Rated Reads

The Pigeon Pie Mystery

by Julia Stuart

Rated: Mild

Princess Alexandrina, called Mink by those close to her, has just lost her father, the Maharaja, who died in a scandalous manner. Even worse than now being the only surviving member of her immediate family is that her fabulous wealth is gone: her father gambled and lived far too lavishly. So she must move into a grace-and-favor residence at the Hampton Court Palace, which is said to be filled with ghosts. She takes with her her sole remaining maid, Pooki, who is not exactly the quiet, deferent servant most of the higher classes expect. But she’s like family.

Not long after they arrive at the palace, Mink and Pooki are invited to a picnic in the gardens, for which Pooki makes some pigeon pies. Unfortunately, soon after eating the pie specially made for him, the unpleasant General Bagshot dies, and suspicion turns to Pooki. Not about to let anything happen to her beloved Pooki, Mink takes it on herself to do some sleuthing to find out who really did poison the general.

Eventually the mystery is solved, but the book is just as much or more about the lives of the various interesting people who live in and around the palace. The Pigeon Pie Mystery is really an entertaining period piece (it’s set in 1898) about those of rank who no longer have much wealth and those who serve them. It’s also clear Stuart did her research about the time period and place, and it’s interesting to learn the tidbits she includes in the story while we follow along the trail of a murderer with our strong, determined heroine.

Rated: Mild, for a couple of uses of mild language and some mild sexual references. The story refers to several salacious events, but there are very few details.

— Reviewed by Cathy Carmode Lim

Cathy Carmode Lim has been reviewing books for newspapers for more than 20 years, two of which she was a book page editor. She founded Rated Reads in January 2008.

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  • The Pigeon Pie Mystery
  • by Julia Stuart
  • Rated: Mild
  • Genre: Fiction
  • Reviewer: