Fiona is feeling bored and frustrated. She returned from her latest spy adventure in Italy and is now stuck doing paperwork. But then she is asked to investigate an anti-vivisectionist group of wealthy women so she dons a disguise and gets to work…
Arsenic at Ascot is the fourth book in the Fiona Figg and Kitty Lane series of historical murder mysteries. I have read and reviewed the first books in the series: Chaos at Carnegie Hall, Covert in Cairo, and Mayhem in the Mountains. There are mentions of events from previous books, in particular Fiona’s developing relationships with other characters, but no spoilers about the murder plots.
Fiona’s recent trip to Italy has left her wanting more drama so she is disappointed to be back behind a desk. Finally she is about to see some action by going undercover and this coincides with a coded note to meet her nemesis, German spy Fredrick Fredricks. The pair recently locked horns in Italy but now both are back in England and she wants to protect her country for the German spy.
The murder doesn’t happen until over a third of the way through the book. There is quite a bit of build up to show Fiona’s situation and her adept skill with disguises. She also has some heartache and confusion as she spots Archie whose marriage proposal she recently turned down. She is also wondering where Kitty is, again not turning up until quite a way through the book. The plot developments are rather slow as the narrative is character driven.
I love Fiona’s character and the use of first person narration bring her to life. She has fabulous quirks and nuances which add a touch of humour to very serious circumstances. Her behaviour is sometimes erratic as she is often led by her heart rather than her head. Her emotional and romantic aspects bring out another side to her personality as well as acting as a subplot.
Arsenic at Ascot is an enjoyable cosy historical murder mystery.