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Mrs. Jeffries #1

The Inspector and Mrs. Jeffries

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As housekeeper to Scotland Yard Inspector Witherspoon, Mrs Jeffries supervises informal investigators: coachman Smythe, maid Betsy, footman Wiggins, arthritic cook Mrs Goodge and more. Rich widow Luty Bell Crookshank, experienced nurse, knows stingy incompetent blackmailer Dr Slocum did not succumb to mushroom soup at neighborhood luncheon.
(Same isbns for pb 184 pg)

181 pages, Hardcover

First published February 1, 1993

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About the author

Emily Brightwell

53 books441 followers
Cheryl Lanham was born on 11 October 1948 in the Appalachian mountains of West Virginia, USA. Her family moved to Southern California in 1959 and she grew up in Pasadena. After graduating from California State University, she decided to work her way around the world and took off for England. She didn’t get much further because she met Richard James Arguile, the Englishman who became her husband, got married on May 1976, and had two children, Matthew and Amanda. While working in international shipping, she decided to pursue her dream and become a writer – which, of course, is the best job ever. She has written romance novels as Sarah Temple, and Young Adult novels as Cheryl Lanham. As Emily Brightwell, she is the author of the “Mrs. Jeffries” mysteries.

Cheryl Lanham Arguile returned to California, where she lives with her husband and a cranky old cat named Kiwi.

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5 stars
1,100 (22%)
4 stars
1,612 (32%)
3 stars
1,663 (34%)
2 stars
394 (8%)
1 star
118 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 503 reviews
Profile Image for Kristi.
475 reviews17 followers
July 27, 2008
This was an interesting premise for a period cozy. Mrs. Jeffries is the housemaid for Scotland Yard Inspector Witherspoon. She and the rest of her crew solve one of the Inspector's cases for him without his knowing.

While credited as the first in the series I kept feeling as though I had missed something from a previous book. In some ways this is a credit to the author that she really developed her characters and their relations to each other. But at the same time I kept questioning whether this was really the first book.

While I wasn't totally sucked into this first installment in the series I think I shall give a few more a chance before ruling this series one to continue reading.
January 15, 2018
What a delightful story this was, and I actually got a book #1. Emily Brightwell, author, presents her first novel in a most delightful mystery series set in Victorian England, featuring one of the most charming characters to ever crack a case. Mrs. Jeffries is so likable, and those with her really like to work with her. She is a terrific leader.

Inspector Witherspoon is a kind man, shy with women, and good to his servants. When he inherited a house and fortune from his aunt, he kept on the staff even when he didn't need to and thus earned their loyalty. His housekeeper is Mrs. Jeffries, a fifty-something widow of a copper who has a quick intelligent mind, a passion for solving mysteries and a need to mother everyone.

Dr. Slocum is found slumped over his lunch, obviously murdered. An unlikable man while alive, the Inspector works to solve the case aided by his Constable and criticized by another inspector. Subtly Mrs. Jeffries asks the right questions, deploys the rest of the staff to seek out more clues, and eventually solves the case.

Good mystery and a nice cast of characters. Very enjoyable book. I hear that there are 36 books in her series. I think that will be a fun series to read. Recommend
Profile Image for Chris.
718 reviews90 followers
September 13, 2021
A very enjoyable cozy mystery, although the premise of such a clueless Scotland Yard Inspector whose housekeeper- Mrs. Jeffries is the brains behind solving the mysteries is a little hard to swallow. Setting that aside, I enjoyed the story and the characters in Inspector Witherspoon's home. It was fun and interesting. I look forward to reading the next in the series.
Profile Image for Stacey.
176 reviews14 followers
November 20, 2022
I'm so happy to be done with this book! After receiving a copy from a friend urging me to read this novel, I felt I had to finish it for their sake. If it was up to me, I would have abandoned it after the first chapter.

I really can see a ladies church group using this as a book club read. It has a lot of "golly geez" type phrases throughout the book.

This is the first book in a series of Inspector and Mrs. Jeffries mysteries. All of the books feature different crimes that need to be solved, but instead of Inspector Witherspoon figuring out who-dun-it, his housekeeper (Mrs. Jeffries) and his staff solve the crimes for him, while he takes the credit in the end.

I'm sure there's an audience for these books as there are so many installments, but this genre is not for me.
Profile Image for Moonkiszt.
1,929 reviews205 followers
April 14, 2020
I love a good series. . . .and have to read #1 to launch into the rest. My read of this one, unfortunately, resulted in a delete of the rest of the series off my TBR list.

Mrs. Jeffries is too trite for me - she is the smart one, manipulates the Inspector into justifying her detective work (along with other household staff members), while it claims it for his own, and she's ok with that. Good grief. Maybe that straightens out as the series goes on, but it only stuck in my craw. It's like she's working with a very dull Man-Sized-Toddler.

Not reading further.
Profile Image for Fiona MacDonald.
674 reviews166 followers
February 6, 2017
Amusing and highly enjoyable. Very well written, and a better quality of story than the last 'Mrs Jeffries' book I read! These are really worth reading, they are perfect 'cosy mysteries' to curl up with by the fire.
Profile Image for Gary Sundell.
327 reviews51 followers
August 6, 2020
Great start to a new to me series. Looking forward to reading more in this series.
Profile Image for Book Concierge.
2,709 reviews325 followers
September 14, 2015

In Victorian London, Mrs Hepzibah Jeffries is the housekeeper for Inspector Witherspoon … and his secret weapon. He may have the Scotland Yard credentials, but she, and the other household staff, keep the Inspector on his toes and subtly provide the brains behind the man’s success. When Dr Bartholomew Slocum is found dead in his home, Inspector Witherspoon – and Mrs Jeffries – begins to investigate an apparent murder.

I like cozy mysteries … they are my “comfort food” of reading. This is a decent example, though I found the Inspector a bit TOO clueless and bumbling. Still it’s a decent opening gambit in a series that has had much success over the years. Brightwell gives us plenty of clues and red herrings; I did not figure it out much ahead of the Inspector. I previously read another in this series and enjoyed it, which led me to begin with the first book in the series.

Not great literature, but a fairly satisfying cozy.
Profile Image for Ivonne Rovira.
1,840 reviews188 followers
June 20, 2018
Imagine that the great Sherlock Holmes were a bumbling buffoon — an investigator so incompetent that, despite 20 years’ experience, he were incapable of conducting even the simplest interrogation of witnesses and needs reminding to search the murder scene. What you’d have is Inspector Gerald Witherspoon.

Now imagine that Holmes’ housekeeper Mrs. Hudson were the widow of a distinguished policeman and, having a quick mind, had absorbed the minutia of detective work and could advise her boss. You would have Witherspoon’s housekeeper, the intrepid Mrs. Jeffries.

Now this upside-down scenario could have worked as a sly send-up of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s master work, but author Emily Brightwell tries to play it straight, and the novel just becomes silly and predictable.

Profile Image for Bookish Ally.
482 reviews41 followers
August 24, 2019
Interesting and comic characters (most likable) solve a crime for the rather dim inspector they work for, headed up by the efforts of his housekeeper, Mrs. Jeffries. A bit slapdash for my taste, but others wanting a light cozy read may enjoy it as a quick afternoon diversion. I kept putting it down as it just couldn’t hold my interest (and read turn of the screw during my break) but decided that as I read for pleasure, I was not going to finish it.
Profile Image for Amy.
2,542 reviews382 followers
January 8, 2021
Clever premise: bumbling inspector solves crimes through the gentle prodding and assistance of his housekeeper. Unfortunately, the execution was lacking.
The cover of my book informs me this is a "Victorian" mystery. But you'd never guess it based strictly on the storyline. A few details show basic research (the type of servants the inspector would employ, 'bombazine' dresses, etc.) but for the most part the story could be set at any point stretching from the 1800 to 1900s. It is just entirely lacking in personality and character.
Unfortunately, the same thing can be said of the characters. They're sketches of supporting cast. With the exception (maybe) of Mrs. Jeffries herself, everyone can be summed up in one or two adjectives: 'alcoholic,' 'susceptible to pretty girls,' 'an idiot.'
Most damning of all, when the story does give personality to Mrs. Jeffries, it does so by giving her a progressive, modern attitude towards everything. She chides the other servants for referring to colonial natives as as 'savages.' Never "inquires" into what the staff do on their day off. Reads Locke for fun. Etc.
She actually reminded me of Marion Chesney's Traveling Matchmaker. But somehow less endearing because she is so insufferably...modern in her views towards everything.
I'll do some snooping to see if reviewers like later books in the series but unless the books have a very different tone change, I don't see this winning me over.
Profile Image for Janice Boychuk.
206 reviews14 followers
January 17, 2020
After reading a number of more "serious/heavy topics" books, I really needed this. And, oh my gosh, I laughed so many times!! No spoiler, but there is one "scene" where the household is spying on a suspect, and it was like a Laurel and Hardy slapstick episode... you just have to read it to appreciate the humorous tidbits!

But first, let me gush about the narrator, Lindy Nettleton. She is a great example of how a narrator can take a book up a notch! She creates awesome and unique voices for each character, and infuses so much character and enthusiasm in to the narrative. She makes you feel like you're in the story; like a silent invisible person following everyone along, piecing the puzzle together with them as they pick up clues.

Some reviews think Inspector Witherspoon is a dolt, but whatever, that's all part of what makes this book, and him, so sweet and loveable. It takes a village, right? Quick-witted Mrs. Jeffries (housekeeper), intelligent Smythe (coachman), excitable and fun Betsy (maid), young Wiggins (footman) and Mrs. Goodge (cook) is that village. And what an awesome team they make! His household staff, overseen by the maternal housekeeper Mrs. Jeffries, is fiercely loyal to the Inspector. When he inherited the house and a fortune from his aunt, he kept the staff on even though he didn't need to.

The whodunnit mystery they are trying to solve revolves around the death of Dr Bartholomew Slocum. How did he die, and who did it? Each book will be like a great little game of Clue , with lots of suspects, clues, twists and turns.

I'm not really sure what "Victorian England mysteries" means, but I'm hooked! There are 38 books in the series, 14 of them narrated by Lindy Nettleton. As a constant audiobook listener, I can't say enough about the importance of consistent narrators for a book series . It allows the listener to truly connect and get familiar with the characters.
January 12, 2020
I think 3 stars is more than generous for my temporary review. I found The Inspector and Mrs. Jeffries cute, but thought it might appeal more to 3rd-5th graders (actually, I was thinking of my ten-year-old granddaughter). I notice, however, that no one else appears to think so, and I guess that I might have missed some colorful language or descriptions. I clearly did not do the book justice as I scurried around the kitchen preparing Friday night dinner and going about the business of tidying up around the house while listening to Hoopla drone on in the background. Maybe I should have sat myself down and relaxed while I listened, instead of using my superpowers to put the house in order, cook, and field calls from clients while listening to a book before our weekly family dinner. Anyway, by 9 PM on Friday (and occasionally on other days of the week) the house looks like it’s been hit by a scud missile while the kids (my kids) sit casually schmoozing at the dining room table with their tea and biscuits, largely ignoring the grandkids who in the meantime are tossing game pieces around the living room, fighting with each other, ripping the limbs off of Raggedy Ann and Andy, and/or tearing out each other’s hair (remind me why I built that 60 meter family room in the basement with a giant screen and a beehive full of games and toys?).

So, I guess I must of have missed something and I will reserve my final judgement for when I listen to book two of the series, quietly and at my leisure (hah!) … sometime in in the middle of the week.
Profile Image for An EyeYii.
3,423 reviews59 followers
February 14, 2014
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... re-read
Scotland Yard's mild Gerald Witherspoon, recently promoted from the records division, inherited his aunt Euphemia's household and rescued other employees from destitution. Grateful for their light duties and generous employer, housekeeper Hepzibah, widow of country copper, supervises investigators: kind burly coachman Smythe, abandoned housemaid Betsy, slow of wits but quick to spot a pretty face footman Wiggins, and elsewhere-unemployable arthritic cook Mrs Goodge, who never leaves the kitchen, but invites sources, a disreputable assortment of Victorian London, to share their bounty.

Wealthy elderly American Mrs Luty Bell Crookshank (brings case for Epilogue and sequel) announced the presence of poisonous mushrooms in the street's communal garden to her garden party guests, but only blackmailer Dr Bartholomew Slocum expires with one in his lunch soup. Nobody liked the stingy incompetent, neither servants, neighbors, nor patients drugged into signing indiscreet confessions. Cook Effie Beals did not leave her former employer the Duke willingly. Joshua, soon to be disinherited nephew, was stealing small household bric-a-brac.

Married Dr Sebastian Hightower, canoodling lovely widowed Catherine Leslie, found the contorted body within minutes of his noon death, but Luty Bell has nursed cases, they take days. Colonel Seaward, only survivor and hero from African disaster, and enthusiastic naturalist, is up for a colonial ambassador appointment by the Queen. Close physical examination of the premises elicits minute evidence Mrs Jeffries draws to the Inspector's attention, and she patiently points his direction effectively.

p73 "plump material figure" for maternal?
Profile Image for Erin *Proud Book Hoarder*.
2,378 reviews1,051 followers
January 27, 2016
Cozy mysteries can be such fun, and this one especially looked so by the blurb and cover – a maid and other household help assist an investigator without his knowledge to solve crimes. It’s set in Victorian times with afternoon teas, proper society regulations on etiquette, and the infamous Scotland Yard. When looking at this series, I’m surprised to find there is over thirty books in it. Wow. I plan to get more of the series but not sure I’ll ever be able to get and read all of them.

The book starts out as suggested: cute, quirky, and intriguing. Immediately I liked Mrs. Jeffries. She’s sweet, clever, supportive. I didn’t know the other help had such a large role in solving the crimes, but delightfully they do, all bringing their individual traits to the table. The detective is subpar with his investigative technique and confidence, previously having been in the filing room for the majority of his career, but this only brings more charm to the story. The guilty party at the end doesn’t stand out much in personality; I wouldn’t have guessed them to be the killer, and motivation came toward the end anyway.

Ultimately it wasn’t a mystery easy to guess, the clues were leading on many paths and pointing fingers everywhere. Plenty of red herrings helped cloak the genuine culprit. The road to solving it wasn’t paved with anything obvious. Sometimes it’s cheating not to give enough clues for the reader to really guess, and sometimes it’s overwhelming to have so many suspects in the pot and little of them explored, but the point of this story seems to be the path to investigating and the enjoyment of observing the process with the cast and crew, not the ultimate outcome itself.

Emily Brightwell pleased me by keeping action consistent, injecting cuteness when it’s needed while holding true to the British type of mystery novel it’s intended to be. Overall this one was fun to read, light in tone and mood and outcome, being an enjoyable cute, cozy mystery that’s easy to pick up and keep reading. It doesn’t leave a lasting impression on the heart as something you can’t live without, however, so I do hope the next books in the series bring more individual stake for the detective and other main players. More excitement would flourish that way.
Profile Image for Juli.
1,844 reviews470 followers
March 23, 2016
There are a whopping 34 books in the Mrs. Jeffries Mystery series. 34! But, I can say with no reservations, that book #1 was delightful! If all of the stories in this series are such fun reads, then I can see how the stack of published Mrs. Jeffries novels has grown to 34 books!

The plot in a nutshell: Mrs. Jeffries is the housekeeper for Inspector Gerald Witherspoon. Witherspoon received a promotion after helping solve a rash of horrible murders. He used to be a records clerk for Scotland Yard, but now is an inspector who investigates and solves major crimes. Behind the scenes, Witherspoon is assisted by his staff of servants, headed by Mrs. Jeffries. The assistance with his cases is done in secret, of course, because they don't want to hurt Witherspoon's feelings. But, he can be absent minded at times and most of the time his investigations just need a nudge in the right direction. While he isn't the best investigator, Witherspoon is a very kind and generous employer. So his servants don't mind sneaking about to help him solve complicated cases. In the end, he believes he solved the cases himself, and his staff knows that they helped him maintain his reputation as one of the greatest investigators at Scotland Yard.

This book was a short, fun, read. A real Victorian cozy mystery romp. It had humor, suspense and just the right peppering of villainy. It didn't get bogged down in explaining past history of the characters, but gave enough information during progression of the plot to bring readers up to speed. That kept the pacing of the mystery going, without slowing down to explain minutiae that had nothing to do with the present story. The book is not complex, but a quick, simple afternoon read. As a cozy mystery lover, this book really hit the spot for me.

I don't know if I will be able to find the other 33 books in the series, but I'm certainly going to read a great number of them! This book was well-written and witty. Mrs. Jeffries and the other servants in the house are likable characters, and readers will find themselves loving the bumbling Witherspoon just as much as they do.

My rating: 8/10
Ages: 10+
Profile Image for Jenny.
1,603 reviews55 followers
February 13, 2019
The Inspector and Mrs Jeffries is a book one of Mrs Jeffries series by Emily Brightwell. Inspector Gerald Witherspoon caught a case of the death of Dr Bartholomew Slocum at his surgery. At first, Inspector Gerald Witherspoon did not think it was murder until they found out that someone gave the doctor a deadly dose of poison. On realising it was murder Inspector Gerald Witherspoon started an investigation to find the killer with the help of his housekeeper Mrs Jeffries. The readers of The Inspector and Mrs Jeffries with continues to follow Inspector and Mrs Jeffries to see who is guilty.

The Inspector and Mrs Jeffries is the first book I read of Emily Brightwell, and I enjoy it. I know by the ratings other readers did enjoy this book or the characters. However, I did like reading this book it is a sweet cozy mystery that allows me to forget about the problems I was having and have a laugh with the eccentrics and lovable characters of this book. I like Emily Brightwell portrayal of her characters and the way they intertwine with each other throughout the book.

The readers of Inspector and Mrs Jeffries will see how people live in Victorian times in London. Also,

I recommend this book.
Profile Image for MrsJoseph *grouchy*.
1,011 reviews83 followers
November 9, 2018
More like 2.5 stars

It's both cute and irritating at the same time. Mrs. Jeffries and crew are adorable.

The Inspector appears to be a very kind man but a greater dunce in law enforcement has not been located. He simply does not feel comfortable and is not knowledgeable about his job. This is beyond not being swift on the uptake - he is incompetent and ignorant. Just not willfully so, it's more...Stupidly so.

The fact that Mrs. Jeffries seriously has to lead him around for him to notice anything was frustrating. I was expecting the Inspector and Mrs. Jeffries to be a team...not that he would be a complete idiot who was being gently (and unknowingly) lead around and clues placed into his stupid little hands.

The writing is fine. The plotline was very Holmes-esque...which makes me interested in book 2. IDK. If the Inspector can even figure out he's an idiot...that would make it better.
Profile Image for Doward Wilson.
752 reviews12 followers
March 25, 2016
A delightful and comforting adventure in Victorian England. Meet Mrs. Jeffries and the rest of the household staff of Inspector Witherspoon of Scotland Yard. Without him being aware of it, they join together to help him solve his murder cases. The murder of Dr. Slocum pits Mrs. Jeffries the housekeeper, Mrs. Goodge the cook, Betsy the housemaid, Wiggins the footman and Symthe the coachman against a deadly adversary. This intriguing story involves poison, illicit affairs, disinheritance and secrets from the past. While investigating Mrs. Jeffries makes a new friend, Luty Belle Crookshank, an eccentric, older and very wealthy American widow. I love this book and am looking forward to reading all the books in the series. An amazingly entertaining journey into an intriguing era of history.
Profile Image for Badseedgirl.
1,228 reviews57 followers
December 21, 2022
I very much enjoy cozy mysteries, but I am really, really not sure about this series. There are like 34 books in the series, so someone must like this series, but.....

I found the "downstairs" Characters, Mrs, Jeffries, Betsy, Smythe, Wiggins, but I found Inspector Witherspoon to be simply tiresome. He appears so inept that I started to wonder how he was able to dress himself each morning.

I am planning to read the next book in the series to give it another chance, but only one. There are so many other cozy books for me to read.
Profile Image for Judy.
1,573 reviews26 followers
February 28, 2019
Set in Victorian England, Mrs. Jeffries has missed her calling. She love detecting and wants to see her employer, Scotland Yard Inspector Witherspoon, succeed. While Witherspoon is no dummy, he just doesn’t have much gusto for his job. It’s a good story, and there are quite a number of the series in audio, so I will likely read to others at one point.
Profile Image for Suranjana.
32 reviews11 followers
October 23, 2017
4 and a half stars from me.

The timid inspector Witherspoon knows he is in dire need of help when Dr. Bartholomew Slocum gets murdered at his surgery. He hasn't got a clue how to proceed. Though someone is thrilled at the misery of the good inspector.
"Poor Inspector Witherspoon had been given another baffling case. Mrs. Jeffries’s spirits soared."
The housekeeper had helped her employer in a previous case but somehow she knows this one is gonna be tougher. But Mrs Jeffries is not afraid to tread murky waters because she has her secret weapons - the daredevil coachman Smythe, the curious maid Betsy, the informant (read gossipy) cook Mrs Goodge and the young footman Wiggins. Adding her own mystery solving skills to their help, Mrs Jeffries reveals the true character of the dead doctor. Turns out he was a ripe candidate for murder - a rather shady character, blackmailer and all that. The inspector is convinced that the cook of Dr. Slocum is the murderer whereas Mrs Jeffries knows the poor woman is innocent. Dr. Slocum's good neighbours belong to the category of possible murderers too. Now, she has got to solve this case without making the Inspector aware of his shortcomings as a detective.

This book has given me a new appreciation of the word "manipulation". Mrs. Jeffries is a master in the *subtle* art of manipulation (the emphasis is on subtle). Besides being the housekeeper to Inspector Witherspoon Mrs Jeffries has another duty - solving the cases of the inspector and nudging him in the right direction so that he thinks he had solved the case all by himself. She leads the inspector all along to the major clues and suggests the strategies of investigation. But she pretends the inspector has been the one who came up with every idea. Talk about spoon feeding!

Mrs Jeffries is an unusual character for Victorian housekeeper. She has an open, astute mind, she likes Walt Whitman's poems, she doesn't think the people of colour are heathen. She is essentially a mother hen tending to Inspector Witherspoon who gets squeamish around corpses (No wonder he can't solve crimes! 🙄). She is firm but loving with younger servants and caring to the older ones. She is a good thinker and analyst. All in all she makes a great detective. Alas we are in Victorian period. Women are not capable for that sort of work or any good work for that matter. The story has subversive nuances and sometimes I felt the narrator speaks in a sneaky satiric tone.
I have a feeling I will enjoy the other mysteries of the series. I have always liked unusual women characters in historical fiction. I would recommend this book to cozy mystery lovers and historical fiction readers. 🙂

P.S. Please forgive my grammatical errors and typos. 😁
May 26, 2021
Likeable characters make an important difference in loving stories. We pick books for subjects, scenery, and adventures that are appealing to us but put personages we respect in any setting and we will root for them. As long as an author’s style does not tread on any bugaboos to irritate the experience; being clear to get on board with characters works winsomely. As regards maturity, I seldom like period pieces or “cozy” sanitization. “Standard mystery” is my niche: serious without the horror of “thrillers”. I accumulated many Emily Brightwell paperbacks, finally ordering “The Inspector And Mrs. Jeffries” 1993, to try it out.

It had the potential for frivolity and is historical fiction but I was pleasantly surprised. I gave it a modest three stars but am keen to revisit this cast who do intrigue me, by buying the second novel. I am a physical reader who savours the treasure of owning what I like, therefore finding sales is the way we build our home reading material. It is fun when story volumes gradually match the series pieces I have. Then I can read them!

This premise is unique, with one similarity to a TV show I loved as a child, “Remington Steele”. Pierce Brosnan’s titular character was talented but initially, P.I. Laura Holt did the work using that name. Hepzibah Jeffries is a house manager and discreet sleuth, for a Scotland Yard archivist. Gerald Witherspoon was mistakenly credited for solving a case and ill prepared for promotion to a detective.

I worried that Gerald would be bumbling but he inherited his wealth and is gentle to his household. They are as new to one another as they are to readers. Their all around respect exudes lovely warmth. Emily’s proliferation attests to growth to look forward to throughout decades of volumes.
Profile Image for Kristen.
2,145 reviews49 followers
April 29, 2016
No. Just no! This was such a disappointment.

I like to think I'm pretty willing to suspend disbelief and give something different a fair try, but the Inspector in this book was such a complete clueless twit that it was simply impossible to believe that he could POSSIBLY have gone from the records room at Scotland Yard to being an Inspector.

Even with the premise that Mrs. Jeffries is the brains behind the Inspector and leads him to what needs to be done to solve the cases, it just beggared belief that someone who doesn't even know what to do at a crime scene, or have the first clue what questions to even ask could pull off his job. Not to mention how unlikely it would be that the constables or other people involved in his work could possibly have any respect for him or take instructions from him.

The whole thing was just so ridiculous I couldn't make it past the first 40 pages. If my eyes rolled any more I was afraid they might fall out of my head, so this one just had to go back to the library.
Profile Image for OjoAusana.
2,126 reviews
October 25, 2019
Going to give this a 3 bc i dont really feel like this was the inspector and mrs jefferies but the other way round ... Tho im not saying the inspector was completely incompetent but not as much as I thought going into the book. Not a bad cozy murder but would give 3.5 stars.
Profile Image for Amy.
170 reviews13 followers
March 7, 2022
This was a nice beginning to a very long-running series! I enjoyed Mrs Jeffries and the rest of the servants. The time setting was fun, too. I'm looking forward to the rest of the series - not sure I'll ever get caught up, but this promises to be a great cozy series!
Profile Image for Elizabeth .
1,012 reviews
December 21, 2019
Second reading December 16-December 20, 2019

Having just read two of the latest mysteries in this series, I wanted to reread this first book as I launch into reading this series in order. Wow, the characters have changed- evolved- just like regular human beings haha! I love this series. I remember thinking the characters had changed a bit when I was reading the later books but rereading this first one, it's quite clear.

I had no memory of Whodunnit and was quite taken into the mystery and enjoyed this second reading just as much as the first.


I am so happy to have found this new to me series. This was a great mystery and I really like Mrs. Jeffries and the other servants.

A lovely description of Mrs. Hepzibah Jeffries from Chapter 5:

"People talked to her. They told her things they'd often never revealed to another soul. A bit of interest, a kind smile and before you knew it, they were talking their heads off. With her plump, maternal figure, gray-streaked auburn hair and sympathetic brown eyes, she knew she probably reminded people of a kindly aunt or a spinster sister."
Profile Image for Nawfal.
313 reviews1 follower
August 6, 2016
A two star rating makes it seem like I disliked the book. I did not dislike it, but I don't think it is a very good novel. I do know this is the first in a long series of novels - and so I believe this is just setting up the household/relationship of the characters.

That being said, Mrs. Jeffries is a bit annoying and bossy - even if her intentions are good. The Inspector is a bit daft - even though we are warned of that. He is so daft it's a little tough to believe.

The crime is murder and neighbors and blackmail and poison are involved. There are also distant cameos by Scotland Yard people. But overall, the case is solved by Mrs. Jeffries, who nudges and shoves the Inspector through the case.

This is not to say I won't read further in the series. For what it's worth, the characters are not altogether unlikeable. And I do enjoy the Victorian setting. And it is pleasant to read a quick, light, "cozy" sort of mystery.
Profile Image for Maria.
120 reviews2 followers
August 19, 2020
What a disappointment this book was! I usually love Victorian murder mysteries but this one was not good, in fact it was fairly ridiculous. The inspector was as thick as two short planks and it was very hard to imagine that he had been promoted (reluctantly I might add) from being a simple clerk at the records office to an inspector in the crime division of Scotland Yard. The fact that everyone and their aunts could see that it was his housekeeper and the rest of the household that solved his cases and he couldn’t was just too ridiculous for me to believe! I also felt like I had missed something, like there should be a book before this one, even though this is the first one in the series and it did not make for a good reading experience! The housekeepers quite obvious modern views was also not in keeping with a book set in the Victorian times. I feel it would be a much better book if the inspector and his housekeeper was actually a team solving the crimes together.
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