"The Case of the Bereaved Butler" By Cathy Ace: Review/Giveaway

Review by Cynthia Chow

 Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of the book and a link to purchase it.

Were Henry Devereaux Twyst in the field of academics, he would be the epitome of the classic absentminded professor. Instead, he is more of an absentminded duke (the 18th Duke of Chellingworth, to be accurate), completely oblivious to many of the social interactions around him as he focuses his intellect on the particular studies that obsess him. That explains why Henry notices that his butler Edward is failing to conduct his usual perfection-level attention to detail duties, but fails to remember being told by his wife that Edward’s brother died just two weeks ago. Edward’s sister-in-law believes that her late husband was too meticulous about his shellfish allergy to have accidentally ingested it, which is how the WISE Enquiries Agency becomes enlisted to investigate his death. Henry’s mother Althea has become something of a member herself of the detective agency, encouraging the other four Welsh, Irish, Scottish, and English women in their professional endeavors. They are actually quite busy with other cases, their latest being tracking down the family who took in Walter Gulliver just after World War II.

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Image Source Four Tails Publishing

This ninth in the series continues to explore the relationships and lives of the four women, each of whom must deal with the complications involved in their personal lives. The focus falls mostly on Annie Parker and Christine Wilson-Smythe, both of whom are attempting to recover from personal traumas. Annie most recently was nearly killed in an act of violence during an investigation, while Christine is retreating into alcohol and depression as she avoids questioning her relationship with her fiancĂ© Alexander Bright. The wealthy former criminal has been doing his best to escape his past and pursue more legitimate business outlets, but Christine wonders if his dangerous status was what drew them together in the first place. She also questions how her coworker Carol is able to balance raising a newborn with her investigative duties, and whether it’s possible to maintain a family with an exciting, adventurous lifestyle. 

The writing continues to be stellar as it depicts the scenic locations of Anwen-by-Wye, a village where everyone knows everyone else and are often possibly related as well. Annie is usually the one to push legal boundaries in her investigations, while Mavis MacDonald and Carol attempt to keep them on the straight and narrow. The coalescing investigations come to unexpected and very satisfying conclusions, proving just how far the women have come with their skills and detecting abilities. 

Annie has of course named the multiple cases, from the titular Case of the Bereaved Butler, to the Case of the Exceptional Evacuee, and the more personal Case of the Disappearing Decorator Supplies that are disrupting Annie’s home renovations. The humor and banter between the women is teasing without being hurtful, as their honesty comes from their friendships having involved into a sisterhood. This entertaining new mystery continues to maintain as much charm and fun as its debut, especially now that the novels have become as much a private detective series as a cozy one. Dynamic dialogue, compelling characters, and the English setting make this another enjoyable read from a prolific and reliable author.

To enter to win a signed copy of The Case of the Bereaved Butler, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line "butler,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen April 27, 2024. US and Canada residents only and you must be 18 or older to enter. If entering via email please include your mailing address in case you win. If entering via comment please include your email address so we can contact you. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section in Kings River Life and in our mystery category here on KRL News & Reviews. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. And check out our new mystery podcast which features mystery short stories and first chapters read by local actors! A new episode went up last week.

You can click here to purchase this book.
Cynthia Chow is the branch manager of Kaneohe Public Library on the island of Oahu. She balances a librarian lifestyle of cardigans and hair buns with a passion for motorcycle riding and regrettable tattoos (sorry, Mom).
 Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. Mary Holshouser
    I think this is a great series. Can't wait
    to read the newest installment. thanks

  2. Sounds interesting! Count me in!

  3. I would be fun to read "The Case of the Bereaved Butler" by Cathy Ace!

    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

  4. Sounds right up my street!

  5. New author for me! tWarner419@aol.com

  6. We have a winner!
    Lorie Ham


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