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Past Crimes: A Compendium of Historical Mysteries

(Kat Holloway Mysteries 0.5)

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  531 ratings  ·  48 reviews
Step into the past through three historical mysteries that reach from Imperial Rome to Victorian London.

A Soupçon of Poison
(Kat Holloway Victorian Mysteries)

Kat Holloway, a young cook who is highly sought after by the wealthy of Victorian London, becomes embroiled in murder and must clear her name. Only the mysterious Daniel McAdam, who is much more than he seems, can c
Kindle Edition, 372 pages
Published July 16th 2017 by JA / AG Publishing
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3.87  · 
Rating details
 ·  531 ratings  ·  48 reviews

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Apr 25, 2018 rated it liked it
A pretty good trio of mysteries.

In the first, a female chef during the Victorian era finds herself under suspicion for the murder of her employer. A rogue seems to be her only hope of escaping the rope.

In the second, a retired Roman gladiator and his companion try to find out who murdered a moneychanger.

The third is about an adventurer during the Regency era trying to find out what happened to a diamond necklace.

All of these stories do a good job of introducing the property's setting, character
This is a lovely tasting tray of three novellas that showcase three of the author's historical mystery series: Ancient Rome for one and Regency England for the others. I'm always happy to give new to me historical mysteries a try so I was eager to dive in and sample them all.

Soupcon of Poison #.5 Kat Holloway Series
I enjoyed this introductory novella to the series that showcases Regency era cook, Kat Holloway and enigmatic 'more than he seems' jack of all trades, Daniel McAdams work a clever mur
Jan 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Three historical mysteries from author Jennifer Ashley (written under her pseudonyms).

A Soupçon of Poison - (Kat Holloway Victorian Mysteries) - 5 stars
I really enjoyed this one! Our heroine, Kat Holloway, is a 28 year old cook who is highly sought after by the Ton and royals alike. When she is framed for a murder she didn't commit, the mysterious Daniel McAdam comes to her rescue and helps her to solve the mystery. I liked that Kat wasn't perfect, and that Daniel is not who he says he is. It m
Ted Tayler
Jul 17, 2018 rated it liked it
"Let the past stay in the past"

At first, this seemed a reasonable method of introducing readers to the attractions of historical novels. Take three widely differing eras and produce examples/excerpts to encourage people to purchase one of the series. I don't profess to understand why this author felt the need to write under different names? That's just confusing, as the writing style in all three stories was clearly by the same hand.
Historical fiction isn't everyone's cup of tea. The books need
Mar 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Three novellas written in the context of three different historical periods: Victorian, Ancient Rome, and Regency. Each one had the customs of the era down pat. Well researched! And each demonstrated how crimes could be solved at that time. My absolute favorite was the freed gladiator in Rome, although apparently there is only one full length book about him. My next favorite was the Victorian cook, but there's only a few books with her. There seem to be many, many books with the retired British ...more
Jun 21, 2018 marked it as free-read
Free today on Amazon, B&N, and iBooks. 06-21-18
Marty Tool
Mar 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Three mysteries that range from Nero' s Rome with a gladiator and his "slave" solving a murder, to Recency and Victorian Britain using a cook and ex-soldier solving the mysteries. Each novella gives you a good mystery with likeable characters, you will feel like you are there with them while they travel their cities and solve the crimes. I do read this author already, however these would have made me look for her work to follow these characters. Much research was done on the time period, cities, ...more
Sep 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What did you do?!

Damn you- I specifically did not want to get pulled into another series... What harm could these novellas do? Now, here I am , realizing I have plenty more to read. The characters are incredibly developed, the atmosphere described so perfectly that I lost myself in it all. Well done!!
Clive Gerrard
Jul 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Three historical novellas in this trilogy. The first set in Edwardian/Victorian London, the second set in ancient Rome and the third during the Regency period, also in London.The quality of the stories varied considerably in my opinion.

The first, about a cook was awful! The characters were cliches of their time: the butler stealing the silver, a single parent cook, struggling to survive and a master who bullies everyone (yawn!). The hero, who we never seem to know anything about, is able to obt
Evelyn Grabas
Mar 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Enjoyed the three mysteries very much.
The first book was interesting, even if a little confusing. Perhaps later books will define Daniel more fully. The whole thing with the sugar caster was most confusing. I got that the arsenic was on the outside of the sugar caster, but the switching of the casters scenario was confusing. Particularly when one was buried in the planter and the other ?. A little too discombobulating for me. May look into this series further in the future.
The gladiator story b
Apr 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
I read and thoroughly enjoyed The Hanover Square Affair, so I was excited about this collection of short stories. I liked the Kat Holloway mystery, "A Soupçon of Poison," and thoroughly enjoyed "The Necklace Affair," which brought back the Captain Lacey of "The Hanover Square Affair."

In the first, Kat is suspected of murder and has to figure out how to clear her name. In the latter, Captain Lacey is asked to help find a missing diamond necklace .. and winds up embroiled in far more complications
Jul 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent reading

All three novellas are well written, absorbing and fun the read. Of course, spending time with the wonderful Captain Lacey is always a treat, but getting to know Leonidas,a retired 1st century Roman gladiator was also an unexpected pleasure. And, while Kat Holloway doesn’t enthrall me quite the way the good captain does, I still like her story and that of her friends. One if the great strengths of Ms. Ashley’s work is her character development fir both main characters as well a
T&R Hart
Jul 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
As always well written

Jennifer Ashley / Ashley Gardner is one of my favorite writers. The characters are authentic with positive qualities as well as faults. The times in which the characters live are so thoroughly researched one can almost hear the street sounds & smell the cities of each respective story.

I'm already a fan of the sometimes cranky Capt. Lacey. Kat is a new favorite character. I look forward to reading her 2nd novel. And in Leonidas we are treated to an unusual hero. A freed
Holly A. Woodruff
Aug 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Enjoyable trio of novellas

I took a chance on this collection of novellas despite some negative reviews and I'm glad I did. The writing style is similar in all three, not always true with these e-books. Each features a different main character, time period, and setting. Not all involve murder but all are mysteries to be solved. You get just enough background on each main character to read the novella, but to learn more you must read the books in that series. Each novella completes its story, thou
Jul 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Three Great Stories!

I loved these three well-researched, period pieces! Each historical tale of mystery covered a different era; and introduced a different protagonist; but all were complete stories. They do not leave you hanging at the end, nor do they require prior knowledge of the main characters. Ms. Gardner is an excellent writer, who deftly weaves captivating plots, likable characters, diverse crimes, and puzzling clues into three intriguing cases that will draw you in and keep you reading
Jul 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
I had already read the short story for Captain Lacey, but the Kat Holloway and Leonidas the Gladiator were both new to me. And I loved them! Unfortunately there seems to be only 2 Kat Holloway and 1 Leonidas books out so I've some waiting time ahead of me.
The Kat Holloway was an easy one to like and it helped that I had just read "Pompeii, A Living City" just prior to reading the Leonidas story. They both take place around the same time period so I had some background info fresh in my mind.
I loo
Dec 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great Compendium

I very much enjoyed the one about the gladiator; I felt drawn in by the story and wanted to learn more about the characters. The others were very good, too. They feel to me as if the mysteries are fairly well presented, and nicely resolved. I just don't prefer the progressive attitudes in the historical societies, though I'm sure they're accurate. I would rather read for entertainment and not social commentary or reflections of intolerance, even though accurate. These are still e
Mar 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Story #1 5 stars
A novella to peak interest in a new mystery series - and it worked for me!! I an interested in reading more about Kat and Daniel.
As with the author's other mystery series, the story is told in the first person. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn't. As with the Captain Lacey series - the first person in this novella works!!!
Beautiful cook, attractive mysterious man (a spy?) and the man's "son" all take part in a murder mystery. Lots of suspects. Murderer found. A romance is
3.5 stars.

I picked this up for the Romanceopoly reading challenge. Historical fiction is one of my least favorite to read so I wasn't too excited when I started this book. I was pleasantly surprised that I really enjoyed the two stories I read (I might come back to read the third one at a later date.)

A Soupçon of Poison (Kat Holloway Victorian Mysteries): 3/5

Blood Debts
(Leonidas the Gladiator Mysteries) 4/5
A retired gladiator trying to survive. I really liked this one. I might pick up the fi
Like any anthology the stories vary enough that I cannot give it a single rating. I have read all (to date) of the Captain Lacey mysteries and love them, so they are different 4 or 5 stars. The Kat Holloway are new to me and I enjoyed this one tremendously, also 4 or 5 stars. The gladiator Leonidas, however, probably should not have been unearthed; the characters are great but the brutality of the time period is atrocious and nothing I want to spend my reading time on....2, maybe even 1 star.
Kim Power
Jun 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing

What is most amazing about this book is the depth of knowledge the author has about diverse eras and the people,who lived them. Paired with he ability to write characters that are
Three dimensional and interesting this demonstrates an exceptional capacity. None of her characters are clones either. They are all distinctly their own women and men. Nor are they stereotypes of their genres. A fantastic introduction to Ashley’s work,
Oct 18, 2018 rated it liked it
This book consisted of three stories set in the past, each with a different set of characters. The story set in the Victorian Britain was my favourite. I had read about captain Lacey before and enjoyed it. I did not so much enjoy the story set in Ancient Rome about the retired gladiator. I liked the idea and the character, but somehow the story did not hold my interest. The final story about a cook in a Victorian home was also enjoyable.
Jan 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical, mystery
Ms. Gardner is a "new to me" author and I found this book to be a great introduction to her historical mysteries. I really enjoyed reading all three of the short stories. Ms. Gardner's narrative made me feel as if I was with the characters as they walked their cities, talked to their friends or enemies and unraveled the mysteries. I look forward to reading more of Ms. Gardner's books.
Jun 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent under either name.

This author invariable presents fine well planned and well written novels. This compendium introduces two original prequels of lesser known and developing series which I hope to follow up on soon.
Captain Lacey is an old friend but it was nice to re read the novella The Necklace Affair ,
Jan 22, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: kindle
I love mysteries, always have and the idea of historical mysteries did catch my eye when I saw the title of this book, but despite the time periods I didn't find anything memorable about these stories.

Past Crimes fell flat for me - a good mystery should draw you in and hold your attention to the very end and that just doesn't happen here.
Loretta Gabriel
Nov 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Intriguing and entertaining mystery stories

The author has written a very interesting stories that take very interesting and unexpected twists and turns that is sure to keep the reader totally entertained.
Chris Blackton
Nov 09, 2018 rated it liked it
This was a collection of three novellas. Two were from the Victorian period and one was from early Roman times. Certainly gave me a different perspective than I have become accustomed to. Enjoyable light read.
Dorothy Mills
Aug 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Great story telling

Each book of "Past Crimes" was better than the last it seemed. Each twist in the tale was intriguing. I think I will now have to read the whole Captain Lacey series of books!
Phil Ellenberger
Jun 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Surprisingly good

I had read this author previously and though her slightly above average. Th collective a five star set i will move her higher in my search algorithm. So
Books are winners.
Marie Smith
Nov 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Mysteries with Histories!

What a great combination! To combine a well written mystery that takes place in an historic period. A very enjoyable read and a great way to introduce the various characters in each time period. Definitely made me want to read more!
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Ashley Gardner is the pseudonym for NY Times bestselling and award-winning author Jennifer Ashley and nationally bestselling and award-winning author Allyson James. Her award-winning Captain Lacey Regency mysteries have garnered top reviews and an enthusiastic following. These books are now available as digital editions. More about the series can be found at

Other books in the series

Kat Holloway Mysteries (3 books)
  • Death Below Stairs (Kat Holloway Mysteries, #1)
  • Scandal Above Stairs (Kat Holloway Mysteries, #2)
  • Death in Kew Gardens (Kat Holloway Mysteries, #3)
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