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Past Crimes: A Compendium of Historical Mysteries

(Kat Holloway Mysteries)

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  1,038 ratings  ·  93 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
Kindle Edition, 372 pages
Published July 16th 2017 by JA / AG Publishing
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Average rating 3.83  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,038 ratings  ·  93 reviews

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Start your review of Past Crimes: A Compendium of Historical Mysteries
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
May 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
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
3.5 stars
Three novellas with different characters. Each good in its own way.
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!!
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
Barbara Monajem
Jun 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book includes three novellas, each of which introduces a different series. My favorite was the first one, A Soupçon of Poison. The main character, Kat Holloway, is the cook in a wealthy Victorian-era household. She’s a wonderful character, a joy to read, and her counterpart, a mysterious male, is delightfully intriguing.

The second novella takes place in Ancient Rome, another era I like to read about. The hero is a retired gladiator, and his female counterpart is brilliant. I hope this deve
Jun 21, 2018 marked it as free-read
Free today on Amazon, B&N, and iBooks. 06-21-18
Elaine Hargrave
May 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Enjoyed reading. Very easy to read if you don't want a big reaf. Each story is good in its own right. ...more
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
H.L. Carpenter
Jun 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Very well written set of three complete mystery novellas featuring three very different characters: a Victorian cook, a retired Roman gladiator, and a Regency ex-soldier. Hard to say which was more enjoyable, though that gladiator might just edge out the other two...reader with a soft spot for principled men here... :) Lovely enjoyable sample and beautiful introduction to each series. No hanging endings here (sorry, that has been a pet peeve lately with multiple books).
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.
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
Aug 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Three "samples", i.e. shorter stories, of three of this author's series of more or less willing crime-solvers from the past, without the help of today's technology, and I loved them all!
In the Victorian Era, Kat Holloway, a young cook, gets involved in a murder case and has to clear her name, with the help of the mysterious Daniel McAdam, so she goes out and looks for the murderer herself.
Rome at Nero's times: Ex-Gladiator Leonidas and his slave Cassia have to solve the murder of a money lender,
Christopher Taylor
Mar 04, 2020 rated it liked it
This is a collection of three short stories, mysteries set in different historical eras.

The first is the story of a cook in Victorian England accused of murdering her aristocratic, handsy boss. The second is of an ex-gladiator in Nero's Rome who finds a dead banker, and the third in post-Napoleonic War England of an ex-Army captain who associates with the aristocratic types investigating a theft.

All three are well written stories rich in historical and cultural context, and the cook's story the
Jennifer Macaire
Apr 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic trio of mysteries - I was hooked from page one. The first features a cook as a the heroine, and I loved the way the mystery tied in with the food (poison, of course!) and how the mystery was solved. The characters were wonderful, really a great start to a terrific series. The second story was my favorite - book I in the Leonidas the Gladiator Mysteries -and here Ms Gardner shows her flair for creating unusual characters in unusual settings - and making everything work. The research was ...more
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 gla
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
Italo Italophiles
Jul 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
I had that feeling with each story: Yes, but...

The cook's story was cute but the crime had similarities to themurder in the film Gosford Park.

The one set in Ancient Rome was interesting, but the first person narration made the many explanations of Roman customs just come across as odd. 3rd person narration would have been better, since a narrator from the period would have no need to explain things to a contemporary reader.

The Captain Lacey story was the one I enjoyed the most, for the interplay
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
Romanceopoly 2020 Challenge
Moon pack: 
Sleuth Street Read a mystery where the main character is an amateur sleuth

This rating is solely for Soupçon of Poison.

I wasn't really in the mood to read the others, I enjoyed the prequel to Kat Holloway's series but not enough to continue it for now. I did find Daniel intriguing and if I did read the other books it would probably be for him.

The mystery didn't really grab me and Kat annoyed me a bit at times. Part of that could be because it was a nove
Sep 26, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: murder-mystery
This is three short stories in one book. One story is about a former Roman gladiator who finds a dead body as he tries to collect a debt for this person. Afraid that he will be accused of killing this person and then sent back to the arena to fight for his life in the gladiators' games, Leonidas leaves the scene of this crime in the company of a small boy. Was this child a witness to the murder? The next story is about a cook in an elderly gentleman's house, mid 1800's. The "gentleman" makes imp ...more
Carrie Mitchell
Jan 02, 2021 rated it really liked it
I liked this introductory approach to three very different series protagonists. I did feel the cook was a bit too confident for a woman of her position and time, but she was interesting nonetheless. It was a major change to go from Victoriana to Rome, so I did have to adjust my pacing a bit to compensate, but I felt the plots were well done for short stories. It was edited well and a lot of attention to historical detail was employed.

I have another, full novel featuring the third hero, so am qui
Jan 05, 2021 rated it liked it
I enjoyed the three different stories and main characters. The settings and characters are sufficiently developed. I got a little bit tired of so much time spent in explaining ancient Rome but if you have not read many stories about that time era and culture it might be necessary to set the stage. I don't know why the author feels the need to write under different names because her writing style is very similar in each story. If she wrote one series like Roald Dahl and another series like Steven ...more
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
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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 ...more

Other books in the series

Kat Holloway Mysteries (5 books)
  • Death Below Stairs (Kat Holloway Mysteries, #1)
  • Scandal Above Stairs (Kat Holloway Mysteries, #2)
  • Death in Kew Gardens (Kat Holloway Mysteries, #3)
  • Murder in the East End (Kat Holloway Mysteries #4)
  • Death at the Crystal Palace (Kat Holloway Mysteries, #5)

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