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A Brazen Curiosity: A Regency Cozy

Beatrice Hyde-Clare Mysteries, Book 1
Narrated by: Jill Smith
Length: 7 hrs and 29 mins
3.8 out of 5 stars (9 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Twenty-six-year-old Beatrice Hyde-Clare is far too shy to investigate the suspicious death of a fellow guest in the Lake District. A spinster who lives on the sufferance of her relatives, she would certainly not presume to search the rooms of her host's son and his friend looking for evidence. Reared in the twin virtues of deference and docility, she would absolutely never think to question the imperious Duke of Kesgrave about anything, let alone how he chose to represent the incident to the local constable.   

And yet when she stumbles upon the bludgeoned corpse of poor Mr. Otley in the deserted library of the Skeffingtons' country house, that's exactly what she does.

©2018 Lynn Messina (P)2018 Lynn Messina

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Disappointing Narrator

I was really looking forward to this book but it has been a disappointment. Sorry to disagree with previous reviewers but the narrator is not good, or fine , or acceptable. She slides in and out of a pseudo British upper class accent to an American one in the middle of sentences and particularly at the end. Her pronunciation of some words is just plain wrong. I couldn’t listen to the entire thing as this verbal sloshing about was too distracting. And a note for the author- our heroine would not be using ‘every last cent she has with her’. She wouldn’t have any cents. She would have pennies.

1 person found this helpful

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  • D. B. Levy
  • 28-11-2018

Jane Austen meets Agatha Christie

Thoroughly enjoyed this book. Set-up is very good: lots of characters with mixed motivations kept me guessing. The narrator achieves just the right tone throughout, which really enhanced the experience. Anxiously awaiting Beatrice's next investigation!

44 people found this helpful

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  • korinka
  • 11-12-2018

It left me with a smile

This story is absolutely delightful. The mystery isn't too complicated, the regency setting is well researched (I appreciate nice historic details) and characters are distinctive and funny. I especially like how the investigation changed Beatrice. Jill Smith was a wonderful choice to read this book. Her narration is flawless. Great listen. I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review. Thank you, Lynn!

37 people found this helpful

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  • bookgirl
  • 19-03-2019

I ought to have loved this...but I didn't

At first glance, this looked like just the sort of thing I should have loved: Regency! Romance! Mystery! Yes, please! So, what went wrong? I'm sorry to say I just couldn't like the characters. The hero is the type of fellow who corrects others' conversation at the dinner table (yeah, we all love to sit near that guy. Not.), and I heard way too many times about how Beatrice was a poor orphan, dependent on the whims of her aunt and uncle. I could almost forgive her for fantasizing about throwing food at the duke during dinner--if I had to sit near him, I'd probably be thinking the same thing--but while this was mildly amusing the first time it was mentioned, the joke dragged on l-o-n-g past the point where it was funny. To make it worse, at the end of the book Beatrice finds that she no longer dreams of throwing food at him (yes, she's still harping on it), because his correcting others isn't boorish behavior at all; it's just proof of his exacting attention to detail! So it's an admirable trait, really! No, Beatrice. No, it's not. Clearly, many people enjoy this series, so I'm apparently the outlier here. Maybe it gets better as it goes along, but I doubt I'll follow the series long enough to find out. There are too many other books/series I'd rather spend my credits on. I received this audiobook for free in exchange for an honest review.

36 people found this helpful

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  • Dee
  • 07-12-2018

An absolute treasure!!!

There is one spoken line in this book that captures the tone and tenor perfectly - 'Now that's the bland, easy to overlook young lady your uncle and I know and kindly tolerate.' And it is from that world that Bea, our brazen curiosity seeker, came from. I could not wait for her to find her voice, figuratively and literally. I loved the mystery and seriously loved the interplay between Bea and the Duke. I didn't care much for the ending but since there is a book two, I can live with that. The narrator was excellent! She portrayed a timid girl, a verbose duke, and a mindless aunt with such exacting measures that I wanted to smack them all.

26 people found this helpful

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  • Katie
  • 20-12-2018

A feisty heroine hiding behind a mousy facade.....

A Brazen Curiosity is a delightful start to a new cozy mystery series featuring Beatrice Hyde-Claire and takes place in Regency England. Bea is a 26 year old spinster living at the sufferance of her aunt and uncle after her parents died when she was a child. I struggled with the beginning of the book because I thought Bea was a doormat, always allowing her family and associates to belittle her. However, I quickly realized that under this wallflower guise, Bea was a sharp witted, brave young lady willing to put her safety and reputation at stake to right what she saw as an injustice. This led to all sorts of fun and dangerous adventures with her unwilling sidekick, Duke of Kesgrave, as they try to find the solution to the mysterious death of a guest at the house party they are all attending. I was taken completely by surprise when the murder's identity and motive were revealed, and I thoroughly enjoyed watching Beatrice's sense of self worth blossom with each clue she uncovered. Jill Smith's narration is perfection. She has a lovely British accent, and she uses it with great skill to emphasize the very proper British setting and time of the story. Hopefully, the terrific combination of Messina's writing and Smith's narration will lead to many more audiobooks in this series in the near future. I received a copy of this audiobook at my request in exchange for this honest review.

16 people found this helpful

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  • Mir
  • 18-05-2019

Decent, not excellent historical mystery

This book has good ideas, and the culminating scene is excellent. Most of the characters are exaggerated caricatures, however. Throughout most of the book the author uses 10 words when 2 would do, bogging down the book and leaving me with the impression the main character is the opposite of the clever heroine she’s claiming to be. The triumphant reveal is very clever. And the author shows some deft touches in nonverbal interaction. To be fair, I had just finished listening to a Georgette Heyer mystery, and was looking for something in that caliber. This isn’t that. (I recommend Julia Quinn as a writer with similar cleverness, humor and mastery of dialogue.) But I did finish listening to it, and enjoyed chunks of it, so I gave it 3 stars.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Sandra Epperson
  • 21-12-2018

A most promising new series

This book convincingly starts with a mousy, down-trodden poor relation who happens to have a logical mind, and a great deal of undiscovered courage. A midnight chance trip to the library of the manor in which she is weekending brings new life to her stultifying existence. My wish is that Lynn Messina pen the next book quickly - very quickly.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Brooke
  • 11-05-2019

Did not Finish!!

Let me start by saying this is my first review. The narrator is fine, but the author decided to over-explain EVERYTHING. Every action, every second, and every conversation is explicitly described. Show not tell! If the main character said or did anything, the author made you listen to WHY she said it, AND why she chose not to say something differently. It was incredibly dull. The author attempts to be witty, but if you have to describe the joke or phrase every time, it ceases to be wit. Don't waste your time. Was excited about this one and sorely disappointed.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Layla
  • 14-01-2019

A mix of historical romance with a Cozy Mystery

I really loved this book. I have not read or listened to anything by this author but I did like the description of the book and wanted to give it a go. I had no expectation at all. The author really surprised me with this book. It had all the ingrediants that I like in a story. A little romance, some humour, mystery and it was set in regency England. I gave it four stars because I did feel the main character did go on with her thoughts and for me this slowed the book down and there were a few things the characters did that does not happen in Regency England but other then this it was a great listen. I loved it so much I ended up getting the next two books in the series. I would highly recommend it to those who love clean historical romance with a cozy mystery.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Susan Patterson
  • 18-12-2018

Well-written

Great insight into the class system in England. Liked the proper sexual tension in the main characters. Jill Smith gave a good narration. Great diction. I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Kate @MLHearingThings
  • 29-12-2018

A charming, witty, Regency outing

A Brazen Curiosity by Lynn Messina proved to be the perfect lightweight audiobook listening during the post-Christmas downtime before the New Year, allowing me to recuperate from the demands of the season in charming company. One moment in particular made me laugh out loud, and I look forward to Bea's future adventures - for a woman as curious as she is will surely have plenty! Though the plot feels a little like a Jane Austen themed game of Cluedo (which is impossible to avoid when one finds a corpse beside a bloodied candlestick in the library) it is highly enjoyable. As with all my favourite Regency novels, the heroine - Beatrice Hyde-Clare - is a spirited, forthright, 'blue-stocking' type, who defies the era's meek, mild, ideals and is not averse to a little sarcastic sparring with a well-placed Duke. (At times Bea reminds me of another favourite period heroine; Alexia Tarrabotti from Gail Carriger's Parasol Protectorate series.) The mystery is not a particularly demanding or tortuous one, with just enough red-herrings to keep it - and the frisson between the protagonists - simmering until the denouement. Unfortunately, narrator Jill Smith's cut-glass English accent is unconvincing. Some of it is well done but there are enough mispronunciations that - at first - it is hard to feel as though we are hearing the character's natural voice due to the repeated reminders that it is merely an actor performing a part. The distance this creates between oneself and the protagonist meant that it took quite a while longer to settle into the story than it otherwise would. Whilst a growing (rather ironic) urge to begin throwing dinner rolls each time I heard the words 'calm' or 'penchant' mangled did help me empathise with Bea's frustrations, Smith's pronunciation of Amersham was irredeemable. Using the French pronunciation for the card game Piquet was uncomfortably anachronistic for the period, and as a fan of other Regency works I was disappointed that something so obvious was left uncorrected in its many instances. Smith does have a pleasant tone to her voice over-all, however, and adds character to many of the supporting cast of friends and relations, delivering neatly upon the atmospheric promise of a 'Regency cosy'. This audiobook has all the hallmarks of a splendid period tale. It is such a shame that a more native speaker could not have been employed to bring it to life, but hopefully future novels in the series will benefit from the opportunity. (And if not, I hope the narrator will listen to a little Georgette Heyer before her next outing, to better familiarise herself with the peculiarities of Regency/Georgian language, for I feel that she would make a much more satisfying job of it with a little more preparation.) The issues with the narration were not insurmountable, and the book was strong enough to overcome them and continued to hold my attention throughout. Despite those concerns it remained good fun, and when I was half way through the book it was with dismay that I realised my time with Miss Hyde-Clare was drawing to a close. I will certainly keep an eager eye, and ear, out for other audiobooks in this series, and heartily recommend it to anyone who enjoys genteel Regency novels and cosy mysteries. *I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Susan C-K
  • 07-04-2019

Wonderful Historic Mystery!

A Brazen Curiosity: A Regency Cozy is the first of the Beatrice Hyde-Clare Mysteries. I so much enjoyed this book. The characters were fun and quirky. The story was nicely read by the narrator. This is a great series. I look forward to the next book! This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this voluntary review.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Charlotte
  • 04-02-2019

Witty and entertaining

Really enjoyed this book, it kept a good pace and was witty and entertaining. Please, please audible, get book 2 up and running ASAP!!!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Inishowen Cailin
  • 09-12-2018

Excellent.

I am thrilled to have found a new regency mystery romance series. A Brazen Curiosity is choc full of humour as well as having a great 'who dunnit' to solve. The banter between Beatrice and the Duke, especially after having found the body and suspecting each other of the murder, was incredibly drole and entertaining. I enjoyed watching their friendship develop and seeing Beatrice grow in confidence as the story progressed. I can't wait to read more in this series. I voluntarily reviewed an advance reading audio copy.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Dee
  • 01-04-2020

A delightful and witty series ... almost

Delightfully written and witty, with engaging characters and villains. Her female lead is a surprising and we see her slowly develop from a troublesome caustic frump onto a spirited and interesting young woman. It's a real pity though, that the author overindulges in repeating past scenes - repeatedly in each book that follows - as if she simply delights in remembering how surprising her idea was. For the reader though, it becomes so tiresome and offputting. She should take a leaf out of Pam Lecky's writing and notice how the connections flow through each book in a subtle yet pervasive way, creating an underlying tension, rather than disruption.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Miss Ruth
  • 05-06-2019

Narrator has weird accent at times......

Really love this author and although this series took me a while to get into, I ended up thoroughly enjoying it. I’d read the Hoydens series first and I really enjoyed the humour along with the plot, and this series is similar but with the added murder mystery. (I loved Julia Quinn’s early books and Lynn Messinas characters are similar in personality). So I put up with the strange accent (her voice Is very pleasant).

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  • Roberta Reads
  • 24-04-2019

A light-hearted Regency cozy crime

An entertaining cozy crime set during the Regency Era, this audiobook is light-hearted and amusing to listen to. For me, this audiobook is let down by the narrator. Although the expression and emotion used by the narrator is excellent, it’s a shame that her rather obvious American accent keeps sneaking its way in. This may not be an issue for American listeners, but as a British listener, it stands out a lot to start with. After a while I became used to it, and no longer noticed (except for an occasional word that was pronounced so oddly I had to think about what it was). I’m told this has improved for the next book, which I shall certainly be listening to. The story itself, however, is great fun. Though not necessarily highly accurate to the Regency Era (I wouldn’t know, all I know about the era comes from Heyer and Austen), there was nothing that stood out to me as an anachronism. I greatly enjoyed Bea’s character, I found it very amusing how she pretends faintness to find out information. I enjoyed her sensible acceptance of how things are, and ability to absorb information under difficult circumstances. Most of all, I appreciated the general silliness and levity of this tale. I laughed several times, which is unusual for me, even when I am amused by a book. The cozy crime aspect had enough excitement to hold my interest, whilst not being too grisly or gritty for my taste. In short, everything I’ve come to expect and enjoy from Lynn Messina’s writing. If you’re looking for a light-hearted and engaging Regency cozy crime, and you don’t struggle if accents are a little off (or you can persist until you get your ear in, as I did), then this is the audiobook for you. I was given a free copy of this audiobook in exchange for an honest review.