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Death Sits Down to Dinner

(Lady Montfort Mystery #2)

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  607 ratings  ·  93 reviews
Filled with deceptions both real and imagined, Death Sits Down to Dinner is a delightful Edwardian mystery set in London.

Lady Montfort is thrilled to receive an invitation to a dinner party hosted by her close friend Hermione Kingsley, the patroness of England's largest charity. Hermione has pulled together a select gathering to celebrate Winston Churchill's 39th birthday.
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published March 29th 2016 by Minotaur Books (first published January 1st 2016)
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Average rating 3.71  · 
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Louisa Treger
Apr 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I loved Tessa Arlen’s ‘Death of Dishonorable Gentleman’, the first novel in her Edwardian Murder Mystery series. And so, I was eagerly anticipating her second: ‘Death Sits Down for Dinner.’ I was not disappointed! Like its predecessor, Arlen’s new novel has a tightly-knit compelling plot that keeps you turning pages. When a party to celebrate Sir Winston Churchill’s birthday ends in the murder of one of the guests, the unusual detective pairing of Lady Montfort and her housekeeper, Mrs Jackson, ...more
Feb 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
I thoroughly enjoyed this "sophisticated cozy" as I've termed it!

It was a delightful Edwardian mystery that all started when things went wrong at a dinner party in honor of Mr. Winston Churchill himself. A guest turned up dead and the culprit is not going to be easy to find. The characters in this book are so entertaining and quirky, and funnily enough several were real people who lived during this time! There is a great author's note at the end detailing the fact and fiction. Tessa Arlen has a
Mar 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Lady Montfort and her husband Lord Montfort have been invited to a dinner celebrating the birthday of the Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill. Lord Montfort is not a fan of Churchill but he will attend because the wife he loves wants him to go. The dinner guests include both the nobility as well government leaders.

Hermione Kingsley, the hostess, is responsible for one of the most successful charities in the country. The Chimney Sweep Boys charity has been successful because of Hermione's c
Susan in NC
Apr 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this second Edwardian mystery featuring Lady Clementine Montfort and her housekeeper, Mrs. Edith Jackson. As with her first book Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman, Tessa Arlen masterfully recreates the glittering, vanished world of Edwardian society and the fascinating interactions between servants belowstairs and those they serve.

This second adventure does a good job of revealing more of the character of the extremely efficient, organized and formal Mrs. Jackson; orphaned at a
Carrie Schmidt (Reading is My SuperPower)
As soon as I read the opening line of Tessa Arlen’s Death Sits Down to Dinner, I wrapped myself up in this delightfully British & dignified-cozy mystery. Bringing to mind Agatha Christie or Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Arlen has crafted a story that seamlessly blends the historic and the fictional. Sir Winston Churchill treads across the page – the murder occurs at his private birthday party, after all – and a marvelous note tacked on to the end of the book satisfies the historic-curious with insight ...more
Martine Bailey
The second of this delightful series begins as Lady Montfort attends an elegant dinner at which one of the guests is no less than Sir Winston Churchill. It is just before Christmas 1914 in snowy London; and the sense of time and place is immediate and convincing. In the tradition of an Agatha Christie mystery, a murder takes place and all the guests are ordered to remain silent about the unfortunate event. Yet as we know, Lady Montfort has an insatiable curiosity about such matters and a mind to ...more
Sharon Farrow
Sep 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Upstairs meets downstairs in this wonderful second book in Tessa Arlen’s Edwardian mystery series starring Lady Clementine Montcort and her housekeeper Mrs. Jackson. It is First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill’s birthday and charity patroness Hermione Kingsley hosts a London dinner party to celebrate the event. When a man is found stabbed at the table, guests are advised to say nothing about what has occurred. But Lady Montfort is concerned that Sir Reginald’s murder may be followed by a ...more
nikkia neil
Thanks St. Martin's Press and netgalley for this ARC.

Love this series! It's the delicious feeling of being in the know. Love hearing the inner workings of a character's thoughts and feelings. NOt all authors can do this so well and seamlessly. Can't wait for next mystery.
Such fun. I love the characters of Clementine Talbot, the Lady Montfort and her trusty housekeeper Mrs. Jackson. This particular mystery is set in London, in which such personages as Winston Churchill, Marchioness of Ripon, Lady Cunard etc. make an appearance. I'm not overly familiar with Edwardian history, but whatever Arlen writes rings true. What particularly pleases me is the fact that Clementine and Jackson are of their time. Strong, but bound by tradition, society and prejudice. This makes ...more
Sep 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Very well done! Tessa Arlen is an excellent author with well developed characters.
Feb 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Review originally posted on my blog:

Death Sits Down for Dinner by Tessa Arlen
Minotaur Books, 2016
Crime Fiction (Historical); 320 pgs
Source: NetGalley

Tessa Arlen's series is fast becoming my favorite cozy mystery series. From the Edwardian English setting to the proper Mrs. Jackson and the ever persistent Lady Montfort, I adored the author's earlier book, and this second one was quite a delight to read too. The previous book was set in the countryside whil
Apr 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
My love for mysteries only goes back a few years. That is to say, I’m a newbie when it comes to this genre. I have Agatha Christie to thank for it. And really who better than the Queen of Mystery to introduce me to this genre. Agatha Christie is the gold standard that I’m sure many authors aspire to attain. However, reading her books has helped me understand what it is that makes a mystery a really great story. And for me, Death Sits Down to Dinner fits nicely in that category.

I had the good for
Kathleen Kelly
Apr 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A Great Mystery! Death Sits Down to Dinner is the second book about amateur sleuths Lady Clementine Montfort and her housekeeper, Mrs.Jackson, the first book is Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman. At a birthday party for Winston Churchill, hosted by Hermione Kingsley who is a patroness of a large charity. A death occurs at this party, a man, Sir Reginald Cholmondeley is the deceased stabbed in the chest. Clementine is the person who is first on the scene of the murder.Hermione has insisted that n ...more
Death Sits Down To Dinner is a historical mystery starring Lady Montfort and her housekeeper, Mrs. Jackson. Lady Montfort is invited to a dinner party, hosted by her friend, Hermione Kingsley, in honor of Winston Churchill’s 39th party. The party seems to be going well, and Lady Montfort is mingling with the elite and observing the young men as potential suitors for her daughter. She also gets to see the famous Winston Churchill, whom her husband dislikes. After the dinner ends, they find that ...more
Mar 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
I recommend this book to the new generation of Downtown Abbey fans, to those who read the wonderful, classic mystery series that become Public Television favorites, and to those with a questioning mind who appreciate the nuances of history which add depth and quality to the reading experience.

Set in the Edwardian era, that fabulously exciting era of history on the brink of extreme change.
Impending war, with new technologies to consider. Established ways and households realizing their time is run
D Bell
Mar 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Death Sits Down to Dinner
Another riveting and charming collaboration of detective skills between Lady Montford and Mrs Jackson, her housekeeper, this time set in November London as the gales and gusts of the winter and the approaching war blow in and engulf the two intrepid ladies in a private murder investigation that propels them up many a strange and convoluted garden path! From the moment of the discovery of the body of a portly and distinguished guest slumped over the dining room table amon
Mar 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
This was an enjoyable historical mystery set in Edwardian England. I agree with the book jacket description that this is sure to charm fans of Downton Abbey. This is the second book in the Lady Montfort Mystery series, but it can be read as a standalone. I received a copy of this book through a contest on Austenprose, and found it entertaining and easy to follow even though I have not read the first book.

This book and series centers around Lady Montfort and her housekeeper, Mrs. Jackson, who be
Nancy Pascoe
Jul 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was fortunate to receive an ARC of Tessa Arlen’s Death Sits Down to Dinner. I thoroughly enjoyed her first book in this series, Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman, and was even more impressed by this latest addition. Lady Montfort and Mrs. Edith Jackson continue in their amateur sleuthing, this time moving the action to Montfort House in London. Many of the same characters portrayed in the first book, both from upstairs and downstairs, are included and wonderfully depicted. The dialogue is smar ...more
Dec 18, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Four and a half stars. I really enjoyed this second in the series. I love the upstairs/downstairs pairing of Lady Montfort and Mrs. Jackson. This book was set in London, amidst all of the pre-WWI happenings, changing social mores, political tensions, etc. It featured a couple of real historical characters, including Winston Churchill, who at the time was First Lord of the Admiralty. I love how Ms. Arlen weaves fact and fiction, and does such a wonderful job incorporating political history, socia ...more
Rob Williams
May 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Quite a fun and enjoyable murder mystery, very much in the "Downton Abbey"/"Gosford Park" mode, with more than a passing nod to Agatha Christie. Interesting characters and a murderer reveal that seems to come out of nowhere (in the best possible sense). I hadn't read the first book in the series before I read "Death Sits Down To Dinner" but I'm anxious to go back to these characters, which is a great testament to the author. ...more
Apr 15, 2018 rated it liked it
This was almost a 2.5* for me. I liked it, but it spent so much time describing food and using flowery language that it became tough. The fact that it's early 1900s England kept me going. I actually think I would've loved this as a play and not a novel, idk. (But, props to the prep that the author probably had to take to write this and props for throwing me off the ending since I'm good at guessing.) ...more
Nov 14, 2016 rated it it was ok
Books like this are depressing me right now. The Victorian mysteries where heroines fight to break loose from society's restrictions on their sex to seize power and solve crime while being gorgeous. We seem to want to rewrite history when what we need to rewrite is the present. ...more
Oct 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Fun book. Left me wanting to read another and I didn't even skip to the end of the book to see who was the murderer. ...more
This series is pretty good. I did highlight a few out-of-period dialog bits, but overall this was nicely edited. I'll try book #3. ...more
Kimberly Ann
Apr 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Lady Monfort & her husband are invited to the 39th birthday dinner for Sir Winston Churchill at the home of her friend Hermione Kingsley. Much to everyone's dismay one of the guests is found stabbed dead in the dining room during the evening's music recital.

Lady Monfort & her Country-House Housekeeper, Mrs. Jackson work together to find out who killed the man, with little or no cooperation from Hermione's household, as Hermione has forbidden everyone in the house from discussing the murder.

It i
Katie Bee
May 23, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2021-books-read
Clementine, Lady Montfort, is at a society dinner celebrating the First Lord of the Admiralty's birthday, when one of the guests is found murdered. Now she and her indomitable housekeeper, Mrs. Edith Jackson, begin their own investigation -- who murdered Reginald Cholmondeley, and why?

Another enjoyable installment in a fun series. There were a lot of "historical cameos" in this one, most notably a young Winston Churchill, and all were handled pretty great. I'm very picky with Churchill cameos, a
Aug 14, 2018 rated it liked it
This was an engaging story, but rather off-putting due to the author's unrelenting usage of the comma splice.

I appreciated that the author provided a cast of characters at the beginning; it would have also been helpful for her to have indicated the year in which the story was taking place. Adding Winston Churchill as a character was a brilliant touch, and it was refreshing to hear unflattering opinions of him based on his early career.

If you're a Downton Abbey fan, you'll also enjoy the depicti
Jan 12, 2020 rated it liked it
For those who love to soak in the milieu of the setting and time of a novel, this series would be wonderful. The author will often spend a page or more as a character thinks through a perception or a situation or an idea that adds depth and complexity to the time period and social attitudes within the book.
Unfortunately, I am a plot-driven reader. So all that extra bit exasperates me as I just want the story to get on with it. But the main characters are enjoyable enough that I put up with it a
Dec 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
I found this an enjoyable, comfortable read. A guest is killed at a dinner party. Why was he killed and how? The hostess, an elderly woman who runs a very important charity, chooses to act as if it did not happen. People just are not killed at polite dinner parties. Luckily Lady Montfort and her excellent housekeeper, Mrs. Jackson, are available to figure out the mystery.

I thought the book dragged a little in the beginning, but overall it is a tight, well-written mystery. Looking forward to the
Linda Smatzny
May 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book is set in late 1913 in London. It features numerous real people as minor characters including Winston Churchhill. In fact it is at a dinner party celebrating his 39th birthday that the murder occurs.
Lady Monfort sends for her country housekeeper to assist her in solving the murder. The story is set at time when many feel war is coming and things are changing in the world. The book was a quick easy read.
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TESSA ARLEN, the daughter of a British Foreign Office official, was brought-up and educated in the beautiful Chiltern Hills of England, when she was not visiting her parents oversees in Asia, India and Europe. Her books are set in the pastoral beauty of her native England among its flint-stone villages, softly rolling hills, and airy beech woods.

Greatest influences on Tessa's writing are hands do

Other books in the series

Lady Montfort Mystery (4 books)
  • Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman (Lady Montfort Mystery, #1)
  • A Death by Any Other Name (Lady Montfort Mystery #3)
  • Death of an Unsung Hero (Lady Montfort Mystery #4)

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