Rotten to the Core

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Pub Date 7 Jun 2022 | Archive Date 21 Jun 2022
Amazon Publishing UK, Thomas & Mercer

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Description

Summer 1911. A scorching heatwave engulfs the quiet town of Littleton Cotterell and brings about an unusually early harvest. The villagers are thrilled, but events quickly turn sour when one of them turns up dead in an apple orchard, stabbed through the heart.

Amateur sleuth Lady Hardcastle and her trusty lady’s maid, Flo, suddenly have a juicy case on their hands. Might the mysterious stranger they recently met in the village be to blame?

When a second cider-related murder takes place, it quickly becomes clear that there’s more to these mysterious deaths than meets the eye. The daring duo uncover whispers of an ancient order and moonlit rituals. And evidence points to a macabre secret in the village stretching back years. A secret someone will do anything—anything at all—to keep hidden.

Something is rotten, that’s for sure. With the local constabulary baffled, Lady Hardcastle and Flo must use all their powers of wit and whimsy to get to the bottom of the dastardly deed. But can they catch the killer before any more people drop dead?

Summer 1911. A scorching heatwave engulfs the quiet town of Littleton Cotterell and brings about an unusually early harvest. The villagers are thrilled, but events quickly turn sour when one of them...


A Note From the Publisher

Tim Kinsey grew up in London and read history at Bristol University. Rotten to the Core is the eighth story in the Lady Hardcastle Mystery series, and he is also the author of the Dizzy Heights Mystery series. His website is at tekinsey.uk, and you can follow him on Twitter @tekinsey, as well as on Facebook: www.facebook.com/tekinsey.

Tim Kinsey grew up in London and read history at Bristol University. Rotten to the Core is the eighth story in the Lady Hardcastle Mystery series, and he is also the author of the Dizzy Heights...


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Featured Reviews

Love this series! One of my favorite cozy series to read. Enjoyed the ride throughout the book. Great plot and story. Can't wait to read more.

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Having read many previous exploits of Lady Hardcastle and her lady's maid, Florence "Flo" Armstrong, I was delighted to have the opportunity to read and review this mystery.

Our lovely ladies are enduring an unseasonably hot summer while the town of Littleton Cotterell is preparing for an early harvest. The harvest is also a time of celebration in this area that is rich in apple orchards. Unfortunately for the people of Littleton Cotterell one of the local apple growers is found murdered early one morning. A motive seems to be lacking as he is one of the most well liked men in the area.

As the local constabulary are well acquainted with Lady Hardcastle and Flo, they know to ask them for a bit of help. While the ladies are searching for clues, it seems that the suspect list continues to grow.
Who is the mysterious young woman who is renting a room above the pub? What is her reason for being in the town of Littleton Cotterell, anyway?

The book is a delight. The characters are charming and interesting. I recommend reading the entire series.

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I couldn't love this series more. Flo and Emily are so wonderful. It is a fabulous mystery with great characters. Definitely read the series in order to fully enjoy this village.

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I love these books. I came across this series on Kindle during the pandemic and immediately read all of the previous installments. The series is clever, comical, breezy, and entertaining. Lady Hardcastle and ostensible maid Flo are as much a comedy duo as they are a crime-solving duo. Though they have a somewhat improbable history, egalitarian relationship, and skill set, and their village and its surrounds have an uncommonly high murder rate (a la Cabot Cove) and the murders’ occasionally improbable motives, you will be too amused to dwell on the details.

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A Rotten Apple…
The eighth Lady Hardcastle mystery finds a heatwave of uncommon proportions descend upon Littleton Cotterell and with it an unseasonably early harvest. Bizarrely, a series of apple related deaths occur and it soon becomes clear that there’s a rotten apple amidst the residents of the town. Lady Hardcastle and Flo are soon on the case. Another enjoyable and engaging outing for the duo with an entertaining storyline and a colourful cast.

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I enjoyed this.. i hadn’t read any other books in the series but I liked that the author did not spoil them when the author referred to other stories. The period detail was done with care. I appreciated all the characters - big and small, ypu could understand and sympathise withthem.

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In the village of Littleton Cotterell, Lady Hardcastle and Florence Armstrong, her ladies maid, were enjoying some quiet time. But their peace was short lived by the murder of a farmer in his apple orchard. He belonged to a "secret" society, Weryers of Pomary, who were cider wardens and did charitable works. Inspector Sunderland was in charge and asked for help from Lady Hardcastle and Flo, because they had been of assistance on other cases of his. When more deaths occurred within the Weryers group and a mysterious young woman had arrived around the same time, it became evident that much more information on all parties concerned needed to be gotten to find the culprit.
A quick, charming and humorous cozy British mystery with eccentric villagers and a mystery soon solved by Lady Hardcastle and Miss Armstrong.
Thank you NetGalley for this e-galley of "Rotten to the Core".

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Lady Hard castle and Florence are asked to assist the police when a local man is found murdered in his apple orchard. Another fun entry in this series!

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Rotten to the ore
By T. E. Kinsey

Lady Hardcastle and Flo are back at it, this time delving into the mysterious society of the Cider Guards. Kinsey has continued the antics of the lady and her maid, letting us in on more of what makes each of them tick as they solve murders happening in their quiet(!?!) neck of the English countryside. The characters are well developed and very approachable, both the toffs and the working class. This is a fresh take on the local citizenry helping out the constabulary - no animosity, although that may be because of Lady Hardcastle’s and Flo’s previous life of being in His Majesty’s Service as intelligence agents for the empire.

Kinsey has a way of weaving a mystery that is easy to read, yet convoluted enough to keep the reader interested in figuring out whodunnit. He does not drop a suspect in at the last moment, only to have him or her be the culprit. The clues are all there; you just have to be paying attention.

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I love this series. TE Kinsey has paired the key characters, Lady Hardcastle and Flo, so well that it is an effortless read when one joins them on their various capers.

I thoroughly enjoyed the theme of this story revolving as it did around the production of cider and the ancient order of the Weryers. I did find the motive behind the murders a bit of a stretch and the acceptance of Lady H's and Flo's questioning of all and sundry, by those interviewed and the police, a bit of a stretch. They also just seemed to be a little slow on the uptake at times.

There is an incident regarding a local and a 'lift' in Lady Hardcastle's vehicle that had me literally laughing out loud. Thank you!

So this one is FOUR out of five for me. I look forward to reading the next in this whodunnit, fun series.

With thanks to #Netgalley, Amazon Publishing UK and the author for my Advance Reader Copy in exchange for an honest review.

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I absolutely love this series of books by T E Kinsey. The plots are always well drawn out and just when you think you have solved the mystery, the author throws a curved ball. I am particularly fond of the period this is set in, but also the are. Having worked in Bristol for over 20 years I know many of the places mentioned and can really visualize what is going on. I just hope that the author keeps writing these wonderful books.

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T E Kinsey’s new novel is Rotten to the Core, featuring Lady Emily Hardcastle and her maid, Flo. There is another murder close to home; a local apple farmer that Emily and Flo saw in the village pub during the previous evening.

Like all the other Netgalley reviewers so far, I love Tim Kinsey’s novels. I think he has written some of the most enjoyable books of the last ten years or so. They are light; entertaining; and very accurate indeed, historically speaking. This one has a lovely line of dialogue, where Flo says “The mysterious stranger is always a red herring” and I think the climax is superb.

However, I felt the novel as a whole wasn’t up to the author’s usual very high standard. Everyone accepts Emily and Flo tagging along with Inspector Sunderland and/or Dr Gosling and, indeed, poking around and asking nosy questions. No-one queries what right these two women have to intrude. Realistically, how likely is it that a doctor would ask Emily and Flo if they’d like to see the dead body because “I know you take a keen interest in these things”? And that’s my problem: the women sail in and everyone opens their doors and tells them stuff. I recognise that there needs to be interaction and explanation in order to progress the plot, but in Rotten to the Core, it’s all far too simple and unrealistic. That dissonant note prevents the reader from feeling they’re a full participant, looking over Flo’s shoulder.

Sorry. I’m still delighted the publisher offered me an early copy of the book in exchange for a review – thank you, Amazon Publishing – and I’m very grateful for the opportunity to enjoy the book, but it’s just not up to Kinsey’s usual cracking standard.

#RottentotheCore #NetGalley

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Once again another wonderful outing for Lady Hardcastle and Flo. These stories do not get old and I love hearing the exploits of their previous life if only in snap shots. I loved the setting of the murders based around Cider as this meant more hilarious car journeys at the hands of Lewis Hamilton oops sorry I mean Lady Hardcastle. Please continue with this series but also how about a throwback where we actually get to read about their exploits* travelling the world.

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An unrelenting heat wave and a series of murders come to the village of Littleton Cotterell, home to Lady Emily Hardcastle and her ‘tiny servant,’ Florence Armstrong. Their old friend Inspector Sunderland enlists their help to solve the murders, which naturally they are only too happy to provide.

At the center of the story is the not-so-secret secret society, the Weryers of Pomary, a group of men who oversee the cider harvest while also being upstanding citizens and performing odd rituals in orchards, a custom dating back to the 1700s. When first one, then two more, Weryers are found dead in macabre circumstances, Emily and Flo try to suss out what’s going on. Are these murders motivated by jealous husbands, or is something more sinister and deep-rooted afoot? Who is the mysterious young woman recently arrived to the village, also interested in the Weryers, and how is she connected? Most importantly, will the locals survive the heat wave, and how many cups of tea (or cider) will it take to sustain them?

This series is always a light and humorous read. The banter between Emily and Flo is intrinsic to the enjoyment of Kinsey’s writing, and familiar, recurring characters add to the fun.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for the opportunity and and review this book.

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This book took me 3 days to read because it's so long. 12 suspects is about 8 too many. It drags the story out and goes nowhere. I never guessed whodunit but I did guess what it was about and how Grace was involved. I thought Flo should have reasoned it out sooner. I won't reprimand her because she feels bad enough already. There are also too many murders in this story for my liking but other than that, I enjoyed catching up with Emily and Flo.

I am so happy this book takes place in the country again, near where it all began. Geopolitical events are all very well but I prefer a good English country village story. Being back in Littleton Cottrell feels so familiar, like coming home and seeing old friends for the reader as well as for Emily and Flo. Newcomers to the series can read this as a standalone but I think it works better if you at least read the first book. References are made to previous events, including the village fair the other day (The Fatal Flying Affair) and Lady Farley-Stroud's picture show. I love this picture of village life where everyone knows everyone. I wouldn't want to live there but reading about it in a time gone by is charming. I can easily picture the villages and the pubs, the orchard, the cidery and the characters. T.E. Kinsey is a very visual writer and I love that. I want to feel like I'm there.

Emily and Flo are gaining quite the reputation and now everyone recognizes them either by sight or by name/reputation. Their secret government work seems to be common knowledge but the villagers swear they'll never tell. Riigghtt... Lady Hardcastle, now officially younger than I am, may have been considered elderly by early 20th-century standards but she's young at heart. I absolutely adore her. Her tendency to get names wrong annoyed me at first but then I realized she was doing it to needle Flo. Emily is never serious and always lively - just don't wake her up before she's ready and don't bother her before she's had her coffee and toast. (She sounds like me). Emily is the young one in the partnership! Flo is much more serious for all she's a good two decades younger. The pair have a sisterly relationship where Emily pushes Flo to lighten up by constantly teasing her. Emily also enjoys annoying villains but never fear, it's all an act. Their witty banter is so much fun. I want more!

The villagers are all here! Hooray! I love Daisy, the barmaid at the Dog and Duck pub. She's a lot of fun and a good friend for Flo because she balances out Flo's more serious nature. Daisy also is country born and bred and Flo can't tell a dahlia from a zinnia so that leads to some teasing. Flo can handle it. Daisy is energetic, youthful and fun. She's also a big gossip. She hears everything that goes on in the village and repeats it to Emily and Flo. In her own way, she's a part of the investigative team. Cissy, the dairyman's daughter, is as well. Like Daisy, she also works as a barmaid and since her dad and her boss are both Weryers, she knows a lot about them. I kept getting confused though between the two girls. Having two barmaids is a bit too much. They sound alike too. Daisy's parents are a hoot. Her mother, Eunice, is the more outgoing of the pair and loves to talk but not gossip about past events that don't seem relevant today. Mr. Spratt likes his family to see him as important so he enjoys gossipping about the Weryers but he doesn't seem to know anything important about them that will lead to catching the killer. Eunice might but she's not telling.

Old Joe, the pub landlord, is a hoot. I can picture him bald and toothless stumbling around the orchard trying to figure out what's going on with his fellow Cider Wardens when something isn't right; hosting games on the village green and complaining a lot. He's just begging to come to life on the TV. Edna, the cook for Lady Hardcastle, is an awful gossip. She knows everything that's going on and spreads it around the village like a virus. She doesn't mean any harm and otherwise she's nice enough. She's not a nasty gossip, just likes to chat. Hooray Lady Farley-Stroud and Sir Hector have time to socialize. I adore them both. She's a force of nature and he's such a dear, absent-minded man. The "girls" (hounds) are very sweet and clever. Sir Hector was once a Cider Warden and he knows a lot more about the inner workings than anyone else. He is able to provide some insight into the power structure and how the organization is run but no real gossip about the people. He's reluctant to rejoin because he didn't like the corruption and machinations.

As always, Inspector Sunderland is lovely and respects Lady Hardcastle and Flo very much. He enjoys their company socially as well. I appreciate that he appreciates their help. Dr. Simeon Gosling, the police surgeon, is a kind man as well and appreciates a strong female but he doesn't really understand women very well. He's engaged to Dinah Caudle, a newspaper reporter who prefers to report on real news- like murder. I forgot about her and when she appears on the scene, I felt a little bit confused because we already had Daisy and Cissy as part of the team and now Dinah. She seems nice enough but a little too eager for a scoop.

We meet a LOT of new people as well. Claud Cridland, the first victim, was a nice man. He was the dairy farmer and looked after the apple orchards for the local cider. They say he was never the same after he lost his wife but he seems to be carrying on with life just the same. His death was very sad and a real tragedy. Abel Mattick, cider maker, is first on the scene to report the death. Then he disappears before the police arrive. This seems very suspicious to me. I think he killed the apple farmer for some reason. Maybe Claud raised prices on the apples? Or something personal? They were both Weryers though and that makes Claud's death extra suspicious. Abel isn't the most friendly person and he doesn't seem to be mourning his colleague's death at all.

Who is Miss Grace Chamberlain? Where did she come from and why has she arrived in Littleton Cottrell just as someone ends up murdered? As Emily and Flo try to run her down, Grace just won't stay and chat. She's very quiet and clams up whenever the ladies try to use their charm to get her to open up. They suspect she might be the murderer. She certainly acts suspicious.

Moses Peppard, cooper and Weryer, was spotted on his bicycle near the orchard before dawn around the time the murder is believed to have occured. Does that make him a suspect or a witness? He claims Claud Cridland was wishy-washy and couldn't make up his mind. He would have been a terrible leader of the Weryers. I think they could have given him a chance and see if he stepped up. Is Moses throwing shade on Claud on purpose? Peppard is said to be plain speaking but I didn't find him too harsh or blunt. He provided the right information for Emily and Flo to try to put clues together. At least he was honest. Or was he? Did he murder Cridland because they were both vying for the same position in the organization- the chief position, the High Protector? Sir Hector Farley-Stround did say there was too much behind-the-scenes drama for his liking. Peppard and Cridland recently had a falling out so it sounds like Peppard could be a top suspect. I hope he's not the murderer. He seems lovely. He's kind to Emily and Flo and takes time out of his busy day to speak with them openly. Sure he's a ladies man but nothing suggests his relationships are not consensual.

Cornelius Starks, the head of Weryers, is retiring soon. He acts like a dull, buffonish solicitor but is it his real personality or just an act? Did he not want to retire and give up his spot to someone else? Did he not like Claud Cridland for some reason? I think he's too British male to have murdered anyone. He's the type who laughs at his own jokes and thinks his knowledge is superior to anyone's even though he's never traveled anywhere or done anything the way Lady Hardcastle and Flo have done.

Another Weryer who probably isn't a suspect is Griffith Uzzle, landlord of the Mock of Pommey pub in the village of Woodworthy. He's an absentee landlord, shady businessman and hen-pecked husband. His wife is nice enough when she thinks Emily and Flo are customers but snippy and rude to them and to Cissy when they come around again to gossip with Cissy. She seems to have dual personalities. She runs the pub and her household! Archie Rogers probably didn't do it either. He's a weak man with a secret. He's eager to confess all and his secret isn't such a big one as murder, unless he's using the small secret to cover up a larger one. He knows Lehane and Gregory were up to no good and what wouldn't they do to get what they wanted?

NOT a Weryer but wants to be is Pat Swanton. He holds the Weryers a grudge since they rejected him. Speficially Cridland, Peppard and Mattick voted against Swanton. Did Mr. Swanton suddenly snap and murder someone because they voted against allowing him in the secret society? He seems a bit snippy about them but Daisy says he's decent so I trust her judgment.

This is one tough case to crack. Emily and Flo miss a few clues and a few steps along the way but they'll get there in the end, of course.

I love this series and I was thrilled to catch up with the ladies and can't wait to see what they get up to next.

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I found this an absolutely delightful read. The dialogue and witty banter between Lady Hardcastle and Flo were a highlight. Very cozy and pleasing adventure!

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I love a cozy crime and I know for most people this genre doesn’t set the world alight. But for me it’s pure escapism that is well written and reads so easily. Liked it so much am going to look into getting the series in audiobook.

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Yet another fun adventure with Lady Hardcastle and her sidekick/lady's maid, Flo Armstrong. If you liked the previous installments, you'll like this one, too. It's a reliable cozy series. There isn't anything here that'll make you think, but it's certainly a fun romp!

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Thanks to a dear friend, Flo and Lady Hardcastle have become a must-read duo for me; which is incredible because cozy mystery is not a genre I normally look to for reads. Nonetheless, the banter and delightful relationship between this maid and lady has enraptured me. Their latest escapade within the realm of local orchards and townspeople did not disappoint. Another round of dead bodies, question trails, mysterious people, local gossip, town skeletons, small village day-to-day shenanigans, pints in the pub, and rounds of tea and scones kept me engaged for an afternoon. Yes, I finished this in one sitting because once you step Lady Harcastle's home and world, it is hard to leave.

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This series just does not disappoint!

I was excited to see the next book in the series, Lady Hardcastle Mysteries, because I have read and loved every one of the books. This is a mystery series set between 1908-1911 in the small fictional English village of Littleton Cotterell. The investigative duo of Emily, Lady Hardcastle, and her lady’s maid, Florence Armstrong are two of the most delightful and comical duos I have ever had the pleasure of “meeting.” I say meeting because they are so finely developed, that I feel as if I know them—and that they are real people.

The story is told from the point of view of Flo. She and Lady Emily have worked together all over the world for many years as British secret agents. They are both intelligent, independent, and very capable of taking care of themselves. They have semi-retired to this small village filled with hilarious characters and despite Lady Emily’s title and privileged background, she is down-to-earth, likeable, and kind. Over the three years they have lived in Littleton Cotterell, they have been involved in helping the local Inspector solve several murder cases. He too is a likeable character and instead of resenting Flo’s and Lady Emily’s involvement in his cases, he respects their talents and asks for their help in solving this newest case of murder. The murder victim is a member of a secret society of local businessmen involved in works of charity. Before long, there are more murders, but Flo and Lady Emily are integral in the investigation. I thought I had the murderer solved early in the book, but…..

The absolute best part of the book (and series) is the relationship between Lady Emily and Flo. Ostensibly, they are a titled lady and her maid, but in reality, they are equals. Lady Emily thinks of Flo as her dearest friend, and Flo is comfortable enough with their friendship that she teases Lady Emily mercilessly. Their banter is some of the funniest and most clever dialogue I have read. It just doesn’t get old! They are just delightful and charming! I honestly hope there will be many more books in this series.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

#RottentotheCore #NetGalley

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This was the first book I'd read from this series, but it certainly won't be the last!

Lady Hardcastle and her maid Flo find themselves caught up in the mystery of the Weryers - the local Inspector asks for their assistance in solving the case, which they're more than happy to provide! Murders aplenty, multiple suspects, and a relentless heatwave makes for a fun to read book.

Great characters, with plenty of chuckles, I really enjoyed it.

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I can't fault this book at all. Quirky characters, the cozy British countryside and a murder-mystery to solve! This is the first I've read of the Lady Hardcastle series, but its already become a must-read series for me and I've downloaded the other 7 books to my kindle!

I adore the two main characters; the investigative duo of Emily, Lady Hardcastle, and her lady’s maid, Florence Armstrong. Their relationship is one of the highlights of the book for me. Despite Flo being Lady Hardcastle's 'maid', they treat each other as good friends and equals, and the bantering between them was a delight to read.

Rotten to the Core has the perfect amount of mystery and good ol' British humour. I can't wait to read the series from the beginning and get to know Flo Armstrong and Lady Hardcastle even better!

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Old sins cast long shadows in T E Kinsey's latest Lady Hardcastle mystery, "Rotten to the Core." In the midst of preparations for a harvest festival, a local man is found dead in an orchard. Lady Hardcastle and her more-than-a-maid Flo are called upon to investigate. They find a benevolent society with some odd rituals, a tourist/newcomer who picks some odd local sites to visit, and more than one motive for murder.

Flo and Emily are back with the sharp skills and witty banter that we've come to expect and love. There are red herrings and suspects galore in this outing, indeed, maybe a few too many. But Flo and Emily persevere, and solve the case in time to enjoy cider at the festival.

I always enjoy spending time in Littleton Cottrell, and this book is no exception.

If you like an egalitarian aristocrat with an amazing jill-of-all-trades sidekick, pick up this series now!

I received an advance copy from Amazon Publishing UK via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

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A very suitable title for a book which involves cider making, apple orchards and murder. It is summer in Littleton Cotterell and Lady Hardcastle and Flo have another mystery to investigate.

As usual the story is great fun. There are several murders and our strangely well matched pair of sleuths investigate thoroughly, working amiably together with the local Police Inspector. There are plenty of suspects, a surprise culprit and a few very dangerous moments.

Along the way we get plenty of humour especially from the dialogue between the the two main characters. They really have a very special relationship for a Lady and her maid. Sometimes just leaving the house can provide a fun moment :-
Lady H: Have you seen my hat?
Flo: Yes it's enchanting.
Lady H: Most amusing. Where is it?
Flo: Your hat?
Lady H: Yes.
Flo: The one you are wearing or another one?
Lady H (touches her head): Right you are. Well I'm ready then. How about you?
Flo: I'm always ready my lady.

My only problem with these books is having to wait for the next one.

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I got off to a slow start due to the fact it was an England based tale from the early 1900’s, and unfamiliar colloquialisms were used. I’m just warning you, if it’s the same for you, don’t give up.
It was more than worth the small effort. Mr. Kinsey pens an intriguing story covering small village life. His eccentric characters bring his tale to life. The possibility of more than one motive and murderer is raised. We get several possibilities and suspects to consider before he brings the tale to an explosive conclusion.
I requested the ARC from NetGalley and enjoyed it very much. I would recommend to any cozy lover.

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Lady Hardcastle and her maid, the small but mighty Florence Armstrong, are back with more tales of derring-do! There’s no rest for this duo, even during the stifling heatwave of 1911. A mysterious death in the middle of an apple orchard brings out Inspector Sunderland, and he’s quick to call for the help of his favorites, Lady Hardcastle and Flo. The ensuing string of murders around Littleton Cotterell leads to a case rife with symbolism and replete with danger. Another must-read in this series from T.E. Kinsey!

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I have read and enjoyed every book in the Lady Hardcastle series so far and this was no exception.

The relationship between Lady H and her maid Flo is simply delightful, there is plenty of humour alongside several murders and I love being transported back to the quaint rural West Country villages in the early 1900’s. TE Kinsey researches his subjects very well (each book focuses on a theme, cider making in this instance) and the characters are very well written.

I felt that the ending and unveiling of the murderer was a bit rushed but it was still a very enjoyable cozy-murder mystery and I look forward to another visit to Littleton Cotterell in the not too distant future.

Thank you to NetGalley for the advance copy of this book in return for an honest review.

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I love this series featuring Lady Emily Hardcastle and her lady’s maid Flo and this one did not disappoint. We are in 1911 in the middle of a heatwave with the harvest rapidly approaching when there is a series of murders in the nearby village. All the victims are members of the mysterious Weyrers Society and obviously, Lady Hardcastle and Flo are on hand to help the police with their investigations.
The strength of these books for me is the relationship between Flo and Lady Hardcastle. Flo is a brilliant character who tells us the story from her own viewpoint and although technically, a lady’s maid, her friendship with her employer is clear. The dialogue between them is witty and often made me laugh out loud. The other characters are brilliantly written too and stay just the right side of caricature.
I felt that the book lost something towards the end. Maybe it was the inclusion of Diana Caudle as an addition to the sleuthing team? There were almost too many people involved with solving the mystery. However, this was a thoroughly enjoyable read and the perfect accompaniment to a Summer’s evening with possibly a glass of cider.
Thank you to Net Galley and the publisher for providing this ARC in exchange for my honest review.

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Amateur Sleuth Lady Hardcastle and Flo her maid, friend ,confidante and at times bodyguard are asked to assist in ousting the murderer of members of the secret society Weryers of Pomary a group of men who oversee the cider harvest

As is usual with these reads there is plenty of comedic exchanges between our two main characters and this helps the enjoyment of this series

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Lady Hardcastle and her trusty friend/sidekick/servant Flo are at it again. The delightful repartee between them is still there, and they are still the two eccentric characters that make this series such a fun one to read. This time around, though, they are looking for a local killer rather than being involved in international intrigue. No matter, Flo still gets the chance to demonstrate some of her more unexpected skills and their work as a team is on full display.

This is one of the most entertaining series I have found, in part because of the unique nature of Lady Hardcastle and Flo’s relationship. It’s also entertaining to have two amazingly independent women in an era that is still male dominated, early 1900’s. The mystery begins and ends within this book, and there is no need to have read earlier books in the series to understand how various secondary characters relate to the two main characters. If you enjoy this book, though, I’m pretty sure you’ll want to read all the other books in the series.

For this book, it’s almost apple harvesting time, and the village is getting ready to set up for the annual festival that accompanies it. There is a running joke throughout about Flo being on the committee to organize the festival, or any other committee for that matter, with the townspeople attributing the final plan of an outdoor festival on the green per her recommendation. In fact, it was simply an off-hand comment from Flo, but when she tries to point that out to the townspeople, they simply refuse to listen.

Early on Lady H and Flo encounter a group of men known as the Weryers, an ancient organization of twelve men, either born or voted in, whose purpose is stated as being to protect the harvest and the pubs where the cider will be sold. Almost immediately upon being made aware of this groups existence, one of them is murdered. The local police, being well acquainted with Lady H and Flo, as well as knowing they work for the secret service, call in the women to help with the investigation

There is a young woman who has appeared in town, and suspicion falls on her as well as the other members of the Weryers. As Lady H and Flo drive from place to place, often with Flo’s objections to Lady H’s love of speed, more of the men are murdered and the mysterious stranger is looking more and more guilty. But what is the reason for the murders and what sinister secrets are some of the Weryers hiding. This is the first place Flo’s skill set comes into play as she and Lady H make several late night forays to homes and mills to try and discover the answers to some of their questions.

The tables get turned on our two intrepid spys/adventurers as they near the end of the investigation. Once again, Flo’s skills, with help from Lady Hardcastle, are needed to bring the investigation to a successful close. The village festival is a rousing success, too, leaving all the villagers planning to put Flo on all the committees that get formed when a new village activity is in the offing. My expectation is that, on these occasions, Flo will be running in the opposite direction as quickly as her often referenced tiny feet and legs will carry her.

If you like your mysteries with a good dose of unique humor, don’t miss this book and this series. Kinsey has found an excellent blend of mystery, spy activity, and humor which is wonderfully entertaining. His pacing is excellent and the book is well written. Whether you are looking for a beach/airplane read or something to entertain you for several hours at a stretch, this book will definitely suit the purpose.

My thanks to Amazon Publishing UK and NetGalley for providing an advance copy of this book for review. The opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

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England, punny, sly-humor, amateur-sleuth, situational-humor, light-hearted, women-sleuths, historical-fiction, historical-research, history-and-culture, 1910s, cosy-mystery*****

All of the Lady Hardcastle books are a fun escape from reality and this one is no exception! The personalities of the characters are as much fun as the dialogue, the sleuthing is creative, and the descriptions are exceptional. The plot twists are inventive and the whole thing is a blast! Never a dull moment, even if some of the old catch phrases sound like something from Beowulf! Of course I loved it!
I requested and received a free e-book copy from Amazon Publishing UK/Thomas & Mercer via Netgalley. Thank you!

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Very enjoyable book, love the character and the banter that is always present. It is a cosy series, well written and enjoyed. The mystery was interesting filled with a multitude of characters who were well integrated into the story.
Love it.

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T.E. Kinsey is consistently producing witty engaging cosy mysteries that have clever insights in the country life of an early 20th century English lady and her maid, enjoying a restful retirement after a life of intrigue, spying, and hi jinks. Well, that was their intent - but somehow genteel mayhem and mysteries seem to pursue them, leavened with good humor and subtle social commentary on social class and norms. The latest mystery centers around a murder conducted in the agrarian context of orchardists and a secret society. All is solved by Lady Hardcastle and her doughty assistant Flo in the end, but the pleasure is in the process of getting there. Highly recommended.

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I love cosy mysteries as you can return to a familiar setting and characters and T.E. Kinsey has created a gem with this one! I love Lady Hardcastle and Flo and they are off on another mystery in “Rotten to the Core”!

A murder occurs right in their own little village this time and this one has a harvest theme. This one winds all over, it quite the tale! There are plenty of fun, light moments included in amongst the investigation.

It’s a four out of five (I found it a tad implausible at points) on the enJOYment scale! If you love historical cosy mysteries, don’t miss out on this series!

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As an avid follower of Lady Hardcastle and Flo this book, the eighth in the series, matched the usual highly enjoyable and entertaining standards we have come to expect. With a murder rate competing with Midsommer, Little Cotterell punches above it’s weight but then again so does Flo! With members of the local, not so secret society of Weryers of Pomary falling quickly enough to worry Isaac Newton the Ladies must find the motive before the Society begins to crumble. What happened in the past provides a lead and and as the net closes the Ladies are hard pressed to bring the killer(s) to justice. Look forward to the next book and my thanks to Net Galley and publisher for this early opportunity to read and review.

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Set during an unusual heatwave in rural England in 1911, Rotten to the Core is a splendidly witty, endearing, engaging and delicious murder mystery story rife with adventures. Not only that but the characters are so easy to envision! Oh, how fun it would be to cavort with reckless Lady Emily Hardcastle with her need for speed and her common-sense astute assistant and dearest friend Flo, two ladies who are no strangers to murder investigations. Inspector Sunderland recognizes their skills and talents and is happy to have their aid. They balance each other beautifully and tease each other relentlessly, all in good fun, but have what it takes to solve crimes. Their refreshing bantering relationship and perceptions into human nature give me such joy.

The historical bits such as cider making and the true heatwave of 1911 add authenticity. The harvest was extremely early that year, creating havoc and, in this case, contributed to murder and mayhem. Colourful characters in an English setting (think traditional local pubs, apples and secret meetings held in corners) play a big role in the story. Daisy is one of my favourite characters.

Though all the books in the Lady Hardcastle Mystery series can be read as standalones, tiny snippets of past investigations are alluded to (such as a Dubrovnik debacle), just enough to tantalize without making the reader feel like being enveloped in a cloud of fog of bewilderment. Historical Fiction and Mystery readers ought to flock to this cozy series, one of the wittiest you will ever read, laugh out loud funny without being nonsensical. Sure, there are a few far-fetched situations (death via cider) but they are creatively done.

My sincere thank you to Amazon Publishing UK and NetGalley for the privilege of reading this wonderful, wonderful book! I look forward to discovering what the terrific author has in store in book #9!

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Thanks to Net Galley for this ARC. This series is still going strong at book 8. The characters are great and so are the story lines. No repetitiveness like with some authors. Looking forward to No 9!

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Lady Hardcastle and Flo were at it again, with their penchant, for solving mysterious, puzzling deaths. I thought their conversations with each other to be a bit overblown. Although I have to say their investigative skills were on point. It was intriguing, a bit chatty, and also captivating.

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I didn't know exactly what to expect when I read the first Lady Hardcastle mystery, except that it was a cozy mystery with “quirky” characters (if I remember the description correctly). And I was absolutely delighted with what I read. That is equally, if not more so, true for this latest in the series, Rotten to the Core. Lady Hardcastle and her associate Flo Armstrong are in their hometown of Littleton Cottrell, learning about the upcoming autumn harvest festival when someone is killed (surprise, surprise). An apple orchard owner was stabbed and placed with an apple in his mouth.

The amateur sleuths' investigation, conversations with their friendly barmaid-gossip Daisy and their in-the-know cook Edna, diligent clue searching all ensue. Of course, complications abound with many possible local suspects, a newcomer to the village, and secrets held by a mysterious apple warden group (they may have coined that term).

I know that many other readers of T. E. Kinsey's series are like me – I read these books more for the incomparable repartee between Emily Hardcastle and Florence Armstrong than I do for the who-dunit. Superb, droll badinage that clearly resonates with a mutual, long-standing comprehension of each others personality and foibles. And this iteration has much more of those comical conversations than the last couple of novels – in which I was sorely missing the abundance of humor, given the times we live in.

If you haven't read any of this series, do so as soon as possible! There are a few references to previous plot points from earlier books, so reading an earlier one-- or reading them all in order (my recommendation!) – might slightly improve the reader's appreciation of Rotten to the Core. But it is sufficiently stand-alone to more than repay the time taken to relish in the goings-on of Littleton Cotterell.

I want to thank publisher Thomas & Mercer and NetGalley for an advance copy of this book. This is an honest review.

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Many thanks to NetGalley and Thomas & Mercer for this Advanced Reader Copy and the opportunity to review “Rotten to the Core.” All opinions and comments are my own.

Lady Emily Hardcastle and her lady’s maid Florence Armstrong (best friend is more like) are up to their attractive ankles (well Flo’s, perhaps; Lady H would probably not describe hers that way) in bodies in “Rotten to the Core,” the eighth in the entertaining series by T.E. Kinsey that finds our duo investigating an ever-increasing series of deaths in and about the small English village of Littleton Cotterell.

Life’s been quiet for a few weeks around the village. But that ends abruptly. A member of the “Weryers Pomary,” the Cider Wardens, a local men’s group that does “good works” is found murdered in his apple orchard. Luckily for us the local coppers have realized that Lady H and Flo come in awfully handy when it comes to murder investigations. People do like to tell them things. And they are ferrets when it comes to crisscrossing the county themselves, digging out clues. “I have every confidence in us,” Lady H says. Well deserved.

So, investigating they go, to find that a reason for murder -- the old bystanders, envy, jealousy and/or revenge, perhaps -- is actually, rather diabolical, and really quite evil, in the end. For our killer doesn’t stop with just one murder, oh, no. We eventually have three in the present day, with ties to a fourth that happened twenty years ago. All of this takes quite a while to figure out, as you can imagine, and the famous crime board gets a real workout. But persistence pays off, and not a moment too soon, as our ladies are threatened. Not that a reader should be worried about that, not for a second. After all, they have a Harvest Festival to attend.

This is a fictional world with wonderful characters (the barmaid Daisy’s a treat) inside a mystery with clues keeping you guessing until the last pages. And there’s always a bit of “side story” to whet one’s appetite, including tidbits of the past lives of our two heroines; quite the characters they are, also. And did I mention the banter between the two? I haven’t up to now, but I shall remedy that omission.

An author’s note explains about happenings, terms, people and places, and time frames used in the story. And how references from “The Goon Show” came about. Flo would be so proud.

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I adore Lady Hardcastle and Flo. This is one of my favorite cozy mystery series ever. I recommend it frequently. I love the humor and banter between Lady H and her maid. They are so much fun together. They keep the feel of the books light despite the murder(s) that take place.

This one contains several murders but none of them happen on the page so it is not too graphic. The attempted murder is on the page but once again, the ladies manage.

I usually listen to the audio version of these books because I think the narrator, Elizabeth Knoweldon is spectacular as Flo, who is the narrating voice of the story. At least I assume she will continue to narrate the books. But I had the opportunity for the advance ebook copy of this so I settled on reading it myself. Given a choice, I would always chose the audiobook because - this narrator = spectacular! But I enjoyed hearing Flo's voice in my head as well. And I'll still get the audio for my husband and me to listen to while traveling. I'll be able to enjoy this story both ways.

Sex: references to marital affairs
Language: Once, I think
Violence: yes, but nothing too graphic

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I absolutely love this series and have read most of the books. I hadn't read the previous two however but it didn't matter. If you haven't read the previous books you easily pick the characters up and they can be read as a standalone. There are hints at past cases but it doesn't ruin the experience.

This was a fast paced and turny read.

I also really enjoyed the authors note at the end on the historical accuracies and inaccuracies.

Thank you for the arc.

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I absolutely love cozy mysteries and "Rotten to the Core" was a wonderful addition to the genre. Great read!

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I am a first time read of this author T E Kinsey and the series around the characters Lady Hardcastle and Flo.

I loved the wit and humor exchanging between the 2 main characters and the storyline that develops. I will definitely be looking for more cozy reads by this author.

A fun witty and most enjoyable read.

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Anyone who enjoys historical mysteries which involve minutiae, merriment, and musing really needs to make the acquaintance of Lady Hardcastle and her (so much more than a) maid, Florence Armstrong. The banter between these two main characters is the highlight of the series, but there is much more to T.E. Kinsey's mysteries than laughs.

In Rotten to the Core, I learned about the cider industry in England and about some of the ancient organizations created to make the business thrive. (That's one of the things I love about this series so much-- Kinsey focuses on "something new" at the turn of the twentieth century in each book, so I've learned about automobiles, flying machines, the movie industry, etc. as I follow along in the two characters' wake.) I also learned that butterfly in Welsh means "living ember," one of those trivial nuggets perfect for squirreling away to bring out to amaze and amuse your friends at a later date. And how about those librarians who disobeyed orders and began creating the newspaper archives that became important sources of information for Lady Hardcastle and Florence? Three cheers for librarians!

As the hunt for a murderer becomes dire, Kinsey's two intrepid sleuths find their list of suspects growing instead of shrinking, and even though Lady Hardcastle believes that the mysterious woman staying at the Dog and Duck has more to do with this business than meets the eye, Florence urges caution: "The mysterious stranger is always a red herring. You should read more."

Is that mystery woman a killer? You'll just have to get your hands on a copy of Rotten to the Core to find out. The book has enough backstory so that new readers should not feel lost, but I will warn you: these books are highly addictive. Don't be surprised if you read one and find yourself looking for all the rest. They are little gems of light-hearted fun.

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T E Kinsey's book in this series are always entertaining and a lot of fun to read like this one.
A solid plot, plenty of humour, a mystery that kept me guessing.
Highly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine

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It's 1911 in the English countryside and the hottest one
anyone can remember. The people of the small market town of Littleton Cotterell are planning for an early harvest and the obligatory Harvest Festival. As usual, Lady Hardcastle and her maid/sidekick/friend Flo Armstrong are knee-deep in the planning, whether they want to be or not. They stroll down to the local pub one hot evening and find everyone at tables outside. When they go inside to order, they find a group of men gathered. These are the " Weryers of The Pomary" or the Cider Wardens. The organization has been around for hundreds of years, doing "good works" and holding much sway in the area. Lady Hardcastle and Flo think it to be just another eccentric feature of rural life. Until the next day, they learn that one of the Wardens has been murdered. When Wardens are murdered, one by one, their friend, Inspector Sunderland, asks them to become involved. They soon find that much more is going on than is ever mentioned in "polite" conversation. Those unmentioned things nearly get them killed.

Rotten To The Core is delightful, full of humor, and clever repartee. I always know I will be immersed in a few hours of pure enjoyment. A quote from Agatha Christie, "In an English village, you turn over a stone and have no idea what will crawl out," always comes to mind when reading this series. T.E. Kinsey owes much to Miss Marple, but Lady Hardcastle and Flo are much more fun. The characters, like their friend, Daisy the barmaid, Inspector Sunderland, and the Farley-Strouds add an extra bit of laughter to the mix. I highly recommend starting with the first in the series, A Quiet Life in the Country, to discover more about Lady Hardcastle and Flo's adventures in the years before the country life.

Thanks to NetGalley and Thomas & Mercer for an advance digital copy. The opinions are my own.

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The summer of 1911 was a hot one in England, and Littleton Cotterell seemed to have the hottest days of all. The usual meeting of the Weryers at the Dog and Duck pub, where Lady Hardcastle and Florence Armstrong were headed, introduced them to this enigmatic group of friendly, charity conscious men, as well as their idiosyncrasies, but it wasn’t until one of them was murdered that their interest became serious. Lady Hardcastle and Flo were highly successful amateur sleuths and as such, Inspector Sunderland requested their help once again.

Lady Hardcastle put her crime board on the wall where both could see and add to it as suspects came to hand. But while their suspect list was long, no one in particular stood out. When a second death was discovered, the race was on. But would Lady H and Flo identify the killer before any more died? Or would this one be their last case as they found themselves too close to the killer?

Rotten to the Core is the 8th in the Lady Hardcastle Mysteries by T.E. Kinsey and once again I loved it. Laugh out loud moments throughout the book, I love the repartee between little servant and mistress! Plenty of suspense riddles the humour, and danger shows its head as well. An excellent team, especially as the police recognize their value, Lady H and Flo are a couple of sleuths I hope we see much more of. 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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Lady Hardcastle and her lady’s maid, Flo, are at it again! Littleton Cotterell experiences a murder during the preparations for an early harvest and, of course, Lady Hardcastle and Flo must extend their expansive expertise to help the local police. They uncover clues pointing to an ancient secret society, moonlit rituals, and a death years before. When someone else ends up dead, the duo must find who is Rotten to the Core before they end up being the next victims!

This series is a lot of fun and this addition is no exception. Lady Hardcastle and Flo are humorous and light-heartedly poke fun at the class differences as well as their oh, so, secret past as agents for the crown all over the world (they have no problem trouble telling their exploits to everyone).

A fun romp and decent mystery too. This is really a series that you should read if you haven’t already!

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an ARC in return for a honest review.

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Mr. Kinsey has done it again. Lady Hardcastle and Flo are on another adventure, this time in their own village. The harvest festival is coming up, and the cider is running freely until a member of the Protectors of the Orchard is found murdered in his orchard. Lady H. and Flo have no shortage of suspects, but they inconveniently keep dying off. But fear not, our intrepid ladies restore peace and order to their village in time for the festivities. As usual, Lady H and Flo are a great duo. I like the mutual respect and friendship between the two women. The mystery makes sense, and is solved in a logical manner. There’s even a red herring thrown in for fun, and an advanced warning of a red herring being thrown in for fun. This is another great entry to the series, and I can’t wait to see what the ladies are up to next.

I received a free advance copy of this book from NetGalley.

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I love the Lady Hardcastle series, and this is the eight book that features her and her maid/friend Flo Armstrong, this time again in the countryside. A member of the Weryers society is found stabbed in his apple orchard, and Inspector Sunderland requests their help once more. With the help of chatter, the crime board and their wits they finally find out what really happened a while ago and how it all turned to today´s crime. I love the amateur sleuths with their banter and unusual abilities, and there are also other well-depicted characters. The suspects are many, perhaps too many, but there is an exciting solutions. Looking ahead to the next book in the series!
Thanks to the publisher Thomas & Mercer and Netgalley for an arc ebook in exchange for an honest review.

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In this, the eighth featuring Lady Hardcastle and her lady's maid, Flo, is set in the village of Littleton Cotterell in the summer of 1911. The detecting duo find themselves looking into the murder of a local apple grower. The general feeling is that he was the last person someone would murder. Well the killer isn't going to stop with one murder (or more) and Lady Hardcastle and Flo - again - team up with Inspector Sunderland to find out what dark secrets are hidden in a local group of cider wardens known as the Weryers Pomary. Remember, small English villages can be dangerous.
I have read the entire series and enjoyed each one. I am looking forward to the next in the series, An Act of Foul Play, due out November 29, 2022. Each works fine as a standalone with a lovely setting, a great pair of amateur sleuths and a mystery to keep the reader satisfyingly puzzled to the very end.
My thanks to the publisher Thomas & Mercer and to NetGalley for giving me an advance copy in exchange for my honest review.

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Enjoyable, engaging and entertaining as always with a funny storyline and a colourful cast. I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily

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1911 Littleton Cotterell. The crime solving duo of Lady Hardcadtle and Florence Armstrong are asked by Inspector Sunderland for help when a body is discovered. That of Claud Cridland found in a nearby orchard, stabbed. Was being a member of the Cider Wardens the reason for his death for this unassuming man. Then another of the Wardens is discovered dead.
A well-written and entertaining historical mystery with its fun and likeable main characters. The secondary characters also add to the enjoyment. This is another good addition to the series.
An ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Rotten to the Core is my first read in this series featuring Lady Emily Hardcastle and her confidante and maid, Flo Armstrong, by author T E Kinsey. Set in 1911, in Littleton Cotterell I really enjoyed the witty repartee and humour between the main characters and I appreciated the roles of many of the supporting characters, too, including barmaid, Daisy and housemaid, Edna. I will definitely be reading more from this series. Well worth a look.

I received a complimentary copy of this novel from Amazon Publishing UK, Thomas & Mercer via NetGalley at my request and this review is my own unbiased opinion.

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A very enjoyable addition to a favorite series of mine. I really don’t care what Flo and Lady Hardcastle do, I just want to hear about it whatever it is. So, as I tootle and pootle along I am on tentacles waiting for the next book in the series. Just quoting Lady Hardcastle.

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Another sterling romp from the pen of Tim Keinsey! I love his series featuring Lady H and Flo, and this eighth outing does not disappoint. The village of Littleton Cotterill is rocked by the murder of one of their own, owner of a thriving orchard supplying apples for their famous cider. More murders follow and the ladies are recruited by Inspector Sunderland to help him solve the crimes. This story has a bit of edginess and 'bite' to it which adds a nuance to this tale. Highly enjoyable with plenty of humour, great side characters and a fair bit of gore- but always in the best possible taste of course. My grateful thanks to Netgalley, the publishers and Mr Kinsey for a brilliant tale.

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This way by far my favourite book in the Lady Hardcastle series! I love how Kinsey writes the relationship between Lady H and Armstrong. It's always the highlight of the novel, but for "Rotten to the Core" in particular it was a nice change of pace to see a storyline that was a little more sinister. Can't wait for the next installment!

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What an utter joy. I love this series wholeheartedly and I love this instalment just as much.

It’s fun, has always some interesting tidbits of history I had no idea about, the mystery is always well plotted. I love it.

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Lady Hardcastle and Flo are walking home and meet a beautiful young woman who asks them if the pub still has rooms. They wonder what she is doing in Little Cotterell. After dinner they go to the pub, and everyone seems to be outside. Inside there is a group of 12 men who don't want others around. It is a meeting of the Weryers of the Pomary, known as the Guardians of the Orchard. The next morning, Edna tells Lady Hardcastle and Flo that Cridland, a local farmer and Weryer had been murdered in his orchard. Soon Sergeant Dobbins arrives to ask for their help.

Lady Hardcastle and Flo work with Inspector Sunderland to try to find out who killed Cridland and why. However, it is a difficult case because there are several other Weryers who might have killed him, a few who were turned down for membership by the Weryers, as well as the woman stranger who is still in town. They have seen the woman near the homes of several Weryers, and she is very noncommunicative. I enjoy the clever repartee between Lady Hardcastle and Flo. Before long, one of their suspects is also killed and they begin to think it has something to do with the murder of a Weryer 20 years previously. After the third murder, Lady Hardcastle and Flo soon find out that they are next in line to be murdered.

This is a fun, clever cozy mystery with humor and suspense. I thank Netgalley and Amazon Publishing for allowing me to read the ARC in return for an honest review.

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Lady Hardcastle and her assistant Florence have an interesting history. They work for the British government every now and then. They have traveled the world together. Actually, they were escaping danger at the time. And surprisingly, they also investigate for the police department every now and then.

The ladies live in a village populated by wonderful characters. And they all add a great deal to the fabric of each story.

A dead body is found. The man was a member of an ancient society. He was also considered to be a very good man. No one would want to murder him, would they?

When there is another body, the investigation gets even more intense.

But, there is no rhyme or reason to the case. The list of suspects seems to grow with every question asked and answered.

This is a wonderful story. There is humor and mystery. The reader is given all the information as the story moves along. The journey to the solution is filled with fully formed characters and exciting events..
The villagers all admire Lady Hardcastle and Florence. They easily provide answers to any questions.

This book is part of a series. I believe complete enjoyment requires reading every book. But, each book can be read as a stand alone read.

I received this book from the publisher through NetGalley. I am voluntarily writing this review and all opinions are completely my own.

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Just what were they up to in that not-so-secret secret society?

Rotten to the Core is the second book I’ve read in TE Kinsey’s Lady Hardcastle series, and I enjoyed it quite as much as I did the previous one. At first, I was a little worried, because I was so much in love with the early, pre-WWI, aviation background of The Fatal Flying Affair, and I was concerned that without that setting, I might not like Rotten as much. But I actually found that not being distracted by a background that I knew a lot about let me focus a bit more on the story itself. And I really liked the story in Rotten.

As the book opens, Claud Cridland has been found dead in the apple orchard. He’s a member of a (semi) secret society, the Weryers of the Pomary, which appears to have some hazy and dark origins - not least of which is their name! But the group is now generally seen more as a chance for some worthy locals (and, possibly, some not-so-worthy ones as well) to hang out and drink a bit more cider than they should, while ostensibly providing support for charities in the region. And to be fair to the Weryers, it seems they really do do some good works, but readers can decide for themselves which is likely to be the true motivating factor…

Like many service organizations, however, the Weryers have some fissures and cracks, and it becomes the job of Lady Hardcastle and Flo to figure out what really is going on amongst the various members, and whether this had anything to do with Claud’s demise. And with the help of some continuing series characters (Inspector Sunderland, Dr. Gosling, Daisy, Edna, Miss Jones), they are up to the task: putting their lives in peril with Lady Hardcastle’s driving as they chase around the county in the Silver Ghost, reading old newspapers in the Chipping Bevington library, witnessing a midnight meeting of the Weryers in the orchard, finding a few more dead bodies, filling out Lady Hardcastle’s “crime board”, and figuring out who the pretty new stranger in town is too.

Rotten is a classic historical cozy, but still manages to riff on some common human themes we can all relate to. At the same time, though, Kinsey’s writing is peppered with amusing moments. I especially liked Flo’s suggestion near the end that the Weryers should start admitting women (heavens !!!) to help make up their numbers, which were sadly depleted before the events in Rotten finally concluded. If I have any complaint at all, it’s a minor one, which is that I’m still having a bit of trouble with some of Lady Hardcastle’s and Flo’s backstory. But really, that’s more on me, since I’ve chosen to read the two most recent books first, and I need (and want) to go back and read at least some of the earlier ones, just to get a better feel for the characters. This isn’t a huge deal, though, because Kinsey provides just enough background to keep newbies like myself “in the story”. Finally, I’d like to note that Kinsey has again provided a nice historical summary at the end, and I always appreciate it when authors of historical novels share a bit of the research they’ve done, letting us know what is genuine background, and what is the author’s imagination.

So, five stars for Rotten to the Core, and, last, but not least, my thanks to Thomas & Mercer UK and to NetGalley for the review copy!

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This is always such a charming series, Lady Hardcastle and her companion Flo are are delightful as ever. The cast of characters in this book are wonderful and colorful and the mystery is both fun and fascinating historically.

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The Lady Hardcastle books are cozy as having your feet tucked into thick socks under a blanket while you sip some cocoa. I love them all! Elizabeth Knowelden is perfect as the narrator and does remarkable and unique voices for all of the characters. In fact, I suspect T E Kinsey writes some of these words just to hear her say them.

Rotten to the Core is a worthy addition to an already classic (in my opinion) series. There is little to improve on so this feels like a fantastic continuation of these women's lives and I can't get enough. As always this was a great mystery and a delightful experience all around.
Well done T E Kinsey and well done Elizabeth Knowelden!

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This delightfully entertaining, witty, and well-written series just keeps getting better and better! This latest installment brings us a mysterious ‘secret’ society that does good works (or do they?); victims who are likable, but certainly have secrets; past murders to solve; and some pretty nasty villains, Our usual cast of funny and entertaining characters are out in full force as is our intrepid former spies turned investigators – Lady Hardcastle and her lady’s maid, Flo. If you are looking for a refreshingly entertaining read, this is the one for you!

With the unseasonably hot weather bringing on an early apple harvest, the villagers are tickled to have an early cider festival. Everyone is busily planning events and all of them are centered around apples and cider – from food on the square to the secretive rituals of the Weryers. Those Weryers are an ancient group with darker roots than the current participants utilize. They do good works, support charities, and generally help the areas. But, maybe those dark roots haven’t completely disappeared – because one of them is found murdered in his apple orchard. Then in a matter of days, two more Weryers are also found murdered.

Who in the world could have it in for the Weryers who do nothing except help residents of the area? Could it be another Weryer who wants to move up within the organization? Could it be the stranger who is visiting the village? Does it have anything at all to do with a murder that happened twenty years ago?

As always, the constabulary turns to Lady Hardcastle and Flo to help solve the case. Will they solve the case or become victims themselves? This villain doesn’t care how many bodies there are as long as he doesn’t get caught, so a couple of amateur sleuths wouldn’t bother him in the least.

I can highly recommend this book and this series. I love the lively banter between Lady Hardcastle and Flo as well as all of the antics they get up to. When you add the locals into the mix, you have a wonderfully entertaining read. I’m already counting the days until the next release!

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Rating : 3.75 out of 5 stars
Blurbs :

Summer 1911. A scorching heatwave engulfs the quiet town of Littleton Cotterell and brings about an unusually early harvest. The villagers are thrilled, but events quickly turn sour when one of them turns up dead in an apple orchard, stabbed through the heart.

Amateur sleuth Lady Hardcastle and her trusty lady’s maid, Flo, suddenly have a juicy case on their hands. Might the mysterious stranger they recently met in the village be to blame?

When a second cider-related murder takes place, it quickly becomes clear that there’s more to these mysterious deaths than meets the eye. The daring duo uncover whispers of an ancient order and moonlit rituals. And evidence points to a macabre secret in the village stretching back years. A secret someone will do anything—anything at all—to keep hidden.

Something is rotten, that’s for sure. With the local constabulary baffled, Lady Hardcastle and Flo must use all their powers of wit and whimsy to get to the bottom of the dastardly deed. But can they catch the killer before any more people drop dead?

Thoughts : If you like a cozy mystery, then you'll enjoy this book. Thanks, Netgalley and publisher for the ARC!

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Lady Hardcastle and Flo are back! Lady Hardcastle is still involved in filmmaking and as they leave the grocer's, they meet a mysterious (and beautiful) on the way out who is looking for the Dog and Duck. They decide to visit the local pub themselves but it's overrun by the Weryers of the Pomary (the Guardians of the Orchard), twelve men who traditionally get the bar to themselves for their meetings. But suddenly, one of the Weryers is dead. And then another.
We get to learn more about village politics and revisit a number of characters in the village. There is some self-reflection as one of the characters comments on the number of dead bodies that the two ladies run into.

Four stars
This book comes out June 7, 2022
Follows The Fatal Flying Affair
ARC kindly provided Amazon Publishing UK and NetGalley
Opinions are my own

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The latest Lady Hardcastle mystery is another fun addition to the series. Our intrepid duo are investigating deaths in a secret society in a nearby village. There are some familiar faces, there is some fun Gloucestershire idioms and Emily and Florence continue to be a crack mystery solving team. An easy, fun read.

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Another great outing with Lady Emily and her friend/business partner/fellow sort of spy Flo. This series, set in pre World War I England, is great fun and doesn't take itself too seriously. Flo and Emily are servant and Lady, but also compatriots who have been through many adventures together. There is a lot of droll humor amidst the detecting.

This time around a murderer is targeting members of a cider-related fraternity, and sending a message: each body is arranged with props in a bizarre little tableau. There are some old animosities, some adulterous bad feelings, and a decades old murder that may or may not be involved. And there is also a mysterious young woman in town which seems like more than coincidence.

An enjoyable and relaxing series, recommended. Thanks to the publisher and to Net Galley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review.

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Highly enjoyed this mystery! Cozy mysteries are such a smooth read and this was no exception.

Characters were great, well written and rounded. There was great arcing as well throughout the plot.

5 Stars. Would recommend.

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I would never normally go into a series without starting at the beginning but the description of this book really interested me so I jumped in. This is set in the early 1900’s. lady Hardcastle and her Lady’s Maid, Flo, live in a village filled with brilliant characters and they have both gained much respect in helping the police solve murders. It is clear that something gruesome is happening close to home when the body of a local man is found in an apple orchard. Lady Hardcastle and flo are called apron to help crack the case.
The whole plot was very well thought out and kept me guessing throughout but the real joy of this book for me are the wonderful characters of Lady Hardcastle and Flo. I loved their relationship and their humorous banter . Although they annoy each other they clearly have a special bond. Throughout the story we also cross paths with the locals and I enjoyed all of them!
This is a great cosy mystery with even better characters and I have immediately bought the first book in the series . I can’t wait to really get to know these to women.

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To solve a series of gruesome murders, Lady Hardcastle and her more-than-a lady’s maid, Flo, must examine the history of Littleton Cotterell's "secret" society known as the Weryers of Pomary. Suspense builds as they uncover its past and current doings that reveal the clues! I love this series because it features highly unusual detectives who add fun and wit to their crime-solving skills.

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Another wonderful time with Lady Hardcastle and Florence Armstrong. This time our heroines are out and about solving mysteries around cider and an ancient order of cider protectors (it makes sense later) and the corruption that attends this secret society. There's a bit of a wink and a nod regarding the number of murders in this little part of England and how much our heroines have missed travelling about tracking down criminals in a satisfying way because DAMN, there are bodies lining the streets at this point. My one sort of "hmmm..." take is that I'm not sure if we are supposed to laugh at Emily and Flo putting some of the clues together so quickly and correctly, like it really read like the conspiracy scene in Undercover Brother, or if we are supposed to just move along with them? It's a small quibble. This novel does read as kind of a transitional space - the mystery serves to bring more characters and allies into the entourage while hinting at the roles that Lady Hardcastle and Flo may play before and during WWI. I kind of want them to get there sooner rather than later but that does speak to how great these characters would be on an international stage. A strong recommend.

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I received an ARC via #NetGalley. Interesting mystery set in a charitable group that has a murky past and reputation. Apples and cider play major roles, and some of the details of cider-making were a bit overwhelming. The relationship between Lady Hardcastle and Flo is what makes the books a lot of fun to read, and this one lived up to the others with clever conversations and a lot of tea (and alcohol) shared by the heroines.

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With their customary delight and irascible style Lady Hardcastle and Flo, (her Tiny Servant) find themselves investigating another murder mystery when a body is found in the local apple orchard.

Archaic societies, corruption and revenge abound in another fascinating adventure, that will keep you wildly entertained with every turn of the page.

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T.E. Kinsey does it again! Once more, this little romp with Lady Hardcastle and Flo was delightful. Their friendly and teasing banter is of course the best part of the story, but I thoroughly enjoyed the plot and little mystery of this one too. I liked to see Miss Caudle back with the ladies again as well! This is a must read for any fans of the rest of the series, and well, if people haven't gotten on the Lady H and Flo bandwagon yet, what are you waiting for?!

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Rotten to the Core is number eight in the Lady Hardcastle Series by T E Kinsey. Once again Lady Hardcastle and Flo must discover who is leaving the dead bodies lying around. It is always a pleasure to follow these two along on their adventures. So pull up a chair and have some apple cider at hand and enjoy. Thank you #NetGalley for allowing me to give my honest and voluntary opinion on #RottenToTheCore.

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Thus was a fun and engaging cozy mystery. This was the first Lady Hardcastle mystery I've read, and I look forward to reading more. This one certainly caught my attention from the first with the mystery of who the strange woman was in town and what she might be up to. I highly recommend this book to other cozy mystery readers.

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