How to Solve Murders Like a Lady

The brand-new for 2024 laugh-out-loud British historical detective novel

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Book 2 of No Life for a Lady
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Pub Date 10 Sep 2024 | Archive Date 6 Jun 2024

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'Hannah Dolby does it again...Violet is such a character and her adventures are just delightful.' - Jennifer Paige


Violet Hamilton is no ordinary lady…

She is a Lady Detective, who spends her time solving mysteries and unveiling scandals in the bustling seaside town of Hastings and St Leonards, a popular spot for the Victorian middle classes.

But when the body of a local woman is found on the beach, Violet's efforts to investigate are blocked at every turn.

Is that because, as a woman, she can't possibly be allowed to think or act for herself? Or is it because someone sinister has Violet in their sights?

Jane Austen meets Sherlock Holmes in this delightful mystery of manners that will steal your heart, and transport you to a world of seaside scandal and moonlit balls; dubious doctors and duplicitous crooked lords; adventurous escapades and stolen kisses.


Praise for Hannah Dolby:

'Delightfully quirky, joyful and original' - Adele Parks

'Pure joy and utterly charming' - Faith Hogan

'Dolby's character delights with winsome wit and intuition. A fabulous read' - M J Robotham

'Hannah Dolby's second novel is as warm, witty and wonderful as her first.' - Kathleen Whyman

'Hannah Dolby does it again...Violet is such a character and her adventures are just delightful.' - Jennifer Paige


Violet Hamilton is no ordinary lady…

She is a Lady Detective, who spends her time...

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ISBN 9781804544433
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Featured Reviews

Another delightful book with the undeterred Violet whose anger at being treated as flighty or worse foolishly, simply because she is a woman is not only very easily imagined, but also very endearing. And she is someone who cares for others, but perhaps not for their opinions or unkindness, but does try to give some a second chance. But only a second one as we women cannot go on forever trying to find the good in those that do not care that much for others, don't we?!

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of the book.

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Another superb book in the series! It’s not essential to read the first book as a gentle recap is gone through in the first few chapters however it’s such a delightful series that I’d recommend reading the first book. The characters are quaint and capture the era beautifully, there’s gentle humour throughout, a true heroine who struggles with being a woman in her time and some lovely observations male/female stereotypes and perceptions. Of course there are mysteries and a murder to solve as well - I loved it, an absolute delight!

Thank you to Netgalley the author and publishers for an arc in exchange for an honest review

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How to solve murders like a lady by Hannah Dolby

It took time for me to warm up to book 1 and when I did I was completely in love with the story and the characters, so I expected to jump straight back in the world that the author created and I did but again it took me along time.. the books are slow to get going but when you are in the middle of the story, you are hooked.

Again there is a solid mystery at the heart of the book, the murder of Mrs Withers and the indecisions of Violet towards Benjamin and life and how just being a woman will hamper her life.

I enjoyed the book and I hope for more cases for both Violet and Benjamin.. I want to see who they can become and what they can achieve.

#Netgalley #mystery #lady

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This is a sequel to the witty and fascinating book No Life for a Lady. Set ‘in the year of our Lord, 1897’ in Hastings, our heroine is still struggling against the restraints of society (women should be seen and not heard and be kept in their place by men, who are superior in every way) and her autocratic father, to become a Lady Detective.

Without ruining the twists and turns, this is an even more enjoyable tale than the previous one. Not only has she found herself a good man (though doesn’t want to marry unless he agrees to her becoming a Lady Detective, despite the opposition to such a calling for a woman in the town) but she finds herself embroiled with murder and mayhem.

Lots of the original characters are back, plus several new ones, with good and bad intent. The writing is such that you can believe it was written at that time, without it becoming cliched or unclear.

Set in Hastings, with mention of real people who lived in the town, and real settings (you can follow her exploits street by street) this is great fun as well as clever and inventive. There are splendid set-pieces: a fight to the death with an evil Lord on Hastings Pier and a bomb about to go off on the West Hill lift which she has to defuse before Hastings gets blown to smithereens.

Hopefully she is sitting down chronicling her next case right now as I can’t wait to read it.

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A brilliant read by Hannah Dolby, with a sometimes humorous story about being a lady detective in a time when such things were frowned upon. Thank you to netgalley and the publishers for giving me a copy of the book. Definitely recommended.

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I absolutely loved the first book about intrepid Violet, and I was so excited to read this one. It did not disappoint! Funny, clever, and bristling with loveable characters, this is the ultimate comfort read. I absolutely love the gentle thread of romance (I’m always longing for more scenes between Benjamin and Violet), and I hope there will be a hundred more of these. Perfect for fans of Deanna Raybourn, and a real joy.

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How to Solve Murders Like a Lady is the sequel to No Life for a Lady which I read last year.
Violet is determined to prove herself as a capable detective, despite societal constraints!
The case in question: the murder of Mrs Withers.
As was the first book in the series, this is a delightful read, perfect for lovers of historical mysteries and light-hearted romance. I now eagerly await the next installment 🕵️‍♀️

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I adored Hannah Dolby's debut, 'No Life for a Lady', featuring the naive and sheltered Violet Hamilton determined to uncover what happened to her mother a decade ago, while dodging every attempt by her father to marry her off. To my delight, Violet returns for another adventure forging her way as a 'lady detective'. This time, Violet is determined to uncover who murdered the judgemental Mrs Withers.

Now engaged to detective and furniture-repairer Benjamin, Violet's still reluctant to marry him, wanting to focus solely on her career. Refreshingly, Ben is patient, understanding and knows its up to Violet to decide. I absolutely adored the scenes with both of them, which for me, are the heart of these books. Ben knows Violet is a force of nature and his calm, supportive manner provides the best partner for her. I cackled at his attempts to woo her via a letter which goes over the head of Violet who replies with a matter-of-fact response.

Interwoven in is the restricted role of women, and the ever-present danger of being thrown in an asylum just for being outspoken and resistent to men's attempts to control them. I appreciated that Violet, knowing she is sheltered and lacking in knowledge, still understands and experiences the discrimination and danger she faces bucking against the system.

Packed with humour and a heroine to champion, this book was a worthy sequel to the first. I was bereft when I finished. I'm hoping there's more Violet ahead because she's such a compelling character who has grown so much through the two books. I feel like we've only just got started on her adventures and I hope to join her for more.

Thanks to Aria & Aries and NetGalley for the ARC. I've pre-ordered by book and audiobook.

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Violet Hamilton is an intreped, impetuous and inspiring Lady Detective. Fighting against conventional society that demands respectablity and ladylike behaviour from young women, she strives to learn all the detecting skills she will need in her chosen career from her hunk of a fiance. From rescuing goats to escaping from the threat of an electric corset her latest adventures are colourful, laugh out loud hilarious and on the whole widely successful even if at times against the odds. The plot is actually very sensible and well thought out, the setting of Hastings and its environs is knowledgeable and beautifully evoked and the historical detail is authentic and obviously well researched. I thoroughly enjoyed this outing, the author writes with a light touch exacting both the humour and the pathos from the story and the characters. I look forward to the next adventure with great anticipation.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for an opportunity to read this.

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I was very happy to be invited to read this by netgalley, since I'd been periodically checking to see if this book had been announced since reading the first one last year. I reread the first book in preparation for this one and I'm glad I did because I could really see how the tone of this series really flows over the course of the two books.

I think the thing that's most interesting about this series following Violet is that we as a reader often know more than her in terms of the culture she's living in. What I mean is, Violet is self admittedly sheltered and sometimes naive because of her upbringing as a proper victorian lady - though she's taking steps to rectify this. It means that when she checks herself into a ladies 'health center' we as the audience know she could be in real danger, because we know historically and especially during this time period women's health often involved some horrendous tactics. It gives an undercurrent of danger to a series that's overall very light hearted which means you get to emotionally invest in Violet (but with the comfort of knowing it's probably going to be all right in the end)

The plot in this one got a little bit convoluted but I just love seeing Violet figuring things out on her own. Benjamin is a great love interest, mostly because he knows he can't stop her from doing whatever it is she pleases. He never strays too far into over protective love interest mode which is actually very refreshing for this genre.

Overall this is a cute series with well written humor and a real joy at the heart of it as we see Violet getting into various shenanigans. I'll be looking out for the next book.

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Having thoroughly enjoyed the author's first book in this series, 'No Life for a Lady', I was keen to read thus second novel and I was not disappointed! The hilarious business partnership of Violet Hamilton and Benjamin Blackthorn has now been formalised and they are solving mainly minor crimes throughout St Leonard's and Hastings.
However, they soon become embroiled in a crime far more serious and sinister.
I love Violet and her get up and go attitude. This is a woman who will not be told to remain in her place or act like a lady! She is funny- hilarious in fact- and determined to solve the crime. Her relationship with Benjamin is delightful, and I found myself chuckling out loud whilst reading.
I really enjoy the historic setting of these novels, I think the early 1900s? Certainly a period when women were expected to act like ladies and to know their place- something that Violet is unable to tolerate!
Another thoroughly enjoyable story- highly recommended!

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This is the second in the series and I have loved seeing Violet grow as a character and as a young woman, newly engaged and finding her feet in the relationship amongst the Victorian rules of society. There is plenty of mischief and mysteries to solve for Violet and Benjamin in this one and a spattering of real history in too - electric corset anyone?! Thoroughly enjoyed and will certainly be on the lookout for book 3.

**Thanks to NetGalley, the publisher and author for the opportunity to read an advanced e-copy of this book. All opinions are my own **

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Violet (and the lovely Benjamin) is back and she is as intrepid and delightful as ever.

If the first (fabulous) book was about a young woman finding her voice and purpose in a patriarchal, small town, Victorian society, How to Solve Murders Like a Lady shows Violet learning to use that voice. Violet is now engaged to Benjamin, but mostly so she can be his business partner and learn how to be a detective without causing a scandal. Of course she likes him, is sometimes a little fixated by his forearms, has fond and disturbing memories of certain activities in a railway carriage, but is it love? Does he love her? And if so what does that mean for her fledgling independence? Marriage is the end of a woman's career after all. While she battles with these questions there are crimes to solve and if missing goats doesn't feel like the biggest of tasks, it's a start. But things soon take a darker turn and Violet finds her new profession can lead to very real danger.

Of course, Violet is not just thwarted by crime and criminality, she also has to battle with the expectations of a lady's behaviour in a patriarchal society where a woman has few rights. There were so many passages I wanted to underline, to annotate, to put on a tshirt as Violet grows in spirit, confidence and independence. She is a keen, satirical, questioning observer and narrator, and if sometimes naive that's because that's how society has brought her up to be.

How to Solve Murders Like a Lady is a more than worthy sequel which could be read as a standalone, and I for one can't wait to see what Violet does next. I loved every word. Highly recommended.

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i greatly enjoyed <i> no life for a lady </i> and was thrilled to discover it had a sequel! thank you again to netgalley for this copy. violet remains endearing to me; her antics and interactions with the various characters in her seaside town make for an easy, entertaining cozy read. although, i thought the pacing was slower here, which could get a bit boring.

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I loved this book. Violet Hamilton is a brave and impetuous Lady Detective, newly engaged and chafing against the restrictions on her life. I hadn’t read the first book in this series by Hannah Dolby but I certainly will now. Violet is a fantastic character, modern but still very much a product of her upbringing and the times in which she lives, which is a difficult balance to achieve. The book is very funny, with an excellent central story and secondary characters, and a lovely sense of time and place. Hugely enjoyable.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an advance copy in return for an honest review.

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I love Violet so much. I especially love how her character has developed more through this book.

This one does jump about a lot more than the previous book with it following multiple cases at different stages.

I really enjoyed it though and I do hope there's another book to follow though!

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Bravo Hannah Dolby! Sequels are a tricky thing but you have totally nailed it. Once again I found myself laughing out loud while also learning so much about history and savouring every word on every page.

The humour is clever and witty and it snuck up on me, managing to make me splutter in hysterics in one scene and smirk or giggle in others.

Not only did I learn about the ways people behaved and dressed in days gone by and the forgotten activities such as bath chairs, but the use of language was fascinating and delightful.

It is obvious a lot of research has gone into the creation of this novel, but also a lot of imagination. So many genres contain many, many books that can become almost interchangeable but this is so original and refreshing.

Please let there be more adventures to come for this Lady Detective.

I received this arc from netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

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I loved No Life for A Life and was so excited to read the second! It didn't disappoint. Violet is still as brilliantly independent as ever and her relationship with Benjamin just lovely. I also enjoyed her better understanding her father and his love for his girlfriend. There were a number of interesting themes including corruption and also 'water cures'. I love how Hastings is bought to vivid life and also the mix of characters from the rejected librarian to the light-fingered auntie. Violet learning to ride a bicycle with her friends is fun. While when she has to swim away from danger, it really was tense. Also the end is brilliant bringing together all parts of the book. It took me a little while to get back into her life again but I would highly recommend as a great comfy and engaging read. Loved it! Thank you!

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Hannah Dolby’s sequel featuring Lady Detective Violet Hamilton impressively expands on her character development. The narrative, while occasionally jumping between cases, remains captivating with Dolby’s witty humour and meticulous research shining through.
The relationship between Violet and her fiancé, Benjamin, adds depth and charm to the story. Benjamin’s supportive nature complements Violet’s determination, creating a dynamic partnership.
Dolby skillfully addresses the societal restrictions faced by women during the period, enhancing the story’s depth. With its engaging plot, humour, and historical backdrop, this sequel proves a worthy follow-up. Fans of historical fiction and mystery will appreciate this captivating tale and eagerly await more adventures with Violet.

I received an ARC copy of this book for free from netgalley and I’m writing this review voluntarily based on my own opinion.

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Title: How to Solve Murders Like a Lady by Hannah Dolby

Release Date: June, 6th, 2024


In the bustling seaside town of Hastings and St Leonards, Lady Detective Violet Hamilton solves mysteries and unveils scandals. But when a local woman's body is found on the beach, Violet's investigations are met with resistance at every turn. Is it because society doubts her abilities as a woman, or is there a more sinister reason? This delightful mystery of manners, reminiscent of Jane Austen meets Sherlock Holmes, promises a captivating journey into a world of seaside scandal, moonlit balls, dubious doctors, and daring escapades.

Lady Detective Violet Hamilton is back, and she's sharper than ever! Armed with wit and determination, she navigates the labyrinth of societal rules while unraveling mysteries that would leave Sherlock Holmes impressed. From moonlit balls to seaside scandals, this book has it all.

The witty humour adds charm to the story, although the plot may become a bit convoluted at times. But what truly sets this novel apart is Violet herself. She's not your average lady of leisure; she's a force to be reckoned with. And let's not forget about Benjamin, her charming love interest, who adds just the right amount of swoon-worthy moments without overshadowing Violet's brilliance.

So grab your magnifying glass and your favourite cup of tea, because Hannah Dolby's latest masterpiece is guaranteed to keep you!


Humorous Banter
Strong Female Lead
Romance subplot

Thank you to The Publisher Aria & Aries | Aria, The Author Hannah Dolby & NetGalley for an advanced reader copy (ARC) in exchange for my honest review.

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4.75 stars rounded up. I have a new historical cosy mystery series to love ❤️. I love Violet’s desire to do more and not be limited by other people or society, I love Benjamin’s whole calm, caring, enlightened manner, and I loved the humour and story. Will definitely go back and read the first book now (events from which are referenced in this book, so bear that in mind if you hate spoilers), and all the subsequent books - of which I hope there will be many!

I received a free ARC copy of this via NetGalley and the publishers in return for an unbiased review.

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Another quirky read from Hannah Dolby about Violet Hamilton aspiring to be a Lady Detective in Hastings in 1897. I don't think one needs to have read the first book as this one certainly stands alone. Delightfully old fashioned and naive with gung-ho Violet and her fiance Benjamin trying to solve a murder. Fun and funny too whilst being joyfully entertaining with some of the turns of phrase.

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Following the exploits of Violet Hamilton feels a bit like being on a rollercoaster. You're flung all over the place, you don't know what's going to happen next and it's all a bit chaotic...but you're also having a really good time.

I really liked the character development in this book, I felt like it really added something to the characters from the first book.

I particularly enjoyed the exploration around womens health and medical treatment, that was really interesting.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for a free eARC of this book

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Rip-roaring sequel to No Life For a Lady.

Following on from the events of the first book, Violet is attempting to start her career as a Lady Detective, not a usual life choice for a Victorian lady. And whilst Benjamin is occupied elsewhere, Violet takes it upon herself to investigate a surprising death in the community.
This is hugely entertaining, full of humour and escapades, with Violet learning to ride a bicycle and running and cycling through Hastings, clambering through windows and wearing dubious disguises.

However, I also liked that Hannah Dolby didn't avoid the treatment of women at the time. Violet is considered a bit of an aberration and, although many members of the community still treat her with respect, many men view her as an hysterical, silly woman who needs to put in her place and controlled. Part of the plot also looks at the "treatments", including drugging, of women who were considered hysterical.
Violet is not a perfect character, she's impulsive, makes some terrible decisions, but she's also self-aware and tries to improve. I did feel like Benjamin wasn't in it as much as the first and I missed their interactions but that is a fairly mild complaint.

Entertaining, funny and engaging; this is an excellent continuation of the Violet Hamilton series.

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Lots of us are after a meaningful job, a great partnership, a better relationship with our challenging families and improved fitness and so is Violet Hamilton! She’s just doing it all in the 19th century and the vibrant seaside town of Hastings and St Leonard’s.
When the body of one of her acquaintances is found in mysterious circumstances, Violet Hamilton continues her investigative adventures as a lady detective, deploying the eye of an outsider and the appearance of an insider to find some answers. Funny and determined, she’s a little bit Miss Marple, a little bit Mma Ramotswe and a lot all herself, if she can just figure out who that is. While she’s working on that, she’ll be solving crimes, escaping spas aimed at healing hysterical women, attending aristocratic soirées and balls, finding the perfect cycling outfit and, quite possibly, rescuing a fiancé worthy of the rescue.

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I adored this book. Equally as good as the first in the series, I do hope there will be more. The literary world needs as much Violet and Benjamin as it can get. A perfect detective duo, a cleverly woven plot, vivid descriptions of Hastings, colourful characters, the regency setting, it’s got everything.

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What an absolute treat of a book, the second in series and as brilliant as the first. This series is FAST becoming one of my favourites.

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I really enjoyed this book and the first in the series. Violet is a very likeable character and while this book was as funny as the first (loved the library scene) I felt it was a bit meatier in terms of the gender discrimination, which I appreciated. I particularly liked the scenes with the dastardly Dr and his ‘spa’.

It was a humorous, fast paced romp and I would definitely read more from this author.

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I only read the first in the series last week (at time of writing), and knew instantly this would be a series I loved and so had to jump on the sequel quickly.

There is some repetition at the start regarding the first one, reminding the reader of the key points. This is good if you haven't read the first in a while. It's handy because you can put yourself back into the story, it helps you remember who was who, and what happened, and where you're at, and then you can spend the rest enjoying it rather than trying to remember exactly what happened.

It started off a little slower than the first, but I didn't mind it much as it helped me settle back into the story.

We get to see a little more of that high society life that Violet was born into; the balls and gowns and jewels. There's also a lot do I put it...belittling of women. I know it was the time period, but there's a lot of "women's problems", talk about how they are weak, only there for baby making, aren't intelligent etc.

As with the first one, I liked reading about Violet. This strong, outspoken, ahead-of-her-time woman who wasn't content to just sit by and let men rule when she was perfectly capable! This is also how I found out that Victorian women weren't allowed to attend funerals for fear of being overcome with emotion. I mean, how ridiculous is that?! It's a funeral, it's meant to be emotional!

It's obviously an historical novel, but it's got elements of cosy crime, thrillers, a bit of romance, action and adventure - it's full to the brim and offers something for everyone.

I generally try not to compare one book with another, but when it's part of a series and follows on, I couldn't help but do so. id I enjoy this one as much as the first? Yes. I didn't think I would, because the first one was so new and fresh for me, and by reading this one so soon after, I wondered if it would be too samey, but it just feels like a continuation of what makes the first one so good.

It isn't serious in like a true crime or Val McDermid sort of way, but nor is it frivolous without substance. It's a cosy crime, but with more emphasis on the characters and the time they live in than the crime itself. It's a pleasure to read, quick to read, fun, and managed to put and keep a smile on my face the whole time.

The first book did a great job of introducing all the characters, the location, the history, the likes and dislikes, reputations etc. and this does a great job of taking what was there an expanding it. I don't know if there are plans for a longer series but I sure hope there is. I could definitely see this being adapted into a TV series.

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Once again Violet, who is a very modern woman living under the confines of Victorian society, is faced with a murder and means to find out who did it. Her fiancé is truly swoonful, the characters are well portrayed and it really did make me laugh out loud at times. Looking forward to her next adventure already.

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I thoroughly enjoyed reuniting with Violet as she continues to pursue her career as a Lady Detective, against societal expectation and with a great partner in tow.
The smatterings of etiquette through the book lend to the charm and the descriptions really bring the period to life (the bathing suit!).
The crime is relatively gentle, the resolution in parts frustrating (just let her have the books!) and in parts revelatory- just as a good detective novel should be!

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This was a brilliant follow up novel to No Life for a Lady. Violet has achieved her ambition of becoming a lady detective and is also engaged to be married. However, she wants to be involved with more than finding lost cats and isn’t totally convinced by her engagement. Benjamin has to go to Scotland and Violet is left alone to run the detective agency and her life instantly becomes a lot more complicated.
I just adore Violet. She is such a believable character. Her frustration with the restrictions placed on her just because she is a woman are entirely credible especially as she does try to stay within those boundaries. I thoroughly enjoyed the situations that she managed to get herself into and the scene where she ends up walking through Hastings after bathing on the beach was hilarious. The cycling scenes were also fun. Violet would obviously be someone who tried such an innovative form of transport.
Her character shows a lot of development in this book and I loved the romance between her and Benjamin. He obviously loves her but she is a lot less sure. She gradually begins to figure out what he really means to her and with this and her relationships with her mother and father, you can really feel her becoming more mature.
The mystery is an interesting one with various side events to keep the reader involved. All of the different pieces come together very satisfyingly at the end of the book.
Hannah Dolby does a fantastic job of bringing the historical setting to life. I can really imagine what Hastings must have been like at the end of the 19th century and I loved the historical detail that was included without feeling overwhelmed by it. I definitely feel that I need to try Strawberry Toast as it sounds amazing. This is a light hearted read but serious issues are touched on such as how powerless women could be at that time.
I absolutely loved this novel and really hope that we haven’t seen the last of Violet. Thank you to Net Galley and the publishers, Aria and Aries for allowing me to read this ARC in exchange for my honest review.

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I have heard about this detective lady Violet Hamilton from several people on Twitter, and was intrigued to ask for #HowToSolveMurdersLikeALady

This book did not disappoint me. Laced with good old-fashioned phrases, In high Duden, in his cups, et cetera and a blossoming feminist in Violet Hamilton, along with her fiancé Benjamin, we encounter a mystery in Hastings.

There is social gossip, societal expectations and a murder. It is up to Violet and Benjamin to sort out the problems, solve the mystery whilst at the same time grappling with expectations of ladies and their role in society.

An excellent entertaining read.

Thanks to #NetGalley For the opportunity to have read this ahead of publication and exchange for an honest review

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This is the second book in this series and it didn’t disappoint.

Violet is a private detective, but it’s set in the late 1800’s so it’s not a normal job for a lady. She’s now engaged to Benjamin who has a furniture shop and detective work. After a ball she finds one of the guests dead and she needs to find who did it.

Great book, like the the first one. Liked the time setting of this book, the author knows a lot about it. Violet is a brilliant character, she’s so different from the rest of the ladies in the book. A great mystery read. 4 stars

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A follow up to her previous success, the lady sleuth is causing mayhem on the south coast, again, gadding about in almost unladylike fashion. Some of the same characters are involved, a cast of very interesting people who may or may not be up to no good. She is a charming if hapless heroine, coming up against the mundane and the serious events of the town with equal measure of intent to solve everything, and sort out some of her own life’s problems

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Violet Hamilton is a lady detective and she decides to investigate the death of a local woman found on the beach but there are people who a determined to stop her: is it because she's a lady? Or is there something more sinister afoot?

I really enjoyed this second instalment of the Violet Hamilton series. I really loved seeing Violet find herself and become everything that she had dreamed of and more. I love Benjamin so seeing him and Violet together as everything - I love them both individually and together. Although, I did find it weird how at first Violet feels lost without Benjamin, which felt at odds to the Violet that I have come to know from the first book as she was always independent and refused to rely on men. Maybe there was a particular reason for this and I just haven't realised it but it didn't make sense to me.

At first, I did struggle to get into this book as it did start off quite slow with not much really happening and even when the action started, there wasn't always a lot compared to the first book in the series. There did seem to be quite a few plot points happening, which at times distracted away from the main plot of finding out what happened to the woman found dead on the beach.

The setting was absolutely stunning - I could picture it in my mind, thanks to the rich descriptions and it made me want to visit. This book also did such a good job at setting the atmosphere and there was a few times where I was nervous for Violet and what would happen to her. The ending did feel rushed but it gave the sense that it was setting up for another book within the series. Regardless, I did have some unanswered questions but loved being back in the world with Violet, Benjamin and the rest of the cast.

Something to note though, there is the use of an ableist slur within the book, which I think is worth mentioning. There is also a typo where it says Lord Laxton is the one who has gave Benjamin furniture towards the end of the book, but it was actually Lord Brassey.

⚠️ CWs: murder, misogyny, sexism, injury detail, derogatory language, ableist slur, gun use, physical assault, mentions death, alcohol use, blood ⚠️

Thank you NetGalley and publisher Aria for the opportunity to read this book early, in exchange for a honest review.

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How to solve murders like a lady by Hannah Dolby is the sequel to No life for a lady. I enjoyed this first one, so I was excited to see how the story continues.
Violet is now engaged to detective and furniture repairer Benjamin but is hesitant to marry him as she wants to continue her career as a lady detective. She just doesn’t want to prove that she is capable not just to herself but the people around her. Benjamin is a patient man and will not push her until she is ready. She investigates a woman, (Mrs Withers) a very judgemental woman who is found dead on the local beach after a local ball.
At first this was a bit of a slow start for me, but it became an interesting read. I liked the sense of humour in it and the character Violet trying to prove herself in a male dominated world. 4 stars from me.

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How to Solve Murders Like a Lady is the second novel about Lady Detective Violet Hamilton, now fiancée to detective and furniture restorer, Benjamin Blackthorn.

Violet is, again, an absolute delight. Eager to hone her skills as a detective and get into a 'real' detective case, she is bristling with enthusiasm. In the popular seaside town of Hastings and St Leonards, it's not long before she finds a case; a local woman found murdered on the beach.

Violet's attempts to investigate are hampered at every turn, but are her opponents just conservatively resistant to the idea of a young woman being a detective or are their motives more sinister?

The novel is a wonderful portrayal of a feisty and charming young woman bursting with energy. She's also bursting with some hitherto unknown feelings, especially when in proximity to her equally charming fiancé. It's all very thrilling for her. And for the reader.

The novel is funny, engaging, well paced, with a great cast of well-rounded characters, lots of twists and turns and great dialogue. I enjoyed it just as much as the first in the series, and I am still so utterly charmed by Violet that I am unable to find a single thing wrong with this novel.

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A really fun story following the antics of Violet, an inspiring Lady Detective at a time when ladies should just sit and embroider.

It was a great second book in the series but can easily be read alone as there are lots of recaps during the first few chapters.

It moved at a nice pace, the characters were great and there was lots of humour and mysteries to be solved. I can't wait for book 3!

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Violet Hamilton is a Lady Detective working with her fiancé in 1897 Hastings.
When the body of a highly opinionated local woman is found on the beach after a ball, Violet and Benjamin feel it only right to find out the truth. Violet must get past the Victorian thinking that women are too delicate to deal with the more dangerous and gruesome side of life and discover what’s really going on.
What follows is a glorious story of guts, ambition and a fantastic cosy crime mystery.

Having spent many a holiday in Hastings and St. Leonards the description of the town and the seafront are spot on. I’ve stayed at the Victoria Hotel and an Air BnB right next to what was the Queens hotel. Many an afternoon has been spent exploring the old town which I’m sure hasn’t changed since Victorian times. So I can picture it all in my mind perfectly.

I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of reading this book and cannot wait for further books in this series.

With thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC copy in exchange for an honest review.

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Violet Hamilton #2

Violet Hamilton is no ordinary lady, She is a Lady Detective, who spends her time solving mysteries and unveiling scandals in the bustling town of Hastings and St. Leonards, a popular spot for the Victorian classes. But when the body of a local woman is found on the beach, Violet's efforts to investigate are blocked at every turn. Is that because, as a woman, she can't possibly be allowed to think or act like herself? Or is it because someone sinister has Violet in their sights.

Set in 1897. The pace is slow in this well-written mystery. Violet is engaged to Benjamin, the detective we met in the first book. Violet is a Lady Detective who's trying to prove herself worthy in a man's world. We get a lot of information, reminding us of some of the key points from the first book, No Life For A Lady. There is some humour to this story, and I like that Violet is not like any other lady sleuth I've read about in the past. A lot of research has gone into this book about the era it was written about. I also felt there was some information we could have done without, it was as if it was put in to bulk the book out. This is a good cosy murder mystery and I hope there's more to come in this series.

I would like to thank #NetGalley #Aria&Aries and the author #HannahDolby for my Arc in exchange for an honest review.

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This is the second book in the series and I enjoyed it every bit as much as the first. It can be read as a stand alone book, as it reminds you of everything you need to know from the first book, which is helpful as it was a long time since I read the first. Set in the 1890s, when women were expected just to get married, have children and run a household, the language, the settings, and the personalities are very evocative of the time.

Violet was born a lady, but when her mother disappeared when she was younger, she decided she wanted more out of life than marriage to a man she found boring, and who didn’t share her values. Her father would set her up with ‘suitable’ men and Violet would dispatch them very quickly. When Violet decided that she wanted to be a Lady Detective, and solve the case of her missing mother, she came across Benjamin, another Detective in town, and she found she enjoyed his company and working together. In order to continue doing so, they became engaged so it wasn’t as scandalous them spending time alone together. When the town busybody Mrs Withers is discovered dead after a ball, in mysterious circumstances, Violet feels she has to investigate. She and Benjamin test their detective skills, their friendship – and perhaps more.

This book is amusing, and Violet sweeps you along with her enthusiasm. The relationships are interesting, and very evocative of the time. I really enjoyed the descriptions of Hastings and St Leonards in the 1890s.

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It`s 1897 and Violet is a lady detective trying to solve mysteries for the middle classes. A body of a lady she knows is found on the beach but no one is willing to let her help and her fiancée has had to go away so he can`t help and ladies are not supposed to do the work she is trying to do as everyone keeps telling her.
Violet is a very strong willed lady and full of humour and it`s a very enjoyable book to read.
Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the ARC and I give my honest review.

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Having loved the first in this series, I couldn't wait to get into the second!

Violet Hamilton is making progress in her desire to be a lady detective; however, when a murder takes place locally her intentions to investigate are thwarted at every turn. Why does everyone insist on treating her like a piece of fine china when she is more than capable of solving even the most despicable crime? Or is she being protected from something more sinister?

The first in this series was a wonderful read and my high hopes for this second novel were easily met. Violet is a brave woman, with ambitions well before her time. I love her character which is beautifully crafted; at a time when women were meant to be seen and not heard she is a breath of fresh air with a mind of her own. Yet again, Hannah Dolby has created a terrific read and I look forward to reading much more about Violet's plans and adventures. A solid 5* read and one I'm very happy to recommend.

My thanks to the publisher for my copy cia NetGalley, this is - as always - my honest, original and unbiased review.

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A charming sequel to Hannah Dolby’s ‘No Life for a Lady’.
Our lady detective Violet Hamilton is back, as we follow her adventures with her fiancé Benjamin.
Lots of recaps during the first few chapters, helped me remember the characters and what had happened previously.
An easy read, full of warmth and humour as Violet tries to solve a murder as well as coming round to the idea of getting married.
With thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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How to Solve Murders Like a Lady by Hannah Dolby is an absolute delight of a book. I loved the first book in the series, No Life for a Lady, when I read it last year, the main character, Violet felt almost like a friend by the end of the tale, and I really hoped that the book would mark the beginning of a series. It was, Violet's adventures in detection and romance continue here and I did not think it would be possible to like this book any more than the first, but somehow I did. I was smiling to myself and giggling in delight at every exchange between Violet and her love interest/ fellow detective/ furniture restoring fiancé Benjamin, while at other times being angry on Violet's behalf about the attitudes and treatment she faced from the more conservative elements of society including her own father.
There is a sold mystery plot at the heart of the book, it is well crafted and held my interest as Violet tries not only to uncover the murderer of Mrs Withers, a not particularly likeable acquaintance with a penchant for striking hats, but also clear Benjamin's name as he is accused of murder. I enjoyed this aspect of the book but what really made me love it was the developing relationship between Violet and Benjamin, there is a sweetness and softness to it that is both beautiful and comforting, but there is also a playfulness and humour in the way it is written that is simply joyous.
Once again I am left hoping for more books in this series, I am always going to want to spend more time with these characters, and I feel like there is plenty more of their story to be told, it's really only just beginning after all.
I read and reviewed an ARC courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher, all opinions are my own.

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I absolutely loved being back with Violet at the seaside solving crimes!

I adored the first book in this series and was so excited to continue on with these delightful characters and was not disappointed! The mystery and all the little bits and pieces that were connected to it, kept me guessing throughout and had me hooked right to the end of the story. I loved that we saw even more independence from Violet in this book and the development of certain relationships, particularly with her father.

I did want more Benjamin but I am just greedy! I thought it was interesting that he seemed a little more protective over Violet, now that they’re properly into their engagement, but he still trusted her and let her have her freedom.

Just another wonderfully written, funny and intriguing mystery from Hannah!

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“Any woman who breaks a mould, who is a pioneer for a new way of being a woman, will be more subject to censure than most. Don’t add your own voice to the melee. Be your own fiercest champion so that you can face your worst critics. And if you believe in yourself, in who you are and what you do, and follow through, you will find most people take you at your own accounting.”

Violet Hamilton is no ordinary lady. She is a Lady Detective who spends her time solving mysteries and unveiling scandals in the bustling seaside town of Hastings and St. Leonards, a popular spot for the Victorian middle classes. But when the body of a local woman is found on the beach, Violet’s efforts to investigate are blocked at every turn.
Is that because, as a woman, she can’t possibly be allowed to think or act for herself? Or is it because someone sinister has Violet in their sights?

Hannah Dolby writes a witty, humorous mystery novel that will make you chuckle on one page and giggle at the next, before you break out in hysterical laughter. The romance is subtle and charming as Violet insists on keeping control of her life. Between the food, fashion, and way of life, there is a lot to learn and plenty that will surprise you in the historical details.

With a compelling character at the centre, this is a worthy sequel that sees the growth and evolution of Violet as a lady and a detective. It is apparent Violet has many more adventures to encounter with Benjamin as an equal partner, and I can’t wait to join her on them.

This ARC courtesy of NetGalley and Aria & Aries.

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The story is set in 1897 in Hastings and St Leonards. Violet Hamilton is no ordinary lady - she is a Lady Detective where Benjamin Blackthorn (fiance) is helping with typing invoices and, at the same time, he is teaching how to be a better detective. I love how feisty and strong Violet is and certainly is keen to have a go! Violet is keen on finding out why a local lady is found dead. This leads her to places where she really shouldn't go but along the way, she has help from her friends. I hope there will be a third book. I highly recommend this book.

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"Be your own fiercest champion so that you can face your worst critics."

Set in the Victorian era, Lady Detective Violet Hamilton is once again on the case. This time around, she sets about getting to the bottom of a local resident's death and experiences several hindrances.

Hannah Dolby clearly writes with wit. Having absolutely loved the first book , this installment's storyline fell a little flat for me. I loved Benjamin and Violet being together and I did enjoy Violet's character and her escapades. However, I didn't really feel as invested in the actual story in this book as compared to the first one, as there seemed to be a lot of other things going on.

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Violet is ahead of her time. She's solving crime in 1897 Sussex! Even more unusual - she's working with her fiancé. Ben's the epitome of gentleman detective/antique dealer. He's also very protective of his younger siblings. Ben and Violet aren't exactly in a rush down the aisle and they are content to concentrate on their new business.

I'm a connoisseur of murder mystery and I do enjoy a trip through history. There is some genteel humour and the storyline kept me hooked. Violet is really likeable and where lots of women of this time are portrayed as twee and prudish - she's fun, smart, independent and lovable. I love the way she has become a big sister to Ben's brothers and sisters but doesn't attempt to be a mum to them.

Violet is also a champion of women - she knows they usually get the short end of the stick and are either ignored or blamed for the things going wrong around them. She's actually a great feminist character.

I would have loved a bit more humour if I'm being completely nit-picky but otherwise this was a great read.

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This is the second book in the series and although it can be read as a stand-alone, the reader would benefit from reading the first book. Violet is the main character along with her fiancé, Benjamin. Violet is determined to be a lady detective alongside Benjamin. Benjamin has quite modern views for the time and has no problem with Violet working with him. He is also very appreciative of Violet’s intelligence. Violet is full of self doubt but she is trying to overcome her believed shortcomings. Violet is a likeable character but she has to suffer men who doubt her capabilities because she is a female. This is written in quite a quirky and at times humorous way. I have enjoyed reading this book and look forward to more adventures with Violet. l received a copy and have voluntarily reviewed it. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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I’ll admit I was a tad nervous about this one after loving the author’s refreshingly original debut last year. Could Hannah Dolby overcome those dreaded second book jitters and deliver an equally enchanting follow-up?

Well, she could, and she most certainly did!

It was an absolute delight to be back in fin-de-siècle Hastings, with Lady Detective Violet Hamilton, in another whimsical, rambunctious romp involving murder, nefarious shenanigans, and some delicious will-they-won’t -they romance.

When local stalwart, Mrs Withers, is found dead on the beach after a society ball, Violet has reason to believe it’s no accident and seizes the opportunity to prove her worth as a detective. Her investigations land her in all kinds of scrapes, including almost drowning in the sea, risking her life on a funicular, and being threatened with an electric corset to help cure her ‘hysteria’.

At her side is fellow detective and fiancé, Benjamin Blackthorn, whose dark good looks she variously compares to those of Lord Byron and Robert Burns. Although theirs is ostensibly an engagement of convenience, the attraction and fondness between them is palpable and a titillating thread of the narrative.

It is Violet, though, who is undoubtedly the star of the book. Hopelessly unladylike and unwilling to be beholden to any man, she’s strong willed, fiercely independent, and has a total disregard for social conventions; the kind of character you want to champion at every turn.

Historical detail is a key feature of the narrative, vividly bringing to life the Victorian seaside setting and the social mores of the time, especially those regarding women. Having earlier this year read Elinor Cleghorn’s fascinating study ‘Unwell Women’, I appreciated seeing some of these shocking attitudes incorporated here.

There are many strands to this story, more so than in the first book, but it is still a light, easy and thoroughly entertaining read, and with a highly satisfying conclusion that sets things up nicely for another instalment.

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