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Will Rees Mysteries #11

Murder, Sweet Murder

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Will Rees accompanies his wife to Boston to help clear her estranged father's name in this gripping mystery set in the early nineteenth century.

January, 1801. When Lydia's estranged father is accused of murder, Will Rees escorts her to Boston to uncover the truth. Marcus Farrell is believed to have murdered one of his workers, a boy from Jamaica where he owns a plantation. Marcus swears he's innocent. However, a scandal has been aroused by his refusal to answer questions and accusations he bribed officials.

As Will and Lydia investigate, Marcus's brother, Julian, is shot and killed. This time, all fingers point towards James Morris, Lydia's brother. Is someone targeting the family? Were the family quarreling over the family businesses and someone lashed out? What's Marcus hiding and why won't he accept help?

With the Farrell family falling apart and their reputation in tatters, Will and Lydia must solve the murders soon. But will they succeed before the murderer strikes again?

224 pages, Hardcover

Published February 1, 2022

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About the author

Eleanor Kuhns

13 books566 followers
Eleanor is a lifelong librarian. She wrote her first story at the age of ten and hasn't stopped since. She lives with her husband and dog in New York State.

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5 stars
17 (32%)
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20 (38%)
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13 (25%)
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Displaying 1 - 21 of 21 reviews
Profile Image for Kari.
3,620 reviews86 followers
May 7, 2022
Murder, Sweet Murder is the 11th book in the Will Rees Mysteries series. I think for the most part, it worked well as a stand alone. However, 11 books in, I feel one would benefit from reading the previous books. I would have understood the dynamics of Lydia and Will's relationship better. There was a lot of backstory that I was missing. Especially regarding how they met and what drove Lydia to flee to live in a Shaker community. Despite that, I did enjoy the book fairly well. It is a mystery featuring a married couple who are amateur sleuths. I got the feeling that they had stumbled into this life style by accident somewhere years before. I'll have to go back and read to find out.

While I enjoyed the characters, I loved the setting much more. I haven't read a lot of books set in the turn of the 19th century when slavery was rampant in the south and northerners held interests abroad that also used slave for things like sugarcane fields. I loved that they were able to solve the mystery without modern day technology. It was refreshing and I didn't call the ending. I do recommend this one. I am going to have to go back to the beginning and catch up before the next book comes out.
Profile Image for Sarah-Hope.
1,085 reviews91 followers
December 25, 2021
I've read most of the volumes in Eleanor Kuhns' Will Reese series, set in early America, and have enjoyed them. They always offer a solid read—sometimes satisfactorily so, sometimes quite rewardingly. My favorite volume takes place in a southern swamp inhabited by runaway slaves. This volume takes place in Boston in the family home of Will's wife Lydia. Lydia's father—with whom her relationship is strained, to say the least—has been accused of murder. He's wealthy and powerful enough to evade charges, but Lydia's younger half-sister has asked Lydia and Will to investigate. Suspects abound, though I found myself fairly sure of whodunnit a bit early.

If you enjoy historical mysteries, you should enjoy this one, though you may want to begin with one or two earlier volumes in the series to get a sense of what Will and Lydia's lives are like when they're home raising a cluster of children, farming, and working to make ends meet.

I received a free electronic review copy of this title from the publisher via Net Galley; the opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Charlotte Pawson.
585 reviews3 followers
March 12, 2022
Lydia and Will Rees amateur detectives are called home when Lydia’s father is accused of murder. Family tensions and a story with many twists leave them feeling lost at first not believing that murder has come so close to home. Family characters that are not very likeable leave you with many suspects. The investigation starts off at a slow pace but really picks up a speed at the finally.
I was given an arc of this book by Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Joan.
3,650 reviews66 followers
April 16, 2022
While this novel is down the line in the series, it reads well on its own. Kuhns has provided enough backstory through the developing plot that relationships and actions are understandable. This story brings Rees to Boston and it is interesting to see the contrast between rural life and that in the city. Rees may be out of his element but he and Lydia can still pursue a murder investigation.

I like the historical aspect of the investigation Rees does. The time period is long before investigative techniques were developed so much of what Rees does is talk to people and think about possibilities. There is much logical thinking yet plenty of false starts too. Wealth at times was used for influence and Rees had to deal with that issue. I found it interesting the police are never brought in and because of that, the resolution of guilt may not be what we expect.

An issue Kuhns explores in this mystery is arranged marriages. Additional interest is provided by family relationships with some members being estranged. The novel takes place while the slave trade was still happening and that provided some conflict in the family too.

This is a good historical mystery for readers who like an amateur investigation into murder. Kuhns does a good job setting the time and place, giving readers a real taste of Boston during the time.

I received a complimentary digital copy of this book through Partners in Crime Tours. My comments are an independent and honest review.
Profile Image for Missi Martin (Stockwell).
793 reviews11 followers
October 13, 2022
Readers of the Will Rees Mystery series are going to go crazy, in a good way, when they start reading the eleventh book, Murder, Sweet Murder......Rees and his wife Lydia along with two of their children are heading to Boston to visit Lydia's family.

In Murder, Sweet Murder Lydia, who left home many years ago when her father had tried to marry her off to a gentlemen that she did not love, is returning after receiving a letter from her younger sister asking for help. It seems that their father Marcus was accused of murder and Cordelia, Cordy, knows that Will and Lydia have helped solve crimes in their hometown in Maine so they are the obvious choice to clear Marcus's name. Unfortunately when they arrive at Lydia's old home, they are not as welcomed as they had hoped. First no one other than Cordy wants an investigation, it seems the case has somehow been swept under the rug, and second the family is not so warm to accepting Will into the family. When Lydia left she didn't keep in touch with anyone other than Cordy so they are not aware of Will as her husband and of her children.

Will and Lydia are not deterred and begin their investigation into the young man's death. It is known that he is from Jamaica, a plantation that Marcus owns, but not much more is known. He was killed in the middle of the night outside a tavern that was closed, no witnesses that they are aware of and not much to go on...so Will decides to start at the place of death and go from there......

Every time that they think they have a clue or a fact to the murder, something happens that changes their minds. Once they start investigating they learn of more people that could possibly have committed the murder and when they find out that the person killed isn't who everyone thinks, they are lead down another disturbing road. And when someone else is murdered in exactly the same way as the first person, Will and Lydia are more determined to find the killer !!

Readers will be drawn into the story immediately !! Readers will love that Will and Lydia are traveling to Boston allowing us to get to know Lydia's family and the secrets that have kept her away for all those years. There will be members of the family you will fall in love with instantly and there will be some you will hate as soon as you meet them....but you will enjoy the time that you spend in Boston and will be just as glad as Will is when they leave.

127 reviews6 followers
May 5, 2022
This is the 11th book in the series and though I haven’t read any of the others (but I will be) I was totally captivated within the early 19th century time period that this book takes place in. The author wrote this so well, it was almost like experiencing time travel from the Shaker homestead of Maine to the aristocratic lifestyle in Boston. You get a real taste of Boston during slavery. Though the plot is about finding the murderer of a slave, and then Lydia’s uncle Julian. For me, the history of that period sucked me right in and brought the book to life! This book is very well written, with fiction and no fluff, but also many facts about people and places. Critical and logical thinking is well played when trying to find the murderer as there were no investigative techniques like we have today. So many questions….What is the father hiding? Why does he not want the murder investigated? Could it have been the brother or maybe the sister who did not want to enter into a loveless marriage? The stepmother … so many scenarios she could be the killer? I loved this book and would definitely recommend to others. And as a plus, the author’s notes in the back, detail actual people and places of importance to Boston. I did not know until I started to read this book that the author was a local librarian to where I live.

Many thanks to #partnersincrimevbt and the author, #eleanorkuhns for an ARC copy of this historical crime fiction. I have read and reviewed voluntarily, opinions expressed here are unbiased and entirely my own.
Profile Image for Cathie.
241 reviews
May 4, 2022
This is the 11th book in the series. This time, Will and Lydia are in Boston because Lydia’s father is accused of murder. Lydia is estranged from her family, except her half-sister Cordelia. When they arrive in Boston, with their daughter Jerusha along so she can look at a school in Boston, they are met with guarded hostility. Lydia’s father is quite wealthy and has been able to evade charges; however, the scandal has wiped away their social life and Cordelia is afraid she will not be able to get married. Both Lydia’s father and her stepmother ask that they not investigate the murder, but they do so anyway.
Will is completely out of his element in Boston as he is used to a more rural life. There is a lot of familial tension which leads to many potential suspects. The author has a neat writing style, and you are able to be transported back to the 1800s whether it’s in Maine (where the other books in the series take place) or in Boston (for this one). It is a very well-written and entertaining historical fiction mystery. As I have said with the other books in the series, each book can be read as a stand-alone – you get just enough background information – but it is better to read the series in its entirety.
Profile Image for Jean-Luc.
360 reviews8 followers
November 6, 2022
A dark and complex tale of family secrets, long standing grudges and murder set in Boston at the beginning of the 1800's

As Will Rees and is wife Lydia are coming to the rescue of her father who stands accused of murdering one of his employees, her family is starting to fall apart at the seams. Long buried secrets and the family unwillingness to face its murky past when it comes to slavery, threaten to bring matters to a boiling point...
But when other members of the family are murdered, events start to take a more sinister path : is the family really falling apart or is it being specifically targeted for different reasons?

This is the 11th title in a series that keeps getting better and better.
The plot is tightly woven with lots twists and turns, the cast is exquisitely drawn and the New England atmosphere is vividly rendered. It can be read as a standalone but some familiarity with other titles in this marvellous series could come really handy.

A captivating historical murder mystery that really deserves to be enjoyed without any moderation whatsoever

Many thanks to Severn House and Netgalley for this terrific ARC
353 reviews2 followers
January 4, 2022
Murder, Sweet Murder is the eleventh book in the William Rees series. Thomas Jefferson is about to take the presidency. William is heading to Boston with his wife, ex-Shaker Lydia, adopted teenaged daughter Jerusha and baby Sharon to respond to a letter from Lydia's half sister, Cordy. Their extremely unlikeable father was widely suspected of committing a murder and somehow got the investigation shut down. But the scandal has torpedoed their social life and Cordy is afraid she'll never find a husband. William and Lydia, against her father's express wishes, begin to investigate, starting with her father's estranged brother, Julian and her brother James, who is also estranged. Lydia herself left seven years ago. Cordy's parents are encouraging her father's much older and very unlikeable business associate as a suitor, more people die, we learn a lot about women's fashion and a bit about the slave trade and rum. All in all a very enjoyable book and I will go back to pick up this series.
Profile Image for Sue Wallace .
5,901 reviews62 followers
February 1, 2022
Murder sweet murder by Eleanor Kuhns.
A Will Rees Mystery Book 11.
January, 1801. When Lydia's estranged father is accused of murder, Will Rees escorts her to Boston to uncover the truth. Marcus Farrell is believed to have murdered one of his workers, a boy from Jamaica where he owns a plantation. Marcus swears he's innocent. However, a scandal has been aroused by his refusal to answer questions and accusations he bribed officials. As Will and Lydia investigate, Marcus's brother, Julian, is shot and killed. This time, all fingers point towards James Morris, Lydia's brother. Is someone targeting the family? Were the family quarreling over the family businesses and someone lashed out? What's Marcus hiding and why won't he accept help? With the Farrell family falling apart and their reputation in tatters, Will and Lydia must solve the murders soon. But will they succeed before the murderer strikes again?
Slow but readable. OK story and characters. Not my usual read. But gave it a go. 3*.
Profile Image for Vanessa Lintz.
30 reviews
March 16, 2022
“Murder, Sweet Murder” is a solid Will (and Lydia) Rees mystery. They take their detective work on the road at Lydia’s sister’s request to determine whether Lydia’s estranged father is indeed guilty of murder as is rumored. Their investigation is met with roadblocks and outright malice from other family members and associates, especially the accused. Will and Lydia persevere in spite of the the difficulties in navigating the familial relationships and rules of polite society that Lydia had long left behind and Will had known little about prior to their arrival in Boston.

I appreciate Eleanor Kuhn’s detailed writing style and how neatly she is able to shift from the different environments in which her stories take place. Her characters are full, unique people and while the mysteries usually involve a murder the stories vary so that the series stays fresh. Looking forward to seeing where Will and Lydia are needed next!
9,645 reviews86 followers
January 14, 2022
It's 1801. Will and Lydia are living peacefully and happily in Maine when a letter arrives from Lydia's half sister Cordy who is distressed because their father has been accused of murder. Well, she's mostly distressed because this has ruined her chances at finding a good wealthy husband. Will and Lydia, despite Lydia's great distaste for her estranged father pack up their daughters and head to Boston, where the situation quickly becomes murkier as there are additional murders. There's a certain irony in Will, who has spent so much time helping enslaved people escape to safety, is investigating to prove the innocence of a man who has made his money off plantations. I've enjoyed this series for the atmospherics and the characters but the mysteries are pretty good too. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC. For fans of historical mysteries- and it will be fine as a standalone.
Profile Image for Susan.
5,474 reviews50 followers
November 30, 2021
January 1801. Lydia Rees has received a letter from her half-sister, Cordelia, asking them to come to Boston to stay with her estranged family, as their father has been associated with a murder, and the resulting sigma has affected badly their social position. She wants Lydia and Will to investigate. But what could be the motive for the murders and by whom.
A well-written and entertaining historical mystery. With its varied and likeable characters though not so much the Farrell family. Another good addition to this series, which can easily be read as a standalone story.
An ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
2,629 reviews10 followers
April 13, 2022
When Lydia's young half-sister, Cordelia, writes and asks for help clearing their father from suspicion of murder, Lydia insists that she and Will should go to Boston, despite her being estranged from her father. However, Marcus Farrell, Lydia's father, seems convinced that the rumors will die down, once a new scandal arises. But Will and Lydia investigate anyway. And then another murder occurs, causing them to redouble their efforts. Although the culprit is not obvious, I did have my suspicions.
235 reviews
May 4, 2022
Will and Lydia Rees find themselves in Boston trying to prove her father innocent of murder. But is he?

Murders keep happening but there’s too many suspects who want these people dead.

This book kept me guessing until the surprise ending. Just like it kept Will and Lydia guessing until the end.

I have really enjoyed all the Will Rees Mysteries that I have had the pleasure to read. You can check them out here and here.

Thank you, Ms Kuhns. I’m looking forward to more Will and Lydia Rees adventures.

***Book received without charge from PICT.***
153 reviews
March 20, 2022
So much fun to enter a new world for Will and Lydia. No farming but an elegant life with a peek at the type of life Lydia left behind. A quick read with a turning plot. I see that the author mentioned that it is us, the readers who wanted more from these characters and that is why she wrote this next novel. I do hope that there is another, I am curious as to what Jerusha decides for her schooling.
Profile Image for Annarella.
11k reviews106 followers
February 25, 2022
Another gripping and entertaining historical mystery set in XIX century USA. I loved how the author develops the historical background and how it is vivid.
The mystery is solid, I was glad to catch up with the characters and they are as well developed as usual.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine
June 21, 2022
I really enjoyed this book! I had not read any of the other books in the series and felt in the beginning like I missed out of some of the character development because of that, but the author does help you catch up a bit. This story had me going, and I couldn’t wait to keep reading in order to figure out who did it. Great book, can’t wait to go back and read the others in this series now!
Profile Image for Pat Roberts.
376 reviews2 followers
November 20, 2022
Listening to this was just painful. The narrator created voices that were beyond laughable, making the entire story a joke. But then I thought the book was as shallow as a book could be anyway. I won’t anything by this author again.
Profile Image for Carol A Gosselin.
6 reviews2 followers
April 4, 2022
I’ve read all of the books in this series. The characters have roots in Maine during the 1800’s. A weaver and his wife, who has ties to a local Shaker community, work together to solve local murders. Each book hides the identity of the murder to the final pages. I cannot wait to read future books in the series
945 reviews
April 24, 2022
The 11th in one of my favorite historical mystery series, this book finds weaver and part time farmer, Will Rees, and wife, Lydia, in 1801 Boston, investigating a murder involving Lydia’s family. The change of location from Maine to Boston was interesting, the history and mystery were excellent, and learning about Lydia’s pre-Shaker life added depth to her character.
Displaying 1 - 21 of 21 reviews

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