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The Mourning Bells

(Lady of Ashes #4)

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3.40  ·  Rating details ·  483 ratings  ·  67 reviews
One of Victorian London’s most respected undertakers, Violet Harper has the new duty of accompanying coffins from various undertakers on the London Necropolis Railway for respectful funerals and burials in Surrey. But on her fateful first trip, the mournful silence of the train is shattered by the shrill ringing of a coffin bell—a device that prevents a person from being b ...more
Paperback, 432 pages
Published March 31st 2015 by Kensington
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Average rating 3.40  · 
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Daisy
Jan 24, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: listening-to
This book was torture to finish but finish it I did and I’m glad for a very specific reason I will get to. First, however, this was an audio book so at the beginning, I thought it was the narrator who was turning me against it. While narrator Polly Lee has a perfectly acceptable English-accented reading voice her attempts at different voices for each character swiftly became enormously grating. I could have tolerated the try at an American accent, awful as it was, but when talking as the two fem ...more
Gloria Piper
Aug 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This cozy is part of the Lady of Ashes Mystery series. The tale takes place during the 1860s in England. Violet Harper is an undertaker of high reputation. She's against these new-fangled coffins that are equipped with fail-safe devices, such as bells. After all, it implies sloppy undertaking. And she is anything but sloppy. Imagine her surprise when the supposedly dead rise from their coffins. Rather than rejoice over cheated death, she can't help but suspect someone in her profession is involv ...more
Ashleigh Willett
Jul 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
I'm really enjoying this series. Violet continues to be the investigative undertaker, to the point of annoying me at times too, like seriously, just relax. Really interesting historical setting, particularly with various inventions happening at the same time (invention of dynamite, invention of the typewriter) and how these technologies changed lives. I may take a little breather from this series though and come back to it in a bit. ...more
Carole (in Canada)
Apr 13, 2020 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Victorian Murder/Mystery

I could not finish this one. I got to 26% and started feeling claustrophobic. I have enjoyed the first three books so will now jump to the fifth one. I hate to give any author a bad review. I feel it is more the subject matter and my reaction to it.
Seema Rao
Mar 17, 2018 rated it liked it
Tl:dr Historical 19thc mystery with a female undertaker as the protagonist.

Good: strong women, good historical details like the safety coffins, appealing characters

Bad: a little slow
Marsha
I’ve come late to this series and, judging by the ineptitude of the heroine, I won’t be reading the other books in the series. While the premise of a female undertaker who looks into suspicious matters makes for an enticing subject, it’s not enough to rescue this book from a generally disappointing performance.

Violet Harper is volatile, quick tempered, judgmental, reckless of her own safety, secretive to her husband, family and friends and just plain wrong in her assumptions about everything per
...more
Kimberly Ann
Jul 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book's plot centers around the Debtor's Act of 1869 and use of safety coffins, in particular those with bells that when the mistakenly dead person inside the coffin pulls the string, a bell outside the ground would ring, thus notifying that the occupant was alive.

Violet Harper is the widow of Graham Morgan & proprietor of her deceased husband's undertaking business, she is also now the wife of American Sam Harper, who is intent on operating a coal mine using the newest technique of blasting
...more
Diana Maculan
Feb 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Another enjoyable installment to the Lady of Ashes mystery series.
In this fourth, Violet Harper is back in London with husband Sam. Also visiting, from the states, is adopted daughter Susanna and her new husband Benjamin. Violet is back as part owner at the Undertaking business. Upon riding the LNR railroad to Brentwood Cemetery, she encounters a strange happening. Upon being unloaded, one of the “safety” coffins reveals a man, very much alive. He is not the first to rise from his coffin, as Vi
...more
Rhonda Wise
Jun 07, 2020 rated it liked it
All in all, this was a well written and fascinatingtale of Victorian London. The descriptions and the play of life are wonderful. I am not so enamored of the main character. She is fascinating, there is no doubt about that. Her point of view is so very perfect for what she is, an upper middle class undertaker. Everything about her about being proper, poised and reflecting well to the deceased. What gets me, though, is how she can consider herself a good, albeit, amateur sleuth. She finds a possi ...more
Tiffany Wilhelm
Apr 18, 2018 rated it liked it
While not the most in depth or detailed mystery, this rather short book proved to be an entertaining and quick/easy read. I do admit that I was at times frustrated with Violet, the female lead, and was puzzled by her actions (or lack thereof, such as failure to report literally being stuffed inside a coffin to the authorities, but that matter is addressed at the book's end). Nonetheless, this was the first novel I read that was part of the Lady of Ashes series, and I am sufficiently intrigued, s ...more
BRT
Nov 20, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: series, kindle
This was a complicated one and heavily covering Victorian funeral practices, among other issues of the times. Violet finds two corpses who seemingly arise from the dead within a month and is perplexed enough to investigate. Not even sure there’s a crime, she has too many possible suspects and no obvious motive but she plows doggedly ahead. As her suspects appear more agitated and an attempt is made on her life, she knows there’s something she’s getting close to uncovering.
Amy Siegfried
Jul 29, 2018 rated it it was ok
Seriously how does a bull in a china shop investigate crime- the Violet Morgan way. There is nothing subtle about this lady and if I met her- let's just say detective would not be the term I would use to describe her. The most apt term would be meddler which is the viewpoint pretty much (my perception) that multiple characters have of this woman.Perhaps I would have a different perspective if I had read earlier volumes in this series but I have no intention of doing that. NOT a bad book but also ...more
Kate
Dec 08, 2017 rated it it was ok
Not as good as earlier books in the series. It's about 100 pages shorter than average, too, and I can't help but feel like it's more like the rough framework for what could be another decent addition to the series. Definitely needed more fleshing out and editing. ...more
Elizabeth
This book was slow starting for me but once it got going I enjoyed the mystery overall. I thought the story was intriguing but I didn't really enjoy any of the characters which is disappointing. I was hoping I'd like it a whole lot more. ...more
Debra
Jun 20, 2019 rated it it was ok
It took me 3 years to read this book and I only got halfway through before I had to finally give up. I loved the history and facts provided by the author, but the main character (i.e. Violet) did not keep my interest. I just did not find her to be engaging or memorable.
Lisa Heberlein
Sep 26, 2017 rated it liked it
It was... okay. I loved the main character but everyone else was sort of flat. Was not as creepy as I'd hoped a book about an undertaker would be. ...more
Jeanne
Aug 29, 2018 rated it liked it
while the story was interesting (peoples fears of being buried alive) I di like the notes at the end where the author gives you the facts of the era as relates to the book
Amy
Mar 17, 2019 rated it did not like it
I love this series but I just couldn’t finish this one. It saddens me there is a lot different ways that the author could have took. My journey with this series is finished.
Marquelle Adkins
May 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Awesome job in developing the characters. Loved this series.
Norla Chee
Mar 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Would definitely look into the other books in the series. The historical setting is realistic and the mystery is worthy.
Randy
Mar 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Excellent! This one they can make into a movie, with Kate Beckinsale as Violet and Anthony Hopkins as Ambrose!
Nina
Jul 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Well written with classic suspense and mystery
Tonya Mathis
Sep 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book. It kept me guessing.
Victoria
Oct 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
This is a very interesting story revolving around the use of safety coffins in the Victorian era. Of course, poor Violet has been thrown into the mystery, and she storms around coming to conclusions and right out interrogating anyone she remotely suspects.

Again I feel like we never see or hear of Sam, her husband, any more. He's always busy with this or that!

I wish she developed a little more finesse as this series has gone on, but I'm determined to read it all!
...more
Lisa Eirene
Oct 28, 2014 rated it liked it
This is the 4th book in the series. It's a great series and I liked this newest book, even if it wasn't quite AS good as the other three. The first two books were the best, for sure. It takes place in Victorian England with the main character, Violet, as a female undertaker who solves mysteries. It's "cozy" and charming and I like the characters and the stories in this world.

This particular book takes place at the height of Victorian paranoia about being buried alive. The newest thing is coffins
...more
Sophie
Jun 08, 2015 rated it liked it
I had such high expectations for a novel about a female undertaker & sleuth set in Victorian England. Particularly one that exploited the idea of accidental burying of London's 1st class Undead. At this time safety coffins were being created & sold to manage society's ongoing fear of being buried alive or Taphophobia! Very much a Victorian concept.
On the positive side, the author examined current customs of mourning dress-jewellery, postmortem photography, burial rites of the different social cl
...more
Molly Smith
Mar 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Initial Thoughts: This mystery was a little more simplified than previous novels. Though I could figure out some plots and clues prior to Violet getting them, the final villain reveal did surprise me. I hadn't gotten the pieces put together right - one thing I love about this series. I can get confident that I know what is going on, how and why and then be wrong even though the clues appeared to work in my favor. I wonder about Susanna and her marriage and hope for the best as she returns to Col ...more
Tabby
Oct 12, 2016 rated it liked it
I had such high hopes for the storyline of Susannah and her husband, but was disappointed at the end of the book. I wonder if the author will continue to develop those characters. If not, it was weird to introduce the introspective thoughts of Susannah and then not resolve them.
I listen to this series on audiobook, mostly because I started the first book on audible. I hate the narrator. She makes Violet sound like a sociopath and definitely not someone who could form the relationships she has w
...more
Diana
Jan 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Violet, a female undertaker in Victorian England, has the task of accompanying coffins on the new (LNR), London Necropolis Railway, for funerals and burials in the new graveyard in Surrey outside of London. After Violet has witnessed a few strange incidents at the Surrey train station, she wonders if there is something sinister happening and proceeds to investigate. The author’s historical notes and bibliography which verify the historical background of this book makes the story even more intere ...more
Sallee
Jan 26, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
Third in this series, Victorian undertaker, Mrs. Harper is wondering why several bodies being delivered to Brookhaven cemetery in Surrey have turned up alive on the train station platform. The story has a dense plot full of twists and turns. In this one, Queen Victoria does not play a part but her husband unknown to him is skirting around the answer as he seeks financing for his coal mine in Wales. I like how the author always gives us the details of the era and the location as well as the custo ...more
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Feb 06, 2015 08:26AM  

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Other books in the series

Lady of Ashes (6 books)
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