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Death at Bishop's Keep

(The Victorian Mystery Series #1)

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  3,663 ratings  ·  229 reviews
Kate Ardleigh is not a Victorian lady - outspoken, egalitarian, American, and a writer of penny-dreadfuls. Aunt Sabrina invites her to Essex England, for help with the Order of the New Dawn. Aunt Jagger beats the servants to suicide, and someone feeds her Death mushrooms. Next door, Sir Charles photographs a fresh body in an archaeological dig, and seeks his killer.
Paperback, 296 pages
Published July 1998 by Penguin Berkeley (first published 1994)
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3.79  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,663 ratings  ·  229 reviews


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Stevie
Mar 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
Recently re-read this series of historical mysteries and once again was quite taken with the main character, Kate, an independent woman living in Victorian England. The earlier books are my favories, with Kate squarely in the spotlight and our other hero, Charles-- a man whose interest in science and photography give him a great edge in investigating crime scenes-- playing a secondary role. Later in the series, Charles' role grows and Kate's seems to fade a bit. While each book is enjoyable on i ...more
Dawn (& Ron)
Feb 07, 2012 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Victorian historical fiction and mystery readers
To me these are more than a cozy mystery. The husband and wife team that write under the pseudonym of Robin Paige put a great deal of research into each of these. Each centers on a different historical person or event and they do not scrimp on these details. That is what them so endearing and comfortable.

You may ask why only a three stars rating? I wanted to leave room for the others in the series. Also in this first entry they had to set up the backgrounds of the two main characters. Although n
...more
Melanie (Mel's Bookland Adventures)
Cozy Victorian mystery series, book 1. Kate, an American ends up with her two aunts in England in an awkward position of half Servant, half family member. She is unperturbed, however, because all she wants is to gather material for the penny shockers she writes. Suddenly, she has a lot more material than she bargained for. Thought this was entertaining and a great escape read
Andree
Jan 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
This was fun. I debated a bit between three and four stars, but in the end I rounded up.

For two reasons, I was sold on the characters, and this is how I like my convention flouting.

Seriously, it's kind of great. Our heroine has more modern attitudes, but for reasons that make complete sense given her background, upbringing and personality. She's American, and only goes to England because a long lost aunt offers her a post as a secretary there. She wasn't born into the upper classes and has alway
...more
Georgie-who-is-Sarah
I've said before that I think the first book in a detective series has a very tough job to do. It's got to establish character and history, it's got to set out the author's logical credentials as a mystery writer, there needs to be Atmosphere, and - these days - it also needs to set up some form of romance/developing relationship that is both developed enough to be satisfying, and tentative enough to draw readers into the next installment. Whew. So perhaps it's no wonder that most don't quite pu ...more
Patricia Gulley
Sep 11, 2010 rated it really liked it
A female, penny dreadful story writer in the late 19th century heading for the 20th with a good attitude about women's intelligence and rights. Good character, smooth writing style, and interesting information. I especially like the way the character paid close attention to what was going on around her as research for her stories. And it looks like a long series. Will it hold my attention? Well, she goes off to England and comes into money. That may take away from the spunky, hard-working writer ...more
Jennifer
Dec 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing
A thoroughly enjoyable read! Well written and fast paced with two very likable lead characters in Kathyrn Ardleigh and Sir Charles Sheridan.

I really liked the fact that I was actually stumped as who the guilty party was right up until the revelation was made.

There's 12 books in this series, if the remaining 11 are as charming as this one, I cannot wait to begin reading them.
Helen
Robin Paige is the pseudonym of husband and wife writing team Susan Wittig Albert and Bill Albert. This is the fourth novel in the victorian england series they co-write.

I really like Wittig Albert's Beatrice Potter Series and someone at 'Murder By the Book' suggested this series to me. It is the first one I have read and I will be reading others.

Kate Ardleigh is an American who writes. She is trying to eke out a living to do what makes her happy and to be independent. She thinks she is above '
...more
Matilda
Well, this was a pleasant read. I was a bit wary of the information dumping at the beginning of the book (which continues during the whole thing by the way), but the mystery is sufficiently satisfyingly written to forget what is less artfully done. I'll surely be reading the next book in the series.
Nikki
Reviewed for The Bibliophibian.

Death at Bishop’s Keep follows mostly two characters: the first one being Kathryn Ardleigh, a thoroughly modern and independent American lady, and the second being Sir Charles, an English gentleman with an interest in… well, all kinds of things, from murders to mushrooms. It opens with Kathryn, though, as she’s offered a job with her heretofore unknown British aunt, and travels across to England in order to become her secretary. She quickly finds that though the si
...more
Julia
Dec 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
I read this series a while ago (I remember being upset when the author's announced there would not be any more Kate Ardleigh/Charles Sheridan books) but I didn't remember enough of this one for it to feel like a re-read.

The main character is an independent young woman from the United States who is employed by her aunt in England to do secretarial work. Kate hadn't known about her English relatives and goes over without committing to staying.

Her aunt is involved in the Order of the Golden Dawn,
...more
Anna Katharine
Robin Paige is a pen name for Susan Wittig Albert, whose China Bayles series I've occasionally dipped in to. Death at Bishop's Keep is in the same vein- competent, cozy mystery writing with strong female characters and an amusing, if not greatly compelling, puzzle. While the protagonist, Kathryn Ardleigh, is just a hair too modern to be believable as a Victorian-era women, her engaging personality and the otherwise period-appropriate settings keep any slight anachronisms from becoming too jarrin ...more
Stacie  Haden
A decent Victorian mystery with a likeable protagonist.

1894 England
An Odd1
Nov 16, 2013 rated it it was ok
American Kate Ardleigh writes penny dreadfuls until estranged aunt Sabrina Ardleigh invites her to England, for help with her secretarial position for the Order of the New Dawn. But Sabrina's vicious sister Mrs Bernice Jaggers abuses and beats servants; some blame their malicious mistress for shaming maid Jenny into suicide last year, despite the eagerness to marry of Jenny's beau Tom.

Next door, visiting Sir Charles finds man's body in his archaeological dig. Charles on the trail of the killer
...more
Claudine
May 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed reading this book written by Robin Paige (who is Susan and her husband Bill Albert)

I've been looking for new historical mysteries to read and Susan Albert was recommended to me by a friend. Susan writes many mysteries set in different time periods with different aged women detectives. She has a series set in the present day, late 1800's and early depression.

Death at Bishop's Keep is the 1st of her historical series set in American and later in England. The main character, Kate
...more
Helene Harrison
Review - I was very pleasantly surprised by this novel. I thought it would be a kind of chic lit with some mystery in it, but it isn't. It's primarily a crime / mystery book with essences of romance. I love Kathryn as a character and I am intrigued to know more about Charles Sheridan, who I hope features more prominently in future books. I just stumbled across this series by accident, but if the rest are as good as this then it's a great little series.

Genre? - Historical / Crime / Mystery

Charact
...more
Barbara
Jun 19, 2011 rated it liked it
First in the series, but my second read of the series. I used to like historical romances and historical mysteries, but kind of lost interest in them. I preferred more contemporary stories. However, I am enjoying these books. The two non-conventional main characters are interesting and not too outside the norm to stretch belief.

As in the first book I read, real life people make appearances in this book as well, though they do just make appearances and were not as central to the story as in Deat
...more
Jo Jenner
May 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
When America Kathryn Ardleigh is brought to England to act as her previously unknown aunt's secretary she see it as a great opportunity to meet her long lost relative and to do some research to help her in her secret occupation as a writer of penny dreadfulls.
Assisted or assisting sir Charles together they must discover the identity of a mysterious murdered man.
This is a great murder mystery and the attitude to women in Victorian England is frightening but Kathryn is a wonderful breath of fresh
...more
Marcia
Jun 02, 2009 rated it liked it
This is a light weight, but interesting historical mystery series. What makes the series outstanding is the authors' blend of real characters and extensive research into the stories. Folks like Rudyard Kipling, Winston Churchhill and the Prince of Wales show up. An excellent series for those of us who love historical mysteries.
Janet
A fine, gentle, Victorian series. Kate is just sedate enough to be believable as a 1800s lady, and more than modern enough to scandalize her societal counterparts. I mean, really. How dare Kate wear a skirt short enough to show an entire inch of ankle!
Liza
Jan 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Gewoon een heerlijke detectiveroman die zich afspeelt aan het einde van de 19e eeuw met een vrouw in de hoofdrol die zich niet neerlegt bij de beperkingen van haar tijd. Nooit superspannend maar wel onderhoudend.
Lindy MacLaine
Feb 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Creative mystery in historical setting!
Talia Colley
Apr 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I love the style of writing and humor in this book. Love the main character and her "American" ways. Definitely want to read the whole series.
Laura
Sep 16, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Susanna
Recommended to Laura by: Hayes
Kindly sent by my dear friend Hayes. What a lovely and surprising book.
Viji
May 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
A fast moving mystery.
Lori McD
3-3.5 stars

Promising start to a series of mysteries featuring Kathryn (Kate) Ardleigh and Sir Charles Shreridan. The author, Robin Paige, is the pseudonym of husband & wife writing team Susan Wittig-Albert and Bill Albert. (I find that interesting alone! Wonder if they take turns writing the scenes. Or if he writes Sir Charles and she writes Kate?)

Kate is a twenty-something American living in New York. Her English father died before she was born, and her Irish mother died hen she was five. K
...more
Dyana
Sep 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
The historical setting for this 1st in the series is late 1890's in Victorian England. There were many reviews that stated this was a slow-starting book, but I found it to be well-written and fast-paced once the characters, settings, and murder mystery were introduced.

The story begins in New York where Kathryn Ardleigh is secretly writing penny-dreadfuls to earn a living after a former employer died and writing under the pseudonym of Beryl Bardwell. Kate is an American with an English father an
...more
Martin Chuck
Mar 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Wanda Madeleine Chuck
I saw Death at Blenheim Palace at a book sale back in high school and from there I discovered Robin Paige. Internet wasn't accessible back then so I've always thought that Robin Paige to be one person. It turns out, Robin Page is a conglomerate pen name for Susan Wittig Albert and her husband, Bill Albert. And as expected, their uncoupled presence in the novels seems to emboss through the characters Kathryn Ardleigh and Charles Sheridan. But, considering it a rare feat, the novel was smooth enou ...more
Chazzi
Jun 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery, history-era
New York in the 1890s, Kathryn Ardleigh is not the expected gentlewoman of the times to be, she is a writer. Not just of nice woman fiction but of the "penny-dreadfuls" filled with violence, romance and adventure. She writes under the name of Beryl Bardwell as it is a career that is frowned upon for women. Kate has found it has paid her bills since her previous employer passed away, leaving her without a job. To go back to being a secretary-companion or governess was just too dreary.

She finds he
...more
Carol
Jan 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018-reads
I have mixed feelings about this story. I agree that it was slow moving ahead but as another reviewer mentioned it is an introduction to a series and the authors needed to set a groundwork. Other authors have had to do it too but are more subtle.
Kate encompasses all of the qualities that writers of this genre use: unruly red hair, intelligent, unadorned, modern, non-conformist, straight-forward, independent, non-traditional. It has become a bit of a cliche.
One thing that bothered me about the st
...more
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Goodreads Librari...: Please add book cover 2 8 Apr 06, 2017 03:05AM  
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120 followers
Robin Paige is the pen-name of husband and wife team Bill and Susan Wittig Albert.

The Robin Paige Victorian/Edardian mystery series was written by Bill and Susan Albert from 1994-2006. There are a dozen books in the series (now completed), beginning in the mid 1890s and continuing through 1903.

The series, beginning with 'Death at Bishop's Keep'. features two amateur sleuths: Kate Ardleigh Sheridan
...more

Other books in the series

The Victorian Mystery Series (1 - 10 of 12 books)
  • Death at Gallows Green (Kathryn Ardleigh, #2)
  • Death at Daisy's Folly (Kathryn Ardleigh, #3)
  • Death at Devil's Bridge (Kathryn Ardleigh, #4)
  • Death at Rottingdean (Kathryn Ardleigh, #5)
  • Death at Whitechapel (Kathryn Ardleigh, #6)
  • Death at Epsom Downs (Kathryn Ardleigh, #7)
  • Death at Dartmoor (Kathryn Ardleigh, #8)
  • Death at Glamis Castle (Kathryn Ardleigh, #9)
  • Death in Hyde Park (Kathryn Ardleigh, #10)
  • Death at Blenheim Palace (Kathryn Ardleigh, #11)
“Novel reading tends to inflame the passions, pollute the imagination, and corrupt the heart. It frequently becomes an inveterate habit, strong and fatal as that of a drunkard. In this state of intoxication, great waywardness of conduct is always sure to follow. Even when the habit is renounced, and genuine reformation takes place, the individual always suffers the cravings of former excitement.” 2 likes
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