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A Case of Blackmail in Belgravia

(Freddy Pilkington-Soames Adventures #1)

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  1,315 ratings  ·  106 reviews
It's 1929, and Ticky Maltravers is the toast of London high society, adored by everyone—or so it seems, until somebody poisons him over dinner. Now it turns out that numerous people with secrets to hide had every reason to wish him dead. But which of them murdered him? For Freddy Pilkington-Soames, newspaper reporter and man-about-town, the question hits a little too close ...more
Kindle Edition, 263 pages
Published September 4th 2016 by Mount Street Press
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 ·  1,315 ratings  ·  106 reviews

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Pauline Ross
For anyone who read all ten of the Angela Marchmont series of murder mysteries set in the 1920s, this spin-off series is an absolute must. Featuring the gloriously insouciant Freddy Pilkington-Soames, this first book in the new series has all the author’s trademark elegant phrasing and delightful humour, combined with twenties glamour and a gentle murder mystery to be solved. I was a little concerned that Freddy, a comedic bit part in the Angela series, might be too lightweight to carry an ...more
Sep 28, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's not necessarily a bad book, but the characters are all the miserable rich. So, yeah.
It is an interesting look into what some people will do for money and reputation.

I've actually only read it once.
Feb 04, 2017 added it
Rather short, and my enjoyment was a little dimmed because I spotted the most likely killer very early, but Freddy is a fun read. A modern series that manages to almost give a feel of classic golden-age fiction.
Laila Kanon
Sep 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-fiction
I need a break from the scholarly reading marathon that I somehow found myself been doing of late; this murder mystery story was a pleasant surprise and I thoroughly enjoyed it--overall a neat reading and cleverly done. The culprit wasn't easily suspected but like any murder(s) committed in the "haves" society--alas, one always suspect the butler and in this case, close to that position! Huh.
I find it hard to finished a book when I'm travelling, I guess I'm one of those who only thrive in
Lady Wesley
Jun 02, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: listened
Quite fun. I'll probably listen to more in this series.
Sep 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Multiple murders and blackmail among the posh set in London, written with a wry sense of humor. The year wasn't mentioned, but judging by the forms of technology and transportation, I'm thinking the 1920's or 30's? Freddy Pilkington-Soames is himself a member of this monied elite, but he's also a newspaper reporter and inadvertently gets himself involved in the whole mess. His mother is a riot. She's the initial suspect, and says, "But I refuse to take it too seriously, either. After all, nobody ...more
Sep 07, 2016 rated it really liked it

I'll be honest, this book will not win a Pulitzer, but is is an entertaining read.

As a fan of the Angela Marchmont series, I was sad to finish the last book. I was very happy to hear that a new series starring Freddy, one on my favorites from the AM series, was being written. I was not let down.

This book ticks the boxes that I enjoyed about the AM series. It is great light reading. If you liked Angela Marchmont, and enjoyed Freddy's character, then this book will be right up your
Maine Colonial
A lead character who is like one of Bertie Wooster's pals from the Drones Club, and a plot with a Golden Age flavor, made this appeal to me. I enjoyed it while reading but within a day could barely remember it.

A good choice when you need a bit of fluff or a palate cleanser type of read.
Hilary (A Wytch's Book Review)
Mar 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cozy-history
Freddy didn't expect an evening on cocktails to take the turn it does, after he ends up at the wrong end of town to get back to his flat he decides to sleep the night at his parents ... only to find his mother with a corpse! From there on in it is a comedy and tragedy combined with Freddy trying to figure out what is going on, no one wanting to talk to anyone (least of all the Police!) and then another body, Freddy's hangover seems to be the least of his problems (holding on to his job is ...more
Lady Delacour
Delightfully funny, lighthearted farce.
Takes place in 1929, among the elite in Belgravia.
One of the wealthiest districts in the world.
Narrator Gethyn Edwards captured the humor
and helped bring the story to life.
He gave each whimsical character a different voice.
Men as well as female.
A nice Clean Story!!!
Jan 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
I really liked this writing style. 4’5 stars
Sep 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
A rather funny easygoing detective story, perfect bedtime reading, hardly any suspense but it's quite humoristic.
Dec 24, 2017 rated it liked it
Meh. Perhaps I’ve read too many Agatha Christie novels, and experienced the brilliance of her mind, to appreciate other mysteries as much. This story focuses on Freddie, a local newspaper journalist for the Clarion newspaper, and his London socialite mother and her group of elitist “friends.” One of their group is murdered...poisoned at dinner...and both the police and Freddie are engaged in a quest to uncover the murderer. Unfortunately for Freddie, his mother has put him right at the center of ...more
Amusing old-school cosy mystery where the protagonist, Freddy, is unwillingly dragged into solving the murder mystery (a poisoning at a dinner party) because his mother is a suspect. I found the first third a bit confusing as there were lots of POV-shifts into different characters' (the various suspects) heads / omniscient perspective and then back again into Freddy's POV.

Freddy grew on me over the course of the book. Initially I found him hard to warm up to since in his first scene he is drunk
Charlene Roberson
Ticky Maltravers is the center of attention at every party, and he is always invited, although no on really likes him, so why? After he is murdered, the truth begins to emerge- Ticky was blackmailing virtually all his "friends" and they were afraid not to include him. Most of the "crimes" were petty, but a few were more serious - so who decided they had had enough and got rid of this pest?

Freddy Pilkington-Soames' mother is one of the "set" taken over by Ticky, and also is being blackmailed.
Jan 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Quite interesting. I especially liked the way Freddy closed out each chapter of blackmail in his acquaintances' lives and particularly of the Captain. while the mystery was interesting, I liked the book more for its humor and Freddy's personality.
Sep 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Not as good as the Angela Marchmont series, but an encouraging start for the adventures of this character. I figured out whodunit pretty early on, but I enjoy the ambience and chatter so much that I didn't mind. I can't wait for the next installment.
Verity W
Feb 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this. It's a bit like Bertie Wooster solves crimes, if Bertie wasn't quite so stupid. But it has that nonchalent air about it of someone slightly bumbling through but actually finding useful information. I really enjoyed it and would happily read more.
Jan 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Nice, light, entertaining read. I loved Freddy in the Angela Marchmont stories, so I was looking forward to this series and I wasn't disappointed.
Chris Montez
Dec 28, 2017 rated it did not like it
The women are vague and superficial, the men are invisible, and the plot never thickens. If it wasn't such a quick read I couldn't have gotten through it.
Colin Rochford
Dec 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
A Case of Blackmail in Belgravia by Clara Bensen
This is a deliciously English story. The characters are woefully funny. The plot ridiculous. But that’s what makes it so much fun. A ridiculous romp in London during "the season.” There are a number of mainish characters all well-developed and an intriguing plot.

Some quotes: “the result was that by the time he left the night-club, his brain and his finer motor abilities had mutually agreed to part company for a few hours.”
“.... but she insists on
Dec 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
First novel in the series featuring the witty, partying Freddy Pilkington-Soames (a David Niven sort of character, in his 20s and from the British upper crust) who apparently was a recurring character in the earlier Angela Marchmont series by the same author.

I found the opening of this novel simply delightful, the tone, the language, the situations. I laughed aloud, I was charmed. As it progressed it slowed down some for me, it was fairly predictable at times, and just not as clever. Thumbs up,
Jul 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Freddy Pilkington-Soames is probably a character you either love or hate. I love him. He's Bert Wooster with more brains and no Jeeves to help him. Ticky Maltravers appears to be very popular until someone decides to poison him at a dinner party.

Freddy - a newspaper reporter when he isn't being a man about town - has a close encounter with the corpse which he'd much rather forget. Unfortunately his mother keeps tampering with the evidence and looks like being arrested for the crime so Freddy
May 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Plot is interesting, corpse deserves it, silly upper class entertains without too much eye rolling. Hero's motivations are reasonable, if a little far fetched. But this is not serious literature that drags reader into reality. Grabs and holds attention; the plot does not stagnate with filler diversions. Even has a plot twist at the end to head off darkness.

Audible: The actor/reader is excellent. Wonderful to experience someone who can convey individual voices as well as inflection to sell the
Nov 12, 2018 rated it liked it
While I liked it well enough overall, my main gripe with the book was the lack of world building. It felt like the only reason I knew the book was set in 1920’s London was because I was told that was the setting. There wasn’t much world building that made me feel immersed in that time and place, which is something I look for in books that have a historical fiction aspect. I want to feel transported, and unfortunately this book didn’t do that for me so the rest of it felt a little flat as a ...more
Dec 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Slow to start but worth the effort

I am discovering that I do enjoy Clara Benson's books. They are very entertaining. This one started out rather silly and I wasn't sure I wanted to continue with it. But I kept with it and I am glad I did. Clara Benson's books are very clever and they do contain a mystery to be solved. I found that I can sometimes determine who the guilty party is early on but the book is still good enough that I want to finish it up to get every little detail. I also enjoy the
Adele Dupuis-Miller
Mar 22, 2018 rated it liked it
I was surprised at the character development of Freddy Pilkington-Soames. I had not expected much as he was not shown to have much depth in the Angela Marchmont series. (As an aside, I am getting tired of the reluctant, fluttering, spinster "detective" who dithers alot, ie Angela M and the brolly wielding Miss Seeton etc. No author can create what Christie did re Miss Marple and I wish he or she would just stop trying.) Anyway, glad I gave this book a try and will now read the second in the ...more
Sep 17, 2019 rated it liked it
When a corpse appears on his mother's doorstep, Freddie lets himself be coaxed into moving it around the corner, closer to where the corpse lived. He is still trying to protect his mother throughout the story, as she removes clues and he tries to put them back again. Blackmail, another murder, and a plethora of suspects keep Freddie hopping as he tries to stay in with the police without being suspected. Fairly humorous, good characterization for the most part. I enjoyed it, but I probably won't ...more
Aug 24, 2019 rated it liked it
This did not do the business for me.

I have come to the conclusion that "Golden-Age-lite" is not my cup of tea, or negroni cocktail. I much, much prefer the real thing.

I could not get interested in the doings of this cloud of suspects, in a tale of blackmail leading to murders. Nor was the quality of the writing sufficiently good to carry the skimpy plot. Where were the clues, the red-herring, the misdirection? If none of the main suspects did it there was really only one person who could be the
Jan 23, 2018 rated it liked it
Just ok

This book was ok but no one of the best mystery reads. I was annoyed with Cynthia to no end. Almost wished she'd been the one just to have her snap out of her attitude and vagueness.
Freddy never gr8 me cheering for him and it took forever before he got serious about investigating. Once that happened, the book became fun to read.
It's a good plane read or a beach read. I'm not sure I will continue with the series. Really did not care about the entire group of "friends" .
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Clara Benson is the author of the Angela Marchmont Mysteries and Freddy Pilkington-Soames Adventures - traditional English whodunits in authentic style set in the 1920s and 30s. One day she would like to drink cocktails and solve mysteries in a sequinned dress and evening gloves. In the meantime she lives in the north of England with her family and doesn't do any of those things.

If you want to be

Other books in the series

Freddy Pilkington-Soames Adventures (5 books)
  • A Case of Murder in Mayfair (Freddy Pilkington-Soames Adventures #2)
  • A Case of Conspiracy in Clerkenwell (Freddy Pilkington-Soames Adventures #3)
  • A Case of Duplicity in Dorset (Freddy Pilkington-Soames Adventures #4)
  • A Case of Suicide in St. James's (Freddy Pilkington-Soames Adventures #5)