Cover Image: Murder at the Savoy

Murder at the Savoy

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Murder at the Savoy by Jim Eldridge
This is the second book in the hotel mysteries series.  I had read and enjoyed the first one called Murder at the Ritz and very much enjoyed this novel.  I was already familiar with the characters and their backgrounds but this could be read as a stand-alone without it affecting your enjoyment of the story. 
It is set in London September 1940 during the Blitz.  The Savoy hotel have advertised how safe and secure their underground shelters are so a number of people from Stepney arrive to seek shelter.  (This is at the time when they are banned from using the underground stations for protection.)  The duty manager allows the mob in but in the morning one of the guests is found dead, stabbed through the heart.  The hotel contact DCI Coburg who is linked to the aristocracy and they hope he will deal sensitively with their crime.  However when DCI Coburg and Sergeant Lampson arrive the local police are already dealing with the case.
The author describes the terrible situation which Londoners had to contend with then—houses being destroyed all around, living in fear every moment and having little or no communication with loved ones.  Amidst all this, ‘normal’ life must go on, people have to earn money, families have to be provided for and crimes have to be solved. 
This mystery combined real-life and fictional characters. At the Savoy is its owner Rupert D’Oyly Carte, Winston Churchill makes a brief appearance as do Oswald Mosley and Diana. Even Agatha Christie, turns up in the pharmacy helping out the medical examiner and DCI Coburg with information on poisons.
There are numerous other crimes which follow the initial one as well as meetings of fifth columnists.  This is an interesting and entertaining read and I look forward to reading the next outing for these characters. 
Many thanks to Netgalley, the author and publishers Allison&Busby for my copy of this great read in return for and honest review.
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This is a highly immersive, wonderfully written historical mystery which transports readers to the Blitz and the realization that everyday life doesn't stop because the world around you is at war.  The writing, characters, setting, and story telling in this book are fantastic and a master class in the genre.
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Murder at the Savoy by Jim Eldridge

Set in 1940 time of the blitz in London, Detective Chief Inspector Coburg and Sergeant Lampson are sent to investagate the murder of the Earl of Lancaster.
It was Inspector tor Lomax case to begin with and he has a dislike for Coburg because he thinks he has only got where he is today because of his privilege d background. 
The night of the murder the Savoy was invaded by a group of people from the East lenders from Stepney as Savoy bragged they had underground safe shelters ,where as locals had no safe shelters,the suspension falls on one of them. 
I really enjoyed this book brought that time alive for me where all around London people where bombed out there homes and killed..
Even though this is book 2 of the series you can read this book as a stand alone.  
Thanks to Netgalley for letting me review this book
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My thanks to Allison and Busby and NetGalley for a review copy of this book.

Murder at the Savoy is the second in the Hotel Mysteries series by Jim Eldridge, set in 1940s London in the midst of the blitz. In this historical mystery, we follow Chief Inspector Coburg who is from an aristocratic background, his older brother being Magnus, Lord Dawlish. Coburg has recently married Rosa Weekes, a jazz singer (whom I think he met on his first outing). As the book opens, we meet Coburg and Rosa in a bomb shelter with the rest of the residents of their block of flats. Alongside, in the more affluent bomb shelter beneath the Savoy, a group of East-enders from Stepney are demanding entry, protesting against such a strong shelter being reserved only for the wealthy. The deputy manager allows them in, and makes suitable arrangements separate from the hotel’s paying guests. 

The next morning however, one of the hotel’s guests, the Earl of Lancaster, is found stabbed. While Coburg is called in by Savoy owner, Rupert D’Oyly Carte, someone else places a call to the local police, and Coburg’s nemesis Inspector Lomax takes charge of the matter, arresting Lancaster’s son, the rebellious William (who was part of the Stepney group). Lady Lancaster insists William is innocent and wants Coburg to investigate. He is reluctant but once the commissioner is appealed to, and appropriate orders are issued, he takes over, much to the ire of Lomax (who can’t see beyonf Coburg’s privileged background). As Coburg with his deputy Lampson begin to investigate, they find that Lancaster was a womaniser hated by many (his own wife among them) and more than one person had reason to want to do away with him. There seems enough evidence to let William go for the present, but as soon as he is released, another death takes place.

Meanwhile, Lady Winship, a guest at the Savoy, arranges for Rosa to be invited to the Savoy to perform, while also inviting her to one of her and her husband’s soirees. Rosa’s suspicions are aroused and at the party she finds a group of people conspiring to end the war for England, in favour of Hitler. She also finds a surprising guest and after talking it over with Coburg, decides to keep up the acquaintance and see just what they are up to.

This turned out to be an enjoyable and interesting historical mystery/police procedural. Despite it being a second in series, I found it quite easy to follow the storyline, with enough background on Coburg, Rosa, Lampson, and others to not feel lost. I think this can be read as a standalone as well.

The author brings out really well the atmosphere that Londoners had to live in back then—houses being destroyed all around one, people killed, having to live in fear every moment, and with little communication with loved ones—and this was a state of affairs that went on for nearly 6 years. And amidst all this, ‘normal’ life must still go on, people have livelihoods to earn, families to look after and provide for, and of course there is crime to be checked as well. (In his acknowledgements, the author contrasts this—a time he was himself born in—with what people have faced during the last 18 months or so of covid, and one does realise reading it how much luckier we are, compared to things back then.)

I loved that this mystery combined real-life and fictional characters. At the Savoy (my second bookish visit there this year—the first being The Secret Life of the Savoy)—there is its owner Rupert D’Oyly Carte, Winston Churchill makes a brief appearance as do Oswald Mosley and Diana (while correct in other instances, in chapter 31 in my proof copy, Diana Mosley was wrongly referred to as Unity, something I hope has been corrected in the final version), and we also meet Agatha Christie, back in the pharmacy as Mrs Mallowan, who helps out the medical examiner and DCI Coburg with some information on poisons.
   
The investigation was interesting to follow, and I wasn’t sure almost till the end who did it and why; there is as is usual in mysteries more than one death, and one can’t quite work out the precise connection between them either till it is explained. I also liked the parallel threads including the conspiracy plot and how that was foiled, and the odious Lomax’s attempts to get ‘revenge’ on Coburg, which really had me wondering as to its resolution.

All in all, this was good read, with likeable characters, an interesting mystery and other plotlines, great combination of real and fictional characters, and a backdrop that was very well done. I am looking forward to picking up more entries in this series!
 
4.25 stars
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An interesting and well written story set in London in 1940 during the Battle of Britain.  This was before the Underground stations were opened as shelters for people and the poor - especially in the East End of London were dying in large numbers.  Add to this mmurder, communists, and fifth columnists and you've got a wild time for the police - and in-fighting too.

Loved it.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher I read a free advance review copy of the book.  This review is voluntary, honest and my own opinion.
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Jim Eldridge's second mystery featuring Detective Chief Inspector Coburg and Sergeant Lampson, Murder at the Savoy, is excellent! Set during the early days of the London Blitz during World War II, this time they are investigating the murder of a lord  in the air raid shelter at the Savoy. It just so happens that particular night, a group of Londoners from the east end demand to be allowed into the shelter, one of whom is the estranged son of the murdered man. While the DCI and his sergeant investigate this case, Coburg's new wife and brother get involved with the followers of Oswald Mosely and his British Union of Facists. Coburg and Lampkin are such interesting characters and very much at the opposite ends of London society, these differing perspectives add so much to the story. I find all of the characters in this series intriguing. Referencing Mosely and his group is so timely, British citizens embracing the enemies rhetoric for their own gain mirrors events happening in our own country. I enjoy several of Eldridge's series and this one has become a favorite. I very much look forward to the next installment. Thank you to #NetGalley for the opportunity to read an advance copy. of #MurderattheSavoy.
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I love Jim Eldridge's historical mystery and, even this one isn't a favorite, it's a compelling and entertaining novel that kept me hooked.
I was glad to catch up with the characters and being introduced to new one, the historical background is vivid and fascinating, the solid mystery is full of twists and turns.
I thoroughly enjoyed and can't wait to read the next book by this author.
Recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine
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September 1940 After a night of bombing a body of the Earl of Lancaster is found, stabbed, in the underground shelter of the Savoy Hotel.
Inspector Arnold Lomax of the local station in called in to investigate. But soon DCI Coburg and Sergeant Ted Lampson of Scotland Yard take over this high profile case, much to Lomax’s annoyance. Lomax in his anger decides to discredit Coburg. But soon there is another murder at the Savoy.
An entertaining and well-written historical mystery, with its likeable main characters. A good addition to the series which can easily be read as a standalone novel.
An ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review
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Following straight on from the first book in the series, Murder at the Ritz, it was easy to just keep reading on with the second, even though I hadn’t been that impressed with the first volume. It wasn’t bad at all, just not quite enough to garner huge praise. And yet, yes, it was indeed very easy to keep reading.

The second instalment rejoins DCI Coburn and the lovely Rosa in 1940s London. World War II rages across Europe, and England is bombed daily in air raids. We aren’t shielded from the horrors of living through the Blitz, and its use as the book’s backdrop is a definite hook.

Once again, we’re thrust straight into the class wars, this time with a group of working class families attempting to force entry into the very posh Savoy hotel and its luxury air raid shelter. It’s not difficult to agree with their point that safety from the bombs should not be reserved for the rich, although the narrative tries to play a more impartial viewpoint – deliberately, I’ll say, even as it feels a little grating. And of course a lot of that is driven by the too-perfect Coburg, born into a titled family, but now a ‘man of the people’, and with opinions so overly ‘decent’ that they are nearly irritating.

The case kicks off the morning after this storming of the Savoy, when one of the more aristocratic guests is found dead in his bed. Suspicion of course immediately falls on the ‘ne’er do wells’ that shouldn’t have been there, and indeed the first police inspector on the case is more than happy to pursue obvious targets. However, as in the previous book, the hotel has called in Coburg as ‘one of their own’ – setting up a clash in a long-standing rivalry between Coburg and the completely awful Inspector Lomax. It all felt a bit forced, if I’m honest, but does provide a meaty subplot through the whole book, and it’s actually a nice balance between Coburg’s (lack of) character flaws and the set up he finds himself in.

I will say that I liked this a little better than the first book, and once again it was an easy, pleasant enough read. The plot hung together a little better for me this time, too. I still wasn’t entirely enamoured of the WWII setting, or rather the way the tragedies of war were left to do some of the emotional heavy lifting. The overall writing, however, isn’t quite strong enough to not make that come through as melodrama.

Would I read book 3? I’m totally on the fence. I might, in ARC form, but I’m entirely not bothered if I put the series down here and, sadly, won’t be looking to buy future instalments. Ymmv, as they say.
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Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher, Allison & Busby for this Advanced Reader Copy and the opportunity to review “Murder at the Savoy.” All opinions are my own.

In 1940 London, the Blitz is a nightly occurrence.  People need to get away from the air raids, and that includes the bomb shelter at the ritzy Savoy Hotel, which has agreed one night to allow the “common people” to come in -- after these same people have practically forced their way through the doors.  Only one problem:  next morning a body is discovered.  To make it worse, it’s a nobleman.  Thus begins “Murder at the Savoy,” book #2 in the “hotel mysteries” series by Jim Eldridge.

Due to his high society connections, The Honorable Edgar Walter Septimus Saxe-Coburg -- also known as DCI Coburg -- gets a call about the case and goes to the hotel, to find out a rival inspector already has a suspect done and dusted, the estranged son of the murdered man.  With time on his hands, Coburg and his wife take a run out to the country.  A lucky break, that; while they’re gone, German bombs destroy their house, and they must move into his brother’s flat.  They do spend one night at the Savoy; this will become a plot point.  And of course, Coburg is brought back on the case, because he’s part of that upper-class after all, even if he doesn’t broadcast it to all and sundry.  (Which is a real bone of contention to a certain someone, as you will see.)

“Murder at the Savoy” features, beside our investigation, the study of the changes that are coming to society, and how the war is shaping new attitudes.  The possibility of “giving up” was much on everyone’s mind this early in the war, and Coburg’s wife, Rosa gets involved with ferreting out some unappetizing people (with help from her brother-in-law).    

A fun fact -- Agatha Christie appears as a minor character helping the police with their inquiries.  Her pharmacological background comes in quite handy, indeed.

There’s a few more bodies in this one, and tragedy strikes some of the participants; the awful fortunes of war.  Coburg and his sergeant Ted Lampson put it all together satisfactorily, with a big dramatic finish.  Readers should find the twists and turns a reasonable challenge, with just the right amount of personal stories that make characters seem like “real people.”    Jim Eldridge also has the knack of putting the facts of the time into his narrative in a way that underscores his plots in a plausible fashion.  That’s important, if you’re writing a historical mystery.  It’s a way to bring your story alive, and you’ll find that, in “Murder at the Savoy.”
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It was 1940 with the Blitz operating in full force when the Savoy Hotel with its luxurious underground shelter accepted a group of people from East London to keep them safe during the bombing. It was during their time overnight that one of the guests was murdered. Detective Chief Inspector Coburg and his off-sider, Sergeant Lampson were given the case, usurping the original officer who had first arrived at the Savoy. Unfortunately, Lomax couldn’t abide Coburg and tensions became heightened.

As Coburg and Lampson continued their investigations, two more were murdered. The original suspect had been released, but Coburg was sure it was something to do with the maids who worked at the Savoy. Perhaps they were passing information? Were there two people who were doing the killing? Could he find who the culprit was before more bodies were found?

Murder at the Savoy is the 2nd in the Hotel Mysteries series by Jim Eldridge and I thoroughly enjoyed it. A historical mystery – one of my favourite genres, and this one had a lot going for it. Great characters in Coburg, his new wife Rosa, and Lampson and some perfectly nasty ones as well. This one is my first by Eldridge and it won’t be my last. Highly recommended.

With thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my digital ARC to read in exchange for an honest review.
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Hotel Mysteries #2

September, 1940: The height of the Blitz. When The Savoy advertises it's series of underground shelters, a crowd of people from East London arrive at the hotel and demand entry. There they find shelter worthy of the The Savoy's clientele, but the next morning, after the air raid and when the Stepney protestors have left, it's discovered that one of the hotels guests is dead, stabbed through the heart. DCI Coburg and Sargent Lampson are called in, and the finger of suspicion falls firmly upon the East Londoners.

When the bombing is over, the body of the Earl of Lancaster is found, he'd been stabbed through the heart. DCI Coburg and Sargent Ted Lampson are called in to investigate. But soon there's another murder at The Savoy.

This is an enjoyable whodunit. This is a well written historical murder story. It's an easy  book to read. The story highlights historic events that actually took place in the plotline. There's some interesting characters. I liked that we get some period drama. I also liked that fact was mixed with fiction. This is an enjoyable read.

I would like to thank #NetGalley #AllisonBusby and the author #JimEldridge for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Murder at the Savoy is the second in the hotels series from Jim Eldridge which I didn’t realise so having not read the first one I had a bit of catching up to do, this was easy enough. There’s been a murder at the Savoy! An Earl is stabbed in the back during an air raid when the Savoys fancy shelter in the basement was invaded by dirty commoners some of which are paid up members of the communist party and handily including the Earls estranged son. 
Eldridge has apparently written hundreds of books this is the first one of his I have read and it shows, it’s a bit of a cut and shut job. Sections of history are dropped into the narrative like massive boulders fortunately the history is interesting. There is however a current of misogyny running through the book, his treatment and representation of women is shocking, the book is littered with dead bodies and the majority of them are women and little is said about them. One woman commits the heinous crime of having a moustache and the conclusion of the book is pretty much hysterical female gone mad over mans rejection. ???? Ok. Eldridge also gets Unity and Diana Mitford mixed up, not just once but for a whole integral section of the book. I’m reading a proof so I hope to god that gets fixed before it’s printed. It’s a pretty massive blunder. I couldn’t take it seriously after that.
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Synopsis

It’s the height of the Blitz and bombs are falling all over London. The Savoy hotel is confident that its underground air raid shelter with dormitory facilities will appeal to its well-heeled guests so much that it is advertised in the newspapers.  This encourages of Eastenders from Stepney to congregate one night, and they are eventually admitted preventing the trouble from escalating. During the night the Earl of Lancaster is murdered, stabbed in the back as he sleeps.

Detective Chief Inspector Coburg is called in by the owners but when he arrives he finds the local police have been called and Inspector Lomax is in charge and believes he has solved the case already, he says that the Earl’s son is the murderer.

Lady Lancaster believes her son is innocent and asks Coburg to intervene. He says its not is case and so is powerless. After establishment pressure the Commissioner steps in and hands the case to Coburg, much to Lomax’s chagrin. Lomax thinks Coburg has worked behind his back, using his class and status to get the case, and seeks evidence of wrongdoing to bring him down.

During questioning Lady Winship takes a shine to DCI Coburg and when she discovers he has recently married Rosa a famous jazz singer, she pressures the Savoy to give Rosa a showcase spot and then invites her to one of her soirees. Is this merely an innocent invitation to a talented singer or is there an ulterior motive behind it?
The investigation takes DCI Coburg and DS Lampson from the luxury of the Savoy to the bombed-out streets of London’s Eastend and gentile Ascot in search of the truth. In doing so they encounter the rich, famous, and powerful and the doughty poor, members of the establishment, communists, fascist appeasers, and foreign detainees.

My thoughts

Placing the novel in 1940 is perfect for what essentially is a period piece of writing. This is a murder mystery very much in the style of the ‘Golden Age’ of crime substituting the hotel for the country house or manor so favoured by contemporary writers then. The structure and descriptions are in keeping with the time and whilst I noted a couple of modernisms these are easily overlooked and will be unnoticed by many. It manages to capture the gentile feel of the 1930s for those who were comfortably off but with war just starting to be felt after the period known as the phony war. The devastation of the Blitz is covered and is central to the plot without taking over.

Overall, the feel was that of good television writing, entertaining and inoffensive without being over demanding. The murders were not dark or overly gruesome, the poor are downtrodden but there are no descriptions of grinding poverty, and the inclusion of the internment camp was a novel addition, but the treatment of the internees were not covered in detail. This is very much a work of entertainment and doesn’t set itself out to reflect the social realities of the time or comment of futility or waste of war. 

It is very much a novel of class and manners; Coburg is upper class but trying to make his way through the ranks of the police force whereas his brother Magnus very much enjoys the trappings of privilege, but both are treated with equal sympathy. The working class are portrayed as stoically battling on through their privations and the hotel workers are diligent and mindful of their position. Coburg is ‘bombed out’ of his flat and so can, like the Queen after Buckingham Palace was bombed, feel empathy with average Eastender and ‘look them in the eye.’ The reader also gets a good feeling for the protocols operating within a mid-twentieth century grand hotel where guests expect the best and everything must be done just so.

There is mention of real-life people from the period including significant war time figures as well as people from popular entertainment. There is a minor cameo role for Agatha Christie, which is a nod towards the heritage of the work, but the author has resisted incorporating the real-life figures within the action, something which seems to be increasing in popularity with writers. This allows for the plot to remain straightforward and to flow without unnecessary distractions. There is plenty of intrigue to keep the reader guessing and the action is in keeping with the style of the work.

Many thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for allowing me access to this work in exchange for a fair review.
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Murder at the Savoy was an enjoyable mystery, with an interesting plot and an intriguing setting, as well as a likeable main character. However, what let it down for me was the terribly unrealistic dialogue, with characters talking to one another in a way which was painfully obviously designed to pass information along to the reader, rather than sounding how real people would speak. This was a real shame, as I otherwise enjoyed the book.
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These follow a very comforting formula which I love.  I would be happy to read these and his other detective series endlessly, especially now that the evenings are drawing in.  The plots themselves, are quite involved but am always reassured by the presence of Coburg & Lampson, along with Coburg's musician wife.  Thanks to Netgalley.
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Murder at the Savoy is the latest in the Hotels series by Jim Eldridge and it is another very enjoyable and readable crime novel based in WW2.

As the title suggests Detective Chief Inspector Coburg and Sergeant Lampson have to investigate a murder which occurred at the Savoy Hotel during a bombing raid which nobody saw occurring. 

The author uses the background of the War to colour the storyline and produces a book that is highly recommended.
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This is the second book of the Hotel series.  The main characters are very likeable.  It takes place early during WWII in London during the Blitz.  The Savoy Hotel has advertised it's safe Air Raid shelter to encourage folks to stay at the Savoy.  As the sirens are sounding, an angry crowd from Stepney is trying to get into the Savoy.  The assistant manager lets them in to go to a separate section of the shelter from that of the hotel guests.  Meanwhile, Chief Inspector Coburg (second son of an Earl) of Scotland Yard and his new wife, Rosa, a jazz singer, are huddled with their neighbors in a corrugated iron Anderson shelter.  

The next morning, the Earl of Lancaster is found stabbed in his bed.  The Savoy owner calls Coburg to come to the Savoy about the murder.  However, when Coburg gets there, Inspector Lomax from the Strand Police is already there; the two are definitely not going to work together, and Coburg leaves.  Lomax arrests the Earl's son William, who was with the Stepney group, and was estranged from his father.  Fortunately, the Commissioner shortly decides that Coburg should have the case, and he and his sargeant, Lampson take over.  They quickly realize that William couldn't have murdered his father, and release him.  When the building where Coburg and his wife is obliterated in the blitz, they arrange to stay in his brother Magnus' London flat until they find a place of their own.  Magnus and Rosa meet and immediately like each other.  Soon they find themselves working together to spy on a high society couple staying at the Savoy who are trying to get rid of Churchill and want to negotiate with Hitler.  This causes a very exciting confrontation!

Before he solves all, Coburg has two more murders in the hotel to work on, when two hotel employees are found dead.  His nemesis, Inspector Lomax, keeps trying to find something on Coburg, and makes an accusation to the commissioner.  Fortunately, Coburg manages to show it's false.   I really enjoyed the book.
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Thanks to Allison & Busby and Net Galley for this ARC.  So glad to have found this author though Net Galley.  His first series was great and this series appears to be just as good.
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An enjoyable historical mystery. I appreciated the way in which the author used the Blitz not just as the setting, but as an integral part of the story. The main characters were very likeable, but the incidental characters felt more like caricatures than real people.
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