawn into while in service as a cook. This time it begins with a request from Lady Cynthia. When her friend is accused of stealing her husband’s paintings to sell and pay off her debts, Mrs. Holloway quickly discovers the truth behind the thefts. These are not the only thefts in the Mayfair area. Antiquities have disappeared from a number of homes as well as the museum. Daniel McAdam, who posed as a delivery man in the previous novel, has now reappeared posing as a pawnbroker in an effort to trace the thieves. When murder occurs in the pawnbroker shop and Daniel can not be found, it is time for Mrs. Holloway to investigate once again. Ashley has populated her novel with a wonderful cast of characters. Mrs. Holloway comes from the lower classes but has taught herself to talk and carry herself like a true lady and mistress of the kitchen. Lady Cynthia prefers to wear pants and is in no hurry to make a match. Daniel McAdam is adept with his disguises. Each of the characters also brings a sense of genuine warmth, making this a delightful mystery. I would like to thank Penguin Books and First-to-Read for making this available in exchange for an honest review.

This is the second book I have read in this series and find that these books are thoroughly enjoyable. Kat is a unique character and find her entanglement with Daniel McAdams to be enjoyable, however confusing at times. I do not feel their relationship is well supported. I liked this book yet found this book was missing something after reading the first. Thanks for the ARC, First to Read.

For a Victorian cook, Mrs. Holloway has a lot of time to spend solving mysteries, and that's a good thing. Antiquities and artwork are being stolen all around London and Mrs. Holloway finds herself caught up in the intrigue. She's got help in the kitchen by newcomer Tess. Tess is a bit of a stereotype and not very interesting because of that. Overall, Jennifer Ashley does a very good job of capturing the people, places, and customs of the Victorian era, while offering reasonable explanations for the things outside of the norm, such as Mrs. Holloway spending time outside of the kitchen and moving around in places considered above her station, thanks to the trouser-wearing Lady Cynthia. There were moments that it would have been helpful to have read the previous full-length novel and the novella, and references back to the previous events that could have been eliminated to cause confusion. One instance is when Mrs. Holloway looks at a pantry or door and has an unpleasant feeling, and I don't think the narrative explains until much later what may have happened there. Things get wrapped up neatly at the end, mostly by a lot of people standing around in a room talking about what happened and explaining it and explaining their reasoning.

I am thoroughly enjoying this series. Kat is an interesting, well-developed lead, and the cast of supporting characters are also entertaining. The mystery itself is interesting and engaging, though it wasn’t quite as tightly plotted as in the first book. Overall, it was just a little more meandering, with a few threads that didn’t tie together as neatly as I would have liked. That said, it was very fun read, and I am looking forward to future additions in the series.

Another great mystery. Not as intense as the previous one in this series but just as enthralling. A bit more is revealed about Daniel McAdam as the story progresses, and there is a death in the shop where he is mysteriously working. I love the period information that portrays life in that time period for the working class. Jennifer Ashley does a superb job, and I enjoyed every turn of the virtual page. Highly recommended and looking forward to the next book. I am loving this series!

Scandal Above Stairs is the second book in a series featuring Kat Holloway, Victorian era cook and part-time sleuth. She and an interesting cast of characters from the Lady Cynthia, who wears men's trousers to the spunky, impertinent cook's assistant, Tess, must solve a series of art thefts and even murder. With the help of the mysterious Daniel McAdams, Kat must work quickly before another crime happens. Eventhough this is the second book featuring these characters, a reader will not miss out if he/she has not read the first book. It is a fast and entertaining read.

Intrepid Victorian cook Kat Holloway is drawn into a second investigation; this time occurring among the aristocracy "above stairs." The young woman of the house where Kat works, Lady Cynthia, is very concerned about a close friend. Valuable paintings have gone missing in the friend's house, and her husband is blaming her for it. The friend has a gambling problem, and the husband thinks she has sold them to cover the debts. Lady Cynthia wants Kat to help clear her. While visiting the friend's home, Kat discovers that there have been several houses where other objet d'art have been stolen, as well as valuable museum-grade antiquities. It is no surprise that the enigmatic Daniel McAdam is involved in some way in the investigation of the antiquity thefts. In this second full-length novel, a few of the layers of Daniel McAdam are peeled away, and an appealing new character is introduced; Tess, Kat's new assistant in the kitchen. Tess has her secrets, just as Kat and Daniel do, but she has promise, both in the kitchen and out. The investigation proceeds at a somewhat leisurely pace this time with many twists and turns. The Kat Holloway Mysteries are well researched and populated with likable characters. Kat has carved out a place for herself in the world despite coming from humble circumstances. She is so accomplished in her career that she is free from the fear of losing her job and is granted much agency by her employers. She knows that she can find another position with no problem. It is fascinating to see just how much work was involved in running a Victorian kitchen and producing the large multi-course meals the aristocracy demanded. Kat is intelligent, no-nonsense, but has a soft center. Thanks to FIrst to Read for an advance digital copy of Scandal Above Stairs. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical mysteries with a dash of romance.

4 STARS I adored Kat Halloway in the first 1.5 books of this series and have been looking forward to more of her adventures all summer. Scandal Above Stairs picks up shortly where the previous book ends. Kat is thrown into an art theft investigation, which leads to other mysteries. There seems to be nothing Kat can't do; and I love all her sleuthing abilities in addition to her delicious meals. "I am a cook, not a police detective." While many familiar faces have returned, there is the introduction of new faces as well. Tess quickly became one of my favorites characters in this series. She is the complete opposite of Kat in many ways, but they compliment each other perfectly. I could not get enough of their blossoming friendship and can't wait to see how Tess continues to develop. She brings a new radiance and humor to keep Kat on her toes. "Well, I ain't meek..And anyway, what would I do with the Earth?" I adore Daniel and was saddened he doesn't appear more prevalent in this installment. He continues to be the most elusive character, and I am desperate to learn more. This is turning out to be an intriguing, slow burning romance. If you are a historical mystery fan, I definitely recommend this series. The outstanding character development easily compensates for the lighter mystery aspect. I cannot wait to see what adventures await Kat and crew next. A huge thank you to Penguin/Berkley for my advanced review copy.

Good book, kept me guessing. Will continue to look for new things from her.

3.5 stars. I liked Scandal Above Stairs but not as much as Death Below Stairs. Kat Holloway is back again solving crimes in her spare time while serving as the cook in a Mayfair mansion. Kat is assisted by newcomer and aspiring cook’s assistant, Tess, a rough around the edges girl who grew up on the streets. Kat’s love interest, Daniel McAdam, is as cryptic and infuriating as in book 1, though he lets Kat into his circle of trust a little more here. Lady Cynthia and Mr. Thanos also are back, with their unexpected but very cute slow burning romance. The mystery in this book is a bit messy, with several disparate crimes that ultimately merge into a larger plot. Kat seems to run circles around the police and Daniel in solving the crimes, which makes the resolutions seem too easy (not a critique of Kat or her abilities, just that the story lacks tension because she can walk in a room and figure the whole thing out so quickly). There’s a lot of telling instead of showing in this book as well, which makes it slow reading at times, especially compared to the action and drama of book 1. Overall I like this series and hope there are more adventures for Kat and her friends.

I enjoyed this mystery and really enjoy Kat, Daniel, Cynthia, and all the characters below stairs. This installment had a bit of preachiness to it, but other than that, I could barely put it down. I am hoping for more romance in the next installment and for more answers about Daniel.

Delightful! Enjoyed reading the second of the series. Thank you for the ARC of this book in exchange for my opinion. The Victorian setting and the foods mentioned are delicious. It is the perfect blend of mystery, romance and historical fiction. Characters are likeable and realistic. I look forward to reading more from this author.

I love a fun, frolicking Victorian mysteries and “Scandal Above Stairs” is an enjoyable, fast read! Kat Holloway is the cook in a grand home, and finds herself prevailed upon to help solve the theft of artwork from her employer’s friend’s home. Mrs. Holloway runs into her old friend, Daniel McAdam, who is embroiled in his own mystery-solving work, and the two work together to solve the crime. I’ll definitely go back and read the first installment of the series and will keep watching for the next book. The book could only have been made better with a compendium of recipes at the end! Thank you, First to Read, for the free galley in exchange for my honest review.

I liked this fun, quick reading historical mystery. When I started reading, I didn't realize it was the second book in a series and wondered why the lady of the house would rush downstairs to have her cook help solve a mystery for seemingly no reason. Other than that moment, the book didn't read like a sequel, and I thought it stood well on its own. I do plan to read the first book, as I liked the setting and characters. I liked the way the author handled historical details, explaining them quickly without bogging down the story. The plot of this one was interesting, but I think I was into the characters a bit more. I liked the domestic activity of the house and the cooking details, and again they did not bog down the story for me. I liked that information about the two main characters is revealed a bit at a time, like it is when you meet new friends. The length of the story was just right for me to read quickly even with a busy schedule.

Thanks to the publisher for an ARC to read and give my honest opinion. Book two in a series, and I must really admit reading them in order is a must to make the best series of this book. The blurb sounded interesting, and the cover was cute but I really read this because I like the author and wanted to see how well she did with a mystery. I wasn't aware this was a series and second book until after I read it. Mrs Holloway is a cook with a bit of a sleuth on the side it seems. This book has a delightful cast of characters set in an English setting which made it fun. Loved the accents, and the language. Mrs Holloway makes my mouth water at the delightful recipes and way she cooks as the story unfolds. It seems there are thefts of Greek items stolen from neighboring households and Mrs H is asked to inquire on the behalf of her employers neice Cynthia. The world building in this book was outstanding and it made you feel like you were in the kitchen with Mrs H as she was cooking. Her beau McAdams was a fun mystery as this book sheds some more light on the budding relationship between the two. I had fun reading it and loved it. It's not a standalone in my opinion though since I think some things are better cleared up if I'd read book one. Four stars of entertainment though! Great read!

This was a fantastic sequel to her first book in this series. I enjoyed the relationship between Kat and Daniel and I can't wait to see further development. I enjoyed the mystery/crime solving as well and I think this is a series I'm going to be devoted to. The writing is good and I could easily visualize everything Ashley was describing. Looking forward to the next installment!

Jennifer Ashley has done another marvelous job of bringing the world of Mrs. Holloway and those around her to life. I so enjoyed reading this novel and traveling along side the characters as they continue to develop into themselves. I was intrigued by the mystery within the plot but also hooked with the intermixed stories of the characters and how they weave together. I cannot wait to read the next one and see what happens next with Mrs. Holloway and Daniel McAdam, what kind of trouble will they find next?

I enjoyed reading this book, it was a great puzzle solver. Kept the brain wondering??. I will have no problem reading more on this series.

I liked this second installment even better than the first (even though it made me constantly hungry. The dangers in reading a book about a cook!). In the first installment, we got to meet a lot of great secondary characters in James, Cynthia, and Thanos. Scandal Above Stairs built on those characters and added in Tess, someone I loved from the first instant she stepped on the page. Even though I love Daniel and Kat, watching Tess and Kat’s relationship grow throughout this book was one of my favorite things. It was a beautiful relationship that often made me tear up. I liked how it paralleled some of the ways Daniel and James were connecting. Now Jennifer Ashley has created a world full of characters I look forward to spending more time with. Even though I enjoyed the mystery, especially since it involves art and antiquities, for me it’s all about the characters in this series. But don’t get me wrong. I loved all the developments between Daniel and Kat. Their interactions in this book were full of chemistry, spark, wit, and emotion. I loved every single moment. We also got some hints about Daniel’s past, and if there was only one complaint I had in this book, it was that I wish we’d gotten even the tiniest bit more. I guess that’s the point of a (hopefully) long series though: little bits revealed slowly over time. I highly recommend this series to fans of historical and/or mystery books.

Loved this! What amazing and well drawn characters. This is the second of the series and my first, but that in no way impacted my enjoyment of the story or my ability to pick up on new characters. Characters I might mention that I just loved. I was immediately drawn into Mrs. H in the first page and knew she would be a strong and formidable character. And I can't go any further without mentioning Tess. Tess, Mrs. H's new assistant - how I just loved her! The mystery was interesting in that it wasn't just one murder, it was actually several mysteries that evolve out of events and are all interconnected which was very engaging. I can't end this review without mentioning the food. Because Mrs. H is the cook we get a detailed look into the food of the time and the methods of cooking that just solidly immerse you into the time period.

Scandal Above Stairs was just as fun as the first one though I must say I could have used more banter between Kat and Daniel! Things below stairs is in a bit of a state as they are understaffed and it seems that Kat, the cook and Mr. Davis the Butler are trying to make up for the fact they have no housekeeper. This means they have to try and manage the downstairs and Kat is also in need of an assistant cook. Even with all of these she still manages to keep things flowing pretty good. Then Lady Cynthia needs Kat's help because one of her friends is having some problems. It seems some paintings have gone missing and since her friend has a gambling problem, her husband is accusing her of stealing them to pay off her debts.  Soon Kat finds out that there have been a bunch of burglaries going on above stairs in different places. Then she learns that Daniel is working in a pawnshop where seedy things are happening. She still isn't sure what exactly it is that Daniel does for a living as one moment he speaks and acts like a gentleman and the next he acts like a common worker. She finds out he is there to receive some stolen goods but things go wrong when a man is found dead in the pawnshop. Kat fears the worst especially when she doesn't hear from him for a long while. Daniel is hiding out because some of the constables are on the lookout for him as not everyone knows he was working a case. Also, it seems that Daniel has sent Kat an assistant and even though Tess doesn't know anything about cooking she is a quick study and Kat figures that Daniel must know what he is doing. Tess was my new favorite character and I hope she will be in the next book.  I really enjoy the characters in this series. Kat is such a strong female character and even though she works below stairs and knows her station she still doesn't let that stop her. She has hopes and dreams of one day having a house her  and her daughter and quickly takes Tess under her wings when she can tell that she has smarts and could become a competent cook one day. Daniel, I never think much about having a book boyfriend but if I did I believe it would be him. There is just something about Daniel's character that appeals to me. He is a sweet guy with a checkered past and chose to become something better. Still not sure exactly what that something is as it seems he is not really a cop, so I am thinking he must work for the crown or something. I wish he would tell Kat as I want to know! :)I do wish that Daniel was in the story more, he was towards the middle and end but I missed him in the beginning!  I also liked getting to know a bit more about Eglin Thanos who is Daniel's friend and I so hope that him and Lady Cynthia get together, they would be so cute together!  The mystery was done really well and I had a hard time figuring whodunit and was a little surprised to find out the bad guy in this one. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this one and can't wait for the next one! If you like mysteries then give this series a try!

I did not know this was a follow-up to Death Below Stairs - or I probably wouldn't have requested it. I always like to read series in order, and I wish it had mentioned that this was part of one. No matter how standalone it seemed to me, I can't get rid of the nagging feeling I was missing out. Kat and Daniel were really interesting characters and their relationship was fun to read. Kat has to solve an intriguing mystery with some friends - the character development of the friends was a bit lacking to me - but I assume I'd know more reading the first book. I really liked Lady Cynthia - she was probably my favorite of the characters, and WOW was I surprised at the end. Did not see that one coming! Great historical romantic mystery!

Another really good book in the series. Fast paced story with an unexpected villain. I find the class system of England interesting. I couldn’t imagine living during that time. I enjoyed the story and will watch for the next in the series

Thank you Penguin’s First To Read program for the advance reader copy. This book hit a sweet spot for me! The characters are entertaining and a bit quirky, the story well told and the mystery creative (i.e. you don’t figure it out in the first few chapters.) Not having read the first installment in the series, it surprised me how easily it was to get to know the players. Kat is fun – a bit of a curmudgeon, a bit of a perfectionist and thoroughly modern in that she doesn’t let anything stand in her way all while working within the convention of her role/time period. Daniel, her assistant/love interest adds the right amount of side banter to keep things fun. I easily recommend this book, especially to readers who like the Upstairs/Downstairs & Downton Abbey genre. The first book in the series is now on my TBR – I don’t want to miss anything Kat has to say!

The second book in the Kat Holloway mysteries is clever and delightful as the first. Kat Holloway is not looking to solve mysteries. She is trying to make money and secure a home for her daughter. She is trying to figure out where the charming and secretive Daniel McAdam fits in her future. Yet once again she is pulled into a mystery and her well ordered days become full of intrigue. Jennifer Ashley crafts a compassionate, clever heroine in Kat Holloway. The hero Daniel McAdam is complex. likable and interesting. The cast includes many familiar faces from the first book, Lady Cynthia, Mr.Davis, Mr. Thanos and Daniel's son James. Ms. Ashley then adds some interesting new characters to round out the wonderful atmospheric book. Sleuthing, cooking and a mild flirtation make this wonderful book one that you won't want to miss.

I enjoyed the first book, Death Below Stairs, and was looking forward to the next book. Just like the first book, Scandal Above Stairs did not disappoint. In this installment Kat and Daniel investigate a number of antiques' thefts happening all over London with the help of their friends, old and new. We also learn some of Daniel's mysterious past and get to see his and Kat's relationship grow. This series is turning to be quite engaging and I am looking forward to the next book.

Scandal above stairs continues the fantastic work that Jennifer Ashley began with the first book in the series. Kat Holloway is an interesting character that gives readers a glimpse at both sides of the upstairs/downstairs world of Victorian England while solving yet another very compelling mystery. Ashoey writes fantastic characters that pull the reader in, but it's the pacing of the story that keeps you reading. The action and development are so well paced that you follow along devouring the story without really taking notice that 100 pages have gone by. It's a book whose mystery is just the beginning of the attraction and it will surely be a good read for any fan of the genre. My one nitpick is the same as with the first book and it's that so much page time is dedicated to the meals and to cooking tips. I understand that the main protagonist is a cook and it goes with the territory, it even has the added bonus of giving a gilimpse at what people ate in that era, but it always feels like just a dash too much of it messes with the story.

This book was absolutely amazing. Jennifer Ashley manages to make it fast-paced, mysterious, exciting and still quite dangerous with great, complex and characters and still the book felt light and I couldn’t and didn’t feel the need to put the book down. The two main characters, Kat Holloway and Daniel McAdam, are interesting, complex and there’s so much to them than what first meets the eye. They both have secrets, Daniel more than Kat, and that keeps you guessing certain things through out the book and that’s one of things that makes the book great. Also, the relationship between Kat and Daniel is quite intriguing and passionate at times and they care about each other a great deal. The fact that this book is part of a series wasn’t noticeable much, although, personally I wish I had read the first book as well. Also, at first, because I wasn’t familiar with Jennifer Ashley’s work, and I knew this book is historical fiction, I was expecting this book to quite heavy and a bit different than what it actually is. My expectations were wrong and this book turned out to be just amazing.

Jennifer Ashley’s Scandal Above Stairs is a quick, entertaining read. This novel is actually second in a series but the author does a decent job of making it a standalone. I love the two main characters Kat Holloway and Daniel McAdam. Their flirtatious relationship is seamlessly woven into the various plot twists. The secondary characters are also well-developed. The author has done her research and remains true to the time period. Ms. Ashley manages to inject just the right amount of humor into the storyline. I look forward to Kat and Daniel’s next adventure. I was chosen to read an advance copy of this book as part of Penguin's First to Read program. However, the opinions expressed in this review are 100% mine and mine alone.

I've liked a lot the pace of the reading and the different characters which are involved in the book. I've felt more likeable, in general, the characters below than above the stairs but anyway I like how to present them. The mysteries are well introduced, the main one and the small ones which appear in the way. An enjoyable reading, and a series I hope to keep on reading more books.

I did not read the first book but I was still able to follow most of the plot, minus some background. This was an amusing read although I feel like it spent too much time on smaller plots than the larger one. And the cooking portions were so descriptive, I was always hungry reading this

When I saw this book was available I couldn't wait to request it as I read the first in the series, Death Below Stairs, and really liked it. So I was excited to have the opportunity to meet up again with Mrs. Holloway, Mr. McAdams, Lady Cynthia, and crew. And the reunion did not disappoint, in fact I found this to be an even more engaging read then the first. I think this is due, in part, to the introduction of Tess and learning more of Daniel McAdams story. I really like Tess. She comes from a rough background with little love but still perseveres and takes care of those she loves. Quick witted and intelligent she is a character I can and do root for. I can't wait to see more of her in future books! And Daniel, well he is a mystery- and one that I believe we will slowly learn more about as the series progresses. I appreciated reading more about his history and what really lays beneath the charming facade. He and Kat are an excellent match - and I am loving watching their relationship grow. The mystery was interesting and kept me guessing. The secondary characters are well developed and I look forward to visiting them again. Overall, this was fun and entertaining read for me and I can't wait for the next one to come out.

I couldn’ Wait to finish this book. I was going to quit reading it but decided to finish. I don’t like to start a book and not finish it. I found it rather boring and uninteresting. Even at, what should be, the most exciting part I just wasn’t feeling it. Just not my cup of tea. Sorry.

I had a little trouble staying interested in this book. It just didn’t grab me. I don’t feel like the characters were descriptive enough to keep me focused.

Intriguing mystery with twists and turns with a cast of interesting characters. Wee researched details of Victorian life.

Though I did not read the first book in the series, Ashley seemlessly brought in new readers using subtle plot points and character details to fill in new readers. This is hard to do effectively. The plot was quick and entertaining, with extremely likable characters. The story also stayed accurate to its time period and was convincing in its historical details - clearly well researched. At times I felt like the plot was trying to pack in too many details and unnecessary scenes that were rushed, but in the end they added to the storyline. Every meal cooked by the main character Kat made me hungry!

This is the first book in this series that I have read. I didn't realize it was a series until after I had finished it, so it didn't really detract from the storyline. Overall, it was an interesting mystery. I enjoyed reading it, even though it felt a bit rushed at points. I would have really liked to have some more story time dedicated to certain points, but maybe it will be a bit more fleshed in with future books.

Scandal Above Stairs picks up where Death Below Stairs ends, so, there is very little lost time, you are plunged right into the next mystery. I thoroughly enjoyed this latest offering and was pleased to learn more about one of the main characters, Daniel. The mystery itself fell inexplicably a bit flat for me, not the same sense of urgency as in the first? However, this did not detract from my enjoyment and I would recommend this latest title in the series to anyone looking for a good historical mystery.

This is the second book in a series and even though I have not read the first book it wasn't necessary to follow along with this book. This was an entertaining and quick read. It follows the main character Kat Holloway as she tries to solve the mystery of who is breaking into the homes of the upper class to steal historical artifacts. Looking forward to the next book in the series.

This is Jennifer Ashley at her best. The second in a series (not including the prequel) is Scandal Above Stairs, which follows Death Below Stairs. The thing about Ashley is that she meticulously researches her material, and is true to the period (in this case Victorian London) while at the same time creating a compelling mystery. There are actually two main characters in this series: Kat Holloway, who is cook in an upperclass family that is eccentric to say the least; and Daniel, a mystery man about whom we know little until this volume. In addition to the back and forth of the two solving the mystery, there is also romantic tension. If I were British, I think I might say “it’s a jolly good read.” But since I’m not, I think I’ll just say I highly recommend it.

First, thank you to the First To Read program for letting me reading this book early. I reaally enjoyed the first book in this series, so I jumped at the chance to read the second and to revisit the characters. I was not disappointed! The mystery was intriguing and kept me guessing, and the descriptions of the food left me hungry quite often! I highly recommend this series as a quick and entertaining mystery read.

As another reviewer wrote....a pleasant Victorian mystery/romance. I too got food cravings every time the heroine prepared a meal. Quick read.

A very suspenseful read. It's a very easy read. when you think you know what's going to happen, theres a twist lurking in the shadows!

I received a copy of this book early for my honest review. I enjoyed this book. It is a mystery and it held my interest throughout. The characters are interesting, well developed and their interaction keeps the story moving. This is the second book of the series, but I had no trouble following along and felt I didn’t miss much not having read the first book. This is a mystery book. There are some twists and turns that keeps you guessing. The book is set in England in the Victorian age. It depicts how servants and privileged interacted with each other. It also shows that each class has flaws and there are good and evil people in all walks of life. I enjoyed this book and will probably read the rest of the series.

Scandal Above Stairs by Jennifer Ashley My rating: 5 of 5 stars I loved book one, Scandal Below Stairs. Book two is a step above. Much of the back story and character development has already been done and the plot flows much smoother. This is a great mystery that kept me guessing. Daniel and Kat are more comfortable with each other and their interaction is more interesting this time. I loved the new characters and how they fit into the series. Ashley does a very good job of writing historical mysteries and I do not plan to miss a one. I received free copy of the book in return for an honest review. View all my reviews

This is the 2nd book in the Kat Holloway mystery series. Mrs Holloway is a cook for an upper class family during Victorian English times whose employer (Lady Cynthia) requests her help when her friend's home is robbed of paintings. While balancing household duties and snooping with staff from different households, Kat is also busy with her friend Daniel who is posing as a pawnbroker to track stolen historical artifacts which in turn is related to the area's burglaries. I haven't read the 1st book in the series, but it was still easy enough to learn about the characters and follow this mystery. Thanks to First to Read- Penguin Books USA for the free copy of this book.

Kat Holloway cooks for a prominent family in 1881 London. It’s how she survives and takes care of her daughter, Grace, as an unmarried woman. She tries to keep a low profile in order to not endanger her position or sully her reputation. Lady Cynthia Shires is a bit of a wild one, who likes to dress up as a man and go to gentlemen’s clubs. She sneaks out at night and returns late. Lady Shires drags Kat into a mystery involving stolen paintings from her friend’s home, which leads to stolen artifacts from the British Museum. Soon several murders crop up around London, putting them all in danger. Kat has her hands full training a new cook’s assistant while investigating the murders and thefts, which could lead to her own demise if she’s not careful. I enjoyed this mystery, but I spent nearly the whole time reading it hungry (lots of delicious cooking going on in this novel). Kat Holloway is a good-hearted woman, but she takes no flak from anyone. She’s strong and more than willing to jump in and solve a case. As the mystery grew, I was drawn into the plot, making one guess after another as to who might be the culprit but not quite solving the mystery until the end. An engaging read from start to finish, with a refreshingly clean story line that readers of all ages can enjoy.

I did not realize this was part of a series until I started reading. That, however, was not something that hindered my enjoyment of the book. The characters were interesting and likable. the mystery was interesting as well. I do like Victorian and food cozies so this fit my interests. There are series I like better, but it kept my interest enough to read to the end. This series is one I will probably continue to follow.

Scandal Above Stairs by Jennifer Ashley was just okay. I really thought I would like it more than I actually did since it had a cook as a main character, a historical setting, and a string of thefts involving antiques/artifacts. I have liked books with comparable plots to this one, which is why I was so excited to read it. The beginning had a lot of promise. However, a lot of time was spent on Kat’s daily life, talk of food, and other details. It took a while to get to the actual mystery of who was the thief and what was being stolen/how it was done. And by then, my interest had waned. I was tempted to set this one aside and move on to something else, but I wanted to know the fate of one of the characters. So, I read to the end and unfortunately it wasn’t enough to change my opinion on Scandal Above Stairs. This copy of the book was provided by First to Read for this review, thanks.

I enjoyed reading another book featuring Kat Holloway. Kat is a quiet, clever woman who is able to figure out things that the "above stairs" people can't see. She has help from the mysterious Daniel McAdam, and this book also introduces a new cook's assistant, the feisty Tess. While it is not absolutely necessary to read earlier works about Kat, I'd still highly recommend them along with this book.

I didn't realize this book was part of a series. I didn't have any problems following the story line. The author did a good job of introducing the characters. Kat Holloway is the cook at a slightly unorthodox but aristocratic house. She is known for being good at solving mysteries and is enlisted by the lady of the house to help a friend with missing paintings. There is also a rash of antiquity thefts that her semi police like friend is investigating. I found the characters to be well written and likable. I liked the story line and the mystery of the overall book. I will be reading the first of this series to see how it all began. I would recommend this book to others.

After reading "Death Below Stairs," the first book in this series, I was really looking forward to the second, and it did not disappoint. Well drawn characters, a compelling plot and lots of period detail make this novel a page turner. In this sequel, the author deepens the relationship between Mrs/ Holloway and the mysterious Daniel McAdam, and we learn more of the secrets he's hiding about his past. And a wonderful new character joins the cast in the prickly yet delightful Tess. I hope there will be many more installments to come.

This is a very good addition to a pleasant Victorian mystery/romance series. I like the relationships of the main characters, the period atmosphere and the discussion of the meals and cooking methods used. It is a well-rounded enjoyable series which I hope will continue for some time and not wrap uo too soon.

I received a free copy of this book from Penguin First To Read. I had not read the first book, but that was not too much of a problem and I don't think major spoilers were revealed in this second entry either. Kat Holloway is the cook at a slightly unorthodox but aristocratic house. She is known for being good at solving mysteries and is enlisted by the lady of the house to help a friend with missing paintings. There is also a rash of antiquity thefts that her semi police like friend is investigating. A new kitchen aide is also needed but the one found has a mysterious past. Fun characters with interesting backgrounds and a nicely plotted mystery.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The characters are well written. I felt like I knew them all. The mystery was ok. I am going to find the first book in this series. I hope this one continues. Well done!!!

Kat Holloway has to leave her kitchen and solve another mystery when Lady Cynthia asks her to help a friend clear her name when her husband is accusing her of stealing valuable paintings to pay off her gambling debts. It doesn't take long for Kat to find out what actually happened to the paintings but that just begins her investigation. Her friend Daniel McAdam, who has been away for a couple of months without a word, has set himself up in a pawnshop as a receiver of stolen goods. Kat just happens to visit him when one of the criminals who want to sell the goods comes into the shop. Daniel hides her in a back room but she manages to hear some things which raise questions. Daniel tells her that he is investigating the theft of Greek antiquities from back rooms of British museums. When Kat realizes that there have been a number of thefts of antiquities among upper class families, she decides to help Daniel out by investigating below stairs while Lady Cynthia and Daniel's friend Mr. Thanos handles the above stairs part of the investigations. Meanwhile, at home, Daniel has sent a young woman named Tess to be trained up as Kat's new kitchen assistant. Tess is bright and a quick learner but she has some secrets of her own which add an interesting plot twist. I enjoy the setting of the Kat Holloway mysteries. Victorian England is shown from the point of view of someone who works for the upper classes but isn't a member herself. Kat is a fascinating woman who has made a good career for herself as a cook which is a big jump in social class from her beginnings. She is a kind woman who helps those who need help and who is very loyal to her friends. She is also quite bright and observant. Daniel McAdam is still a man of mystery but at least some of the secrets of his past are finally being shared with Kat. I'm still really curious about who his mysterious employer is. This was a great historical mystery and I look forward to reading more about Kat and Daniel.

I enjoyed the second book in this series. It was a good mystery, and an easy, enjoyable read.

This is the perfect follow-up to Death Below Stairs. I loved Kat and Daniel's evolving relationship in this book. It drew me in even more than it already had in the last book. I can't wait to see how these two will fare in the upcoming installments!!! As for the plot of Scandal Above Stairs, Kat has to solve a new mystery, and she does so with the help of her growing circle of friends. Some of these friends we already know, like Lady Cynthia, but there are also interesting new characters. Of course, the mystery turns out to be more sinister than I originally thought, and I was genuinely surprised when the culprits were revealed. Anyway, I'd highly recommend Scandal Above Stairs to anybody who loves a good historical and romantic suspense!

This novel provides an interesting mystery with a lot of different threads to follow, but the best parts are the characters. Kat and Daniel's relationship is one I love to follow, and this novel introduces new characters to brighten up Kat's life. I'd recommend this book for anyone that likes historical fiction and/or mysteries.

 


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