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A Murder at Rosamund's Gate

(Lucy Campion Mysteries #1)

3.56  ·  Rating details ·  1,839 ratings  ·  310 reviews
For Lucy Campion, a seventeenth-century English chambermaid serving in the household of the local magistrate, life is an endless repetition of polishing pewter, emptying chamber pots, and dealing with other household chores until a fellow servant is ruthlessly killed, and someone close to Lucy falls under suspicion. Lucy can't believe it, but in a time where the accused ar ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published April 23rd 2013 by Minotaur Books (first published April 16th 2013)
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Average rating 3.56  · 
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 ·  1,839 ratings  ·  310 reviews

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Start your review of A Murder at Rosamund's Gate (Lucy Campion Mysteries, #1)
This was a book I requested from Netgalley based on the cover (which despite displaying two of the weird present fashions – "I turn my back on you" and "nearly-headless" – is pretty. I will never learn), and because of an interesting premise.

The latter is fairly basic, really. We have a well-off household, that of a magistrate of London, who has a wife, a grown son (and a daughter, but she's irrelevant), and a staff of about four: cook, manservant, lady's maid, chambermaid. This isn't Upstairs D
Aug 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I recently finished an ARC of this wonderful debut novel and I absolutely loved it! The history was spot on and the mystery was even better. Calkins is a superb storyteller and she left me guessing until the very end. Suffice it to say, I can't wait to find out what Lucy Campion does next!

On a different note, I was particularly impressed with the care that Dr. Calkins took with her research. At first, I had expected the stereotypical "upstairs-downstairs" relationship between Lucy and the Hargra
Jan 14, 2013 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
Yesterday when I began this novel it was just an ok read for me. Today, however, I have to give it a four star rating. Not because it was a good mystery, although it did keep me guessing, but because of the characters. I really liked Lucy and Adam. I liked the characterization of the year 1665, the way things were, and how things were done. It all brought a good story together and one I would continue reading about in the next installment.
Nov 18, 2012 rated it liked it
Find the enhanced version of this and other reviews at: http://flashlightcommentary.blogspot....

I have mixed feelings about Susanna Calkins' A Murder at Rosamund's Gate. While I enjoyed the story both for its creativity and originality, there were aspects of it that didn't quite live up to my expectations. Please don't misunderstand, Calkins displays a wonderful imagination as well as a keen eye for intriguing subject matter within these pages, I simply feel she has room to grow as a storyteller
Sep 24, 2013 rated it it was ok
A great premise that did not live up to its potential. It started off fairly decently and was a historical setting (Restoration England) different than my usual British mystery fare, but too many irritating issues kept me from enjoying this book overall. One of my biggest pet peeves happened repeatedly: unrealistically precocious heroine that made foolish, nosy decisions that brought her into impossible situations, but the author conveniently wrote in easy escapes. Case(s) in point, (view spoile ...more
Nidah (SleepDreamWrite)
Feb 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
This one's a 4.5 for me. I found myself liking how the story played out. While yes it does have a murder mystery, throughout, you get to know the characters and what the setting is like. I like that the murder doesn't happen early but the story takes its time to get going. Took my time reading this at a slow pace. The writing was pretty good as well.

Moments where I like Lucy, Adam, etc and other times you're like, guys, communication is your friend, why don't you use that instead of oh I don't k
Sep 19, 2015 marked it as did-not-finish

For a story set in restoration England (mid-1600's), this story had no authenticity to the period as far as I was concerned, and the writing wasn't strong to keep me going further even with the historic inaccuracies.

Margaret Light
Nov 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
You're going to want to get in early on this series (bound to be a great series) Susanna Calkins weaves an intriguing tale set in early England. The characters are well developed and leave you wanting more. One learns interesting historical facts which fit neatly into the pleasurable story telling. It's a smart story which left me feeling smarter for having read it.
Katie Mercer
Nov 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
I love historical fiction. Love, love, love. Ariana Franklin's Mistress in the Art of Death is one of my favourite series, brilliantly written with a fantastic plot. I've been looking for something to fill the void, and so was excited to get sent this ARC. I also admit, I'm one of those people who generally guesses if I'll like books based on the publisher, and while I admittedly haven't read much of Minotaur, I love St. Martin's Press (no they didn't pay me to say that, I get nothing for it. I ...more
Tara Chevrestt
A good yarn and a fascinating look at life in England in a time when things began to classes, positions, servants' rights...all because of plague and fire. There was also Quakers and I found this an intriguing look at how the law operated then.

The story is a murder mystery really, though, at its heart, all told from the POV of a serving girl Lucy. Women all around are being murdered in fields. Stories and penny books claim each was a servant, lustful, wanton, giving their good aw
Mar 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
Read my full review @

My opinion: Initial feelings on this book is that I absolutely loved this debut. I must admit that I disagree with some of the reviewers that the mystery was weak in this book. Several murders occurred and though, in my opinion, the main storyline was not on solving the mystery, there was a major mystery to be solved. I loved the way the author showed the differences between not only the classes, but between the acceptance and expectation of men/women.
Gregory Light
Dec 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A murder set in 17th century England that combines the intrique and suspence of a murder mystery with an real feel for the tone and atmosphere of the time. Susanna Calkins marries an uncanny historical ear with a brillaint sense of telling an engaging story.
Time Ferrell
Apr 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
I think I will add this to my private library. It was an absolute thriller. I had no idea what was happening the whole time!! Cute little love story as well.
Lina Hansen
Feb 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical
I was intrigued by the setting of this novel, for once not ancient Rome, Regency or the Victorians. That alone is worth a star. Calkins has done her research, and the whole novel comes across as reasonably authentic (I did not check or follow up), which for me meant another star.There's a mystery, there's pestilence and this is definitely one of the more engaging novels I have read recently.

Perhaps it was the authenticity of the voice and setting that stopped me from connecting closer to the ch
Nov 30, 2012 rated it liked it
3.5 The cover of A Murder at Rosamund’s Gate spoke to me and the synopsis with its promise of a mystery sealed the deal. Susanna Calkins debut novel shares a wonderful murder mystery set in 1665 London with a Nancy Drew vibe. A young chambermaid unearths clues regarding a serial killer who is goes after young woman.

Lucy Campion is a chambermaid in the Hargraves home and she and the other servants are truly blessed to live in a home where the residents treat them more like family at a time period
Mar 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: historical mystery fans
In 1665, Lucy Campion is a chambermaid in the household of a London magistrate. He is an honorable man, and the family is kind to their staff, even allowing them to join the family at evening meals when there are no guests and encouraging Lucy's participation in the after-supper discussion of texts the magistrate reads out loud. This routine is disrupted, however, when a series of young, pregnant serving girls is found murdered and the crimes hit too close to home. Lucy is determined to find jus ...more
Feb 08, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013-books-read
Lucy is a very interesting character. She is very curious about the world around her and why things are the way they are. She is always wanting to learn new to her things. When her friend is murdered she grieves for her but also wants justice for her. When the police arrest someone whom she knows could not have done the crime she tries to piece together who could have killed her friend. Even though she is limited by the classes on what she can and can not do she is able to put the clues together ...more
Apr 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley-arc
I love a good historical mystery, and this is one. The sense of place and history was strong - despite the changes to the language it felt like an immersion into the late 1600s. The mystery was great - there wasn't a clear path from crime to villain, but there were enough clues to get you there.

I really liked Lucy as a protagonist. She's naive, sheltered, and not very well educated. What she has going for her is just her determination and willingness to throw herself into every possible situatio
This was a rather predictable story with unremarkable characters and writing that was neither horrible nor stellar. Overall the book was a quick read but not something that stands out in any special way.

There are a few events and speeches that seem very unlikely and the class structure gets muddled in places. The main character wants to jump in the Thames to clean herself off...that seemed unlikely.

But I did like that the plague made an appearance and the author handled a trial nicely and impart
I love good historical mysteries so, once I discovered that Susanna Calkins has a doctorate in British history, I had to check out A Murder at Rosamund’s Gate. It’s Book #1 in the new Lucy Campion Mysteries series. I rationalized that Ms. Calkins would either bring 17th century London to life or turn it into a dry historical lecture. Thankfully, she has brought a wealth of realistic period detail without dry and boring exposition. This debut novel is a mystery of the first order with plenty of s ...more
May 07, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery-crime
The first third of this book was great. The second third put aside the mystery that was introduced in the beginning of the story and concentrated on problems that existed in London around 1665. These included inequality problems; sex, class, religious and political. The story also focused on the legal system at the time and the plague. Towards the end, the author must have panicked, realizing that she had to resolve the mystery she had introduced, so she wrapped everything up in the last 20 page ...more
Andy French
Dec 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Set in 17th century Europe, this captivating novel will appeal to history lovers as well as those simply looking for a suspenseful and intriguing mystery. The characters are interesting and multi-dimensional, the story is terrific, and the settings inspire the reader to visualize another time and place. Highly recommended!
Mar 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
I figured out who committed the murders pretty early on, but the detail is what made this book. From what it was like to have the plague to servant and master relations to the great fire, the details made this book great.
Eustacia Tan
Jan 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Do you know, when I looked at the cover, I saw "Murder at Rosamund's Cafe". And then I wondered why there wasn't a cafe in this story. Ok, so just so we're (I'm) clear, this says "gate", which makes the title a lot more relevant to the plot.

In this novel/mystery, Lucy, a maid at the magistrate's house, is drawn into the murder when her best friend/fellow housemaid Bessie is killed, and her brother William is accused of the murder. At the same time, she has to contend with her growing feelings fo
Apr 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
I hadn't realized, until reading A Murder at Rosamund's Gate, how much I had missed reading historical mysteries. There's an unpredictable nature to them that can't be replicated except maybe in speculative fiction, in the fact that I am never familiar enough with the times past to fully know what to expect. The characters, the technology, the daily life activities are all coated in a sort of fog that I can only pierce through with the author's help.

Susanna Calkins definitely succeeded here in t
Andrea Guy
A Murder At Rosamund's Gate is the first book in a great historical cozy mystery series. Lucy Champion is a chambermaid in Restoration England.

I fell in love instantly with this book, much like I did Sam Thomas's The Midwife's Tale. The attention to detail in this book is fantastic. The mystery almost takes a back burner to that detail, but don't let that keep you from reading this book. It is wonderful.

It paints a unique picture of the upstairs downstairs world of England at the time, in a hous
Laura Lee
Nov 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Debut novel, enjoyed very much. London, 1660s. Lucy is a young maid, hoping for elevation in the world. She is fortunate she works for a good family. There is a series of deaths that seem related. Lucy gets involved in finding the killer. Story pretty much keeps you guessing, and besides the mystery there is also romance. That keeps you guessing, too! Then don't forget the Great Fire and the Plague! This happens to be the first in what is now a series. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the s ...more
Oct 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A good read indeed. If you are into mysteries in English style, this is THE book.
Apr 19, 2013 rated it liked it
Three and a half stars: An intriguing historical murder mystery.

A harsh knocking disturbs the household. Young Lucy, the chambermaid, opens the door to find a stern constable at the door. He is requesting to speak to her master, the magistrate, immediately. Lucy and the rest of the servants murmur amongst themselves trying to determine the nature of the early morning visit. Soon enough they learn the truth. A young maid was found murdered, her body discarded in an empty field. Rumor has it she w
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Feb 20, 2015 08:11AM  
Huntsville-Madiso...: Staff picks -- A Murder at Rosamund's Gate 1 17 Dec 09, 2012 08:10AM  

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SUSANNA CALKINS, author of the award-winning Lucy Campion series, holds a PhD in history and teaches at the college level. Her historical mysteries have been nominated for the Mary Higgins Clark and Agatha awards, among many others, and The Masque of a Murderer received a Macavity. Originally from Philadelphia, Calkins now lives in the Chicago area with her husband and two sons.

Other books in the series

Lucy Campion Mysteries (4 books)
  • From the Charred Remains (Lucy Campion Mysteries, #2)
  • The Masque of a Murderer (Lucy Campion Mysteries, #3)
  • A Death Along the River Fleet (Lucy Campion Mysteries, #4)

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“Adam frowned. "What possessed you to come to Newgate? 'Tis no place for a woman, especially one as young as you, and unaccompanied to boot! You're lucky you got out alive."
Lucy scowled back, "I think it is my right to visit my own brother! Anyway, 'tis no matter to you!" Resentfully, she recalled herself, "Sir.”
“To live and to dream, to study and share her thoughts, to ponder the words of great men...To be a man, to be a scholar-she could only imagine the freedom and the headiness of reading and writing without being encumbered by scullery duties.” 1 likes
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