Fresh Meat: A Murder at Rosamund’s Gate by Susanna Calkins

A Murder at Rosamund’s Gate by Susanna Calkins is a historical mystery set in London during the Restoration (available April 23, 2013).

I’m the type of reader who loves a thrill ride, especially set in somewhere unfamiliar and fascinating. Which makes me not quite the right reader for this beautifully written book.

A Murder at Rosamund’s Gate is set in the time after Charles II’s Restoration in London, and revolves around a servant trying to solve the murder of her friend. I was eager to read a mystery set in the time period, as it’s one not normally covered in mysteries.

The story, a debut by Susanna Calkins, has a great many strengths. I was immersed in the world of Lucy Campion, a maid in the home of a well-to-do family in London. The upstairs/downstairs division between Lucy and her fellow servants and the family they serve was particularly well-drawn, and her duties and responsibilities were laid out in fascinating detail, including how to get rid of household waste. The trips to the market were similarly interesting, especially when, early on, Lucy is slyly able to retrieve an item stolen and return it to the rightful owner. There’s also a lovely sequence in which the servants gather at a local party while their employers celebrate in more royal style.

The murder of one of her fellow maids, which seems connected to a previous death, sets Lucy on an investigation to find the culprit, especially after her brother is accused of the crime. In this, she has the help of the heir of the house, though it’s unclear whether he is helper or killer for a long time. The climax, set during the Great Fire in London, is exciting and the reveal of the murderer’s identity.

The story itself moves slowly. At times, it seems far more interested in detailing Lucy’s everyday life than in the murder plot and the secondary romantic plot. I could put this down without worrying about the characters, partly because, while I admired Lucy, her actions seemed inconsistent. She’s well versed in the downstairs politics but for a girl growing up after tragedy in her life, she seems a little too naïve about sex or the perils related to men’s attention. At one point, she goes to visit her brother in prison and encounters several threats to her person. I’d call it an act of courage but Lucy seems unaware of how dangerous descending into a prison, even to visit, could be.

I’d recommend this book to anyone who loves historical details and a fascinating glimpse into the time period, and the book does pick up after about 200 pages. I just wish the mystery had been as enthralling as their everyday life.

This Sweepstakes has ended. Check out current opportunites at our Sweepstakes feature page.

To enter for a chance to win one of 5 Advanced Reader Copies (ARCs) of A Murder at Rosamund's Gate by Susanna Calkins, make sure you’re logged in as a registered member of the site, and then simply leave a comment below.

TIP: Since only comments from registered users will be tabulated, if your user name appears in red above your comment—STOP—go log in, then try commenting again. If your user name appears in black above your comment, You’re In!

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A purchase does not improve your chances of winning. Sweepstakes open to legal residents of fifty (50) United States and the District of Columbia, who are 18 or older. To enter, fill out entry at beginning at 9:30 a.m. Eastern Time (ET) April 25, 2013. Sweepstakes ends at 9:29 a.m. ET on May 2, 2013 (the “Promotion Period”). Void outside of the 50 US and DC and where prohibited by law. Please see full details and official rules at Sponsor: Macmillan, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010

Read more coverage of new releases with our Fresh Meat series.

Corrina Lawson is a writer, mom, geek and superhero, thought not always all four on the same day. She is a senior editor of the GeekMom Blog on ( and the author of a superhero romance series and an alternate history series featuring Romans and Vikings in ancient North America. She has been a comic book geek all her life and often dreamed of growing up to be Lois Lane.

Read all posts by Corrina Lawson for Criminal Element.


  1. Gordon Bingham

    This looks interesting!

  2. L L

    Interesting premise

  3. Heather Martin

    I love stories like this.

  4. MaryC

    I enjoy historical mysteries – this looks interesting.

  5. alyce poalillo

    I love historical mysteries so this would be a great win for me.

  6. susan wiener

    luv to win. thx

  7. Lorena Keech

    I haven’t read any other mysteries set in this time period, so it looks quite interesting.

  8. Vicky Boackle

    i would love to read this.

  9. cheryl wong

    looks good

  10. runner

    So Groovy!

  11. Loren Palmer

    sounds like a winner 2 ME

  12. Anne Joyce

    I enjoy a good historical mystery and this one looks like a wonderful read!

  13. Ava A Chavez

    Love love love the letter in her hand, on the cover….Such an art form!

  14. Tarah Manning

    OOOOOOh! this sounds amazing!

  15. Joe Hauser

    Very nice!

  16. Pam Howell

    I love thrillers and this time period sounds fascinating for a mystery.

  17. Sue Farrell

    I like books set in this time period that are about “real” people instead of the aristocracy.

  18. Bonnie Karoly

    I love mysteries and the setting of this book looks good. I like historical novels.
    bluedawn95864 at gmail dot com

  19. Deborah Dumm

    historical mysteries are the best!!!!!!!!!!

  20. Ann Stolinsky

    This sounds very interesting. I love historical novels.

  21. Tony Fitzpatrick

    I miss London. I would love to read this book and reminisce.

  22. Elizabeth Cerza

    Sounds right up my alley!

  23. Lisa Ryskoski

    Would love to read this!

  24. Dorothy Newmark

    What a wonderful premise: a mystery involving the serving class in the period of the Restoration. This debut work by Susanna Calkins sounds like a really good read!

  25. Juanita Foster

    The cover is very intriging and the description sounds like a compelling read.

  26. Joyce Mitchell

    Sounds like an interesting book. Thanks for the review.

  27. Anna Mills

    Okay, to be sure, upstairs/ downstairs says it all. This has to be read!! And preferably by me.

  28. gwendolyn bruno

    I love a good historical mystery. Thanks for the chance to win a copy!

  29. Don Gentry

    Sounds great !

  30. Doris C. Losey

    Can’t wait to read–I love historical mysteries.

  31. Linda Patterson

    I’m an Anglophile. What can I say? There isn’t a month that goes by that I don’t consume an English mystery or two. This sounds delightful!

  32. Allison Moyer

    I enjoy all historical fiction because it grants a glimpse into a world and a time in a way that history textbooks cannot. Historical fiction brings history to life.

  33. Deanna Stillings

    Sounds like a good read. I like historical fiction. Dee

  34. Cindi Hoppes

    The setting is a favorite of mine and historical suspense
    is fabulous!
    Thanks very much…

  35. Rosemary Simm

    Oh, a historical thriller with the help sleuthing around to add lots
    of suspense. I love it!! Drop my name into the hat for a chance to win A Murder at Rosemund’s Cafe. Sounds like a great read.

  36. Patricia Nicklas

    Historical mysteries are my favorite. Thanks for the giveaway!

  37. Bob Alexander

    Historical mysteries are my favorite.

  38. Mary M.

    It sounds interesting!

  39. Clydia DeFreese

    I’m anxious to read this one.

  40. Pat Murphy

    Enjoy historical mysteries. Count me in. Always looking for new authors to read.

  41. christine cushing

    I want to win. 🙂

  42. Ginny Horton

    I’d love a chance to win this book. The book sounds tantalizing. I love the author’s description of herself and would love to see if that translates into her work.

  43. Terry Heald

    I’d really enjoy reading an historical crime mystery. I’m in on this one!

  44. Taylor Duncan

    Love it

  45. keizerfire

    Another to add to my list!

  46. Lisa Richardson

    Aargh, I wish it would show red before you posted, lol!! Would love to win this!

  47. d r almon

    I would certainly like to win a copy of this book. I enjoy historical mysteries, and this seems to be a new type of dectective.

  48. Jean

    Would love to read this!

  49. Susan Lee

    I love historical mysteries

  50. Marie-Louise Molloy

    [b]Right up my alley!![/b]

  51. Bill Jankun

    Can’t beat the combination of historical fiction and a mystery!!

  52. Lisa Richardson

    Life has certainly changed since the setting of this story! At least for most of us.

  53. Bruce Simon

    I love historical mysteries . If it is anything like Anne Perry, count me in. The richness of the period will always keep me interested.

  54. Melissa Dials

    Historical mystery…awesome!!

  55. Joanne Mielczarski

    This book sounds intriguing!

  56. mosaix

    Death of a maid! Yes!

  57. Norma

    Love historical mysteries, especially when they go into detailing everyday life. Thanks for the chance to win.

  58. ravensfan

    This book sounds cool. Would love to win it!

  59. Charles Fraker

    Historicals are cool. Sign me up!

  60. Tricha Leary

    sounds good

  61. Phyllis Sinclair

    Historical fiction with a mystery…what fun to read.

  62. Gail Dickey

    Looks like a good read. I enjoy a good british mystery.

  63. Lisa Garrett

    I have this one on my wish list!!

  64. BeaCharmed

    Excellent review and I agree. It’s also the first in a seres.

    I’m not entering as I already have an ARC.

  65. Tiffany Duncan

    Can’t wait!

  66. susan beamon

    I haven’t read a mystery set in the more civilized city set in this time period. It would be interesting to see how the author handles the difficulties of a servent moving about freely enough to solve a crime, even with the help of one of the upper classes. Most detective of these eras are people of means. I’d like to read the book and add it to my library.

  67. Brenda Tucker

    I love English mysteries of this period. Good read.

  68. Karen Terry

    I normally don’t historical mysteries, but I would love to give it a try.

  69. Eva Moller

    A historical murder mystery! I’l love to read it!

  70. lynette barfield

    I am a thriller fan. This would be a new time period. Would love a copy.

  71. Louis Burklow

    It’s great reading mysteries set in historical eras I don’t know a great deal about – educational and thrilling. This would be great to read.

  72. Jane Squires

    Please enter me to win this. I would love to review it.

  73. Justine Heredia

    Looks great.

  74. jason fiske

    This looks great.

  75. Kris Kaminski

    pbs next? sounds great!

  76. L MW

    This looks interesting. I enjoy a cracking good historical mystery!

  77. Dan Carr

    I’d give this one a read!

  78. Melissa Keith

    [b]OH…you guys are ‘killing’ me! I absolutely love historical British mysteries! [/b]
    [b]My mum and I love reading about the ‘upstairs/downstairs division’. I would LOVE to win this book!! TA!
    *in case you’re wondering…’TA’ is brogue for ‘thank you’* 🙂


  79. vicki wurgler

    I do love to read historical mysteries

  80. Angela Dyrcz

    Sounds like a great read!

  81. Elizabeth

    It doesn’t look like I left a comment yet. I’d like to read this, so thanks.

  82. Sheila Korman

    I would love to read this book—thanks for the opportunity to win a copy!

  83. Mary Lauff-Thompson

    Sounds great!

  84. Suzanne Gonneville

    [url=]Corrina Lawson[/url] dreamed of growing up to be Lois Lane while I hoped to be Little Lulu . . . .

  85. Karen Cherubino

    I appreciate your review. I like historical mysteries and reading about London in this time period would be very interesting.

  86. Maya Amis

    I have loved the Restoration as a setting for historical mysteries ever since I read John Dickson Carr’s Devil in Velvet. I love the sound of this story.

  87. Kathy Fannon

    The story sounds interesting. I’d love to win a copy.

  88. Deb Mosora

    I love mysteries and would love to win this one.

  89. Bruce Hamilton

    Never read much about this time period so would love to try.

  90. Juli Lear

    I love historical fiction—looks very interesting!

  91. Kelley Tackett

    The link for this contest isn’t working either. This book sounds fascinating!

  92. Karl Stenger

    I would love to read this book

  93. Judith Barnes

    Sounds interesting! Send me a copy.

  94. Judith Barnes

    Sounds interesting! Send me a copy.

  95. Britt Chapman

    I would love to review this on my blog!!

  96. Vernon Luckert

    Looks like a winner of a story!

  97. Meredith Peters

    Historical mysteries are my favorite. This looks intriguing.

  98. Bob Keck

    I appreciate a tight, well-written historical crime drama.

  99. Kari Flores

    I love historical murder mysteries, can’t wait to read this book.

  100. Daniel Morrell

    sounds like a fun one!

  101. kathy pease

    Thank you for the great giveaway please count me in 🙂

  102. Brenda Elsner

    Sounds like a good historical mystery!!

  103. Cassandra Marquez

    would really love to read this! i love anything with a historical basis.

  104. Starr Greenwell

    looks like a great read

  105. CherylMc

    Looks to be a good read.

  106. Shirley Zolenski

    Awesome giveaway!!! Thanks

  107. Jane Squires

    I love this review and would love to win and review this.

  108. Susan Smoaks

    i love to read!

  109. Buddy Garrett

    It sounds like a great read. Thanks for the giveaway.

  110. Heather Cowley

    Looks mysterious! I’d love to read it. Thanks!

  111. Tim Moss

    Looks good, include me!

  112. Michael Lee Smith

    I like it!!

  113. Debra Kidle

    Sounds so interesting, count me in!

  114. David Kidle

    looks great!

  115. Kat Emerick

    looks interesting.

Comments are closed.