Proper English

Proper English

A shooting party at the Earl of Witton’s remote country house is a high treat for champion shot Patricia Merton—until unexpected guests turn the social atmosphere dangerously sour.That’s not Pat’s biggest problem. She’s visiting her old friend, the Earl’s heir Jimmy Yoxall—but she wants to spend a lot more time with Jimmy’s fiancée. The irrepressible Miss Fenella Carruth,...

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Title:Proper English
Author:K.J. Charles
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Proper English Reviews

  • Helen Kord

    Oh this was absolutely magnificent. The f/f histrom of my dreams!!!!!!!! I loved it so much. Full review to come later but OH MY GOD KJ DID IT AGAIN, BUT THIS TIME WITH LESBIANS

    Okay usually I just delete the old gushy review and replace it with the actual review, but I find this one hilarious so I'm keeping it :D Here's my full review:

    Proper English made me think of all the Hercule Poirot stories I grew up on. There’s a hunting party full of colourful snarky characters, hilarious banter, m

    Oh this was absolutely magnificent. The f/f histrom of my dreams!!!!!!!! I loved it so much. Full review to come later but OH MY GOD KJ DID IT AGAIN, BUT THIS TIME WITH LESBIANS

    Okay usually I just delete the old gushy review and replace it with the actual review, but I find this one hilarious so I'm keeping it :D Here's my full review:

    Proper English made me think of all the Hercule Poirot stories I grew up on. There’s a hunting party full of colourful snarky characters, hilarious banter, more then one group of lovers sneaking around for some private time or that one character everyone hates who dies a horrible death thus making everyone a suspect. It’s perfect! The atmosphere, the lush british countryside, the dynamic relationships between characters and the wonderfully gruesome murder are just a staple of the genre. And we all know KJ writes some amazing countryside and gruesome murder. Again, it’s perfect.

  • Stephanie

    A gloriously fun Agatha-Christie-style historical country-house murder mystery, sparkling with wit and full of great characters, including a really lovely romance between two equally fabulous heroines. I started reading my ARC in post-surgery recovery, when I could have felt really grim, and the sheer joy of this book really saved me. A total delight!

  • Freya Marske

    Literally everything I hoped for, this book provided. Murder! A house party full of awful people! Ladies bonding! Two of those ladies falling in love and having a lot of sex! The narrator being a thoroughly sensible person who is also a gay disaster! K.J. Charles just keeps getting better and better.

  • Joyfully Jay

    Oh, this story was such a delight! I was completely captivated and could barely put it down. Proper English develops a wonderful relationship between Pat and Fen, and then adds to it the drama of a remote country house party filled with interesting (and abhorrent) characters, along with a murder mystery twist. K.J. Charles just excels at wonderful character development and excellent historical elements and both are showcased perfectly in this story.

    Pat is our POV ch

    Oh, this story was such a delight! I was completely captivated and could barely put it down. Proper English develops a wonderful relationship between Pat and Fen, and then adds to it the drama of a remote country house party filled with interesting (and abhorrent) characters, along with a murder mystery twist. K.J. Charles just excels at wonderful character development and excellent historical elements and both are showcased perfectly in this story.

    Pat is our POV character and she is as fascinating as she is impressive. Pat grew up in a home with four brothers and a father who treated her like one of the boys. She is insanely competent and has been managing the family home for years. Basically, Pat is one of those women who just knows how to get stuff done and she doesn’t let other people’s opinion’s gets in the way. However, with her oldest brother now marrying, Pat is at loose ends as she needs to find a new place to live and a new direction for her life (while Pat could technically stay in the family home, she knows she is way too much of a manager to avoid conflict with her new sister-in-law). This house party is supposed to be a chance for Pat to relax and regroup, but suddenly there is an influx of people with whom she is expected to socialize. Of course, when Pat meets the lovely Fen, this prospect isn’t quite so daunting.

  • Corrie

    This is getting

    annoying, Goodreads. To say I finished a book before I actually have. I would never throw a book unrated and without a review into the world. Ugh!

    So I will get back to this space as soon as I

    it. Which will be later today.

    ----------------------

    So this was simply fantastic and all things delightful even though we are talking about a murder mystery.

    normally writes m/m and therefore she was (to me at least) an unknown author. Apparently our two mains

    This is getting

    annoying, Goodreads. To say I finished a book before I actually have. I would never throw a book unrated and without a review into the world. Ugh!

    So I will get back to this space as soon as I

    it. Which will be later today.

    ----------------------

    So this was simply fantastic and all things delightful even though we are talking about a murder mystery.

    normally writes m/m and therefore she was (to me at least) an unknown author. Apparently our two mains

    and

    were secondary characters in a previous novel

    set two years later. Lucky for me (and you, if you decide to read it and I think you should) they got their own story giving us the origins on how they met.

    The setting is an old stone pile somewhere in Scotland where a shooting party is being held (the game is partridge). Pat, being a superb shot (All-English Ladies’ Champion) is looking forward to spending some time with her oldest brother

    and her best friend

    . Upon arrival it turns out there are more guests than she feels comfortable with. One of them is Jimmy’s buxom fiancée Fenella, who seems a tad silly at first but there is more beneath the surface. If only Jimmy had eyes for that. Pat certainly has!

    The house is full of secrets and lies and tensions rise. Then the weather turns nasty, trapping everyone inside. Pat discovers some things about herself and others. Then… a murder is done! Okay, the victim was a vile, despicable man who certainly had it coming but still… one of the party is guilty of murder and they all had motive. Can they find out before the police arrives?

    The dialogue is spot on and delightfully period. The murder/mystery only happens in the last third of the book so before that we get plenty of Pat and Fen and the secret goings-on with all the other intriguing members of the group. A witty and clever plot that kept me spellbound till the end.

    f/f Yay! There is no fade to black here, they get a chance to show us all ;-)

    Themes: a shooting party, having feelings for someone else’s fiancée, shooting lessons, vegetarians, plenty of secrets, drug fiends, a spot of damned bad weather, a murder, awesome dialogue.

    5 Stars

  • Magali

    “How many country house murders do you think we’re likely to encounter?” OH FEN, MY SWEET SUMMER CHILD.

    I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review, and I can honestly say I love these gun-toting lesbians with my whole heart. (Also, going along with this whole “honesty” deal, I read the book and wrote this review on an 18-hour travel day so please forgive any delirium typos.)

    This book is a prequel of sorts to Think of England, so anyone who enjoyed that particular brand of Dr

    “How many country house murders do you think we’re likely to encounter?” OH FEN, MY SWEET SUMMER CHILD.

    I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review, and I can honestly say I love these gun-toting lesbians with my whole heart. (Also, going along with this whole “honesty” deal, I read the book and wrote this review on an 18-hour travel day so please forgive any delirium typos.)

    This book is a prequel of sorts to Think of England, so anyone who enjoyed that particular brand of Dramatic Country House Blackmail Murders (ToE was my first intro to the work of KJC and it is High Art) will find plenty here to appreciate, although the book is actually very different in most ways.

    Sensible, practical Pat Merton is at loose ends after her eldest brother’s wedding; she’s going to have to find somewhere else to live and something else to dedicate her considerable talents to than managing their ancestral home, but hell if she has any idea what that will be. An invitation to a shooting party with just her brother Bill, their childhood friend Jimmy, and his parents sounds like a great way to put off the inevitable.

    En route, she finds out that Jimmy is engaged, Bill is very put out about it, and the fiancée in question, along with some family friends and some extremely unpleasant in-laws on his sister’s side, will all be joining their “quiet” party. Pat, like every other chill and capable lesbian I’ve ever met, is *just* introverted enough for this to sound fairly nightmarish... and that’s BEFORE Mr. Haworth (the brother-in-law) begins insulting everyone at the dining room table and Pat overhears him blackmailing someone in an empty part of the house.

    Events unfold, as they are wont to do in a KJC house party novel, and Pat goes from “I would rather die than be here, and also Jimmy’s fiancée Fenella appears to have nothing between her ears except perhaps a gentle breeze” to “I would kill a man for Fenella Carruth and also we are going to move in together” in the course of 3 days. (Insert joke about lesbians and Uhauls here.) It is HIGHLY entertaining, and I am very happy for them both.

    The stakes felt somewhat lower here than in Think of England, probably because the murder victim was literally the worst person in the world, and also because it’s hard to imagine either Pat OR Fen ultimately ending up in the kind of scrapes that Daniel and Archie got into because their shit is just *so* much more together. I missed a bit of the absolutely scorching, desperate and borderline manic energy of my original country house murder gays, but watching Pat & Fen circle each other carefully for a while before both clearly deciding to say “fuck it” was satisfying in another way.

    Pat’s “I am MIND-BLOWINGLY competent and practical and everyone respects me and treats me like one of the boys but I secretly want to be pretty and a little bit cherished” contrasted so perfectly with Fen’s “I am the most beautiful person possibly in the world but all I want in life is for even one single person to take me seriously,” and I loved watching them slowly make their way to an Understanding. The romance on the whole was... softer? than what I usually go for, but as a queer woman who came to that realization pretty late in the game, it was relatable in a way that hot sad gay spies giving desperation blowjobs to hot sad gay soldiers isn’t (for me). (Though I am still very into the latter.)

    Speaking of hot, I know this is like, the lowest possible bar to hit, but I have to commend KJC for NOT fading to black (or at least grey) at the critical moments, because I feel like I see a *lot* of that when m/m writers make the jump to f/f. Thank you, KJC, for Letting The Lesbians Fuck.

    Anyway: please read this book. It’s got everything! Heaving, jewel-bedecked bosoms! Drug fiends! Guns! Vegetarians! A noble family Fallen On Hard Times! Bigots getting hella stabbed! Walking in on your brother having sex and then your girlfriend telling you he has an ass only his boyfriend could love! I am just saying. This book is a gift that you can give yourself. DO IT.

  • Ami

    Old-time readers / fans of K.J. Charles who have read

    might remember Patricia Merton and Fenella Carruth; two secondary characters from the book.

    is the prequel, set two years before the event in

    , that tells how Patricia and Fenella first met: Patricia attends a shooting party while visiting her old friend, Jimmy Yoxall, who is recently engaged with Fenella.

    If I can use one word to describe this story, I will use DELIGHTFUL.

    Old-time readers / fans of K.J. Charles who have read

    might remember Patricia Merton and Fenella Carruth; two secondary characters from the book.

    is the prequel, set two years before the event in

    , that tells how Patricia and Fenella first met: Patricia attends a shooting party while visiting her old friend, Jimmy Yoxall, who is recently engaged with Fenella.

    If I can use one word to describe this story, I will use DELIGHTFUL. Yes, there is one vile character – who later ends up being the murder victim – and he’s been maliciously making the host and their guests uncomfortable, but it also creates a perfect situation for secrets being out and everyone having motives.

    I thought Patricia and Fenella are adorable together. I admit, at first, before I started reading, I was worried with what being said on the blurb: “

    ”. I am not very fond of cheating situation (even if they are yet married), because someone will end up being hurt. I’m quite relieved that Charles takes care of it very well, with win-win result for everyone involved.

    I love that Patricia is competent and grounded. I love that Fenella is bubbly and shiny but having very sharp mind. I enjoy reading two main heroines that are wonderful on their own, although together they are creating a great couple.

    If I have slight complaint, it is that I expected the murder to happen earlier than it did in the book. I

    it would be a

    book, where the characters spend more time being wary with each other, and our main characters busy investigating (in between developing relationship). It turns out that the dead body is found after 2/3rd of the book. I guess it’s just a matter that it isn’t what I initially expected.

  • Caz

    K.J. Charles’ latest book is a companion piece to

    , in which readers were first introduced to Pat Morton and Fenella (Fen) Carruth, a pair of formidable ladies who seem already to be rather adept at solving mysteries.

    takes place a couple of years before those events, and is their origin story, if you will.  It’s a witty, sharply observed, sweetly romantic and clever country house murder-mystery; in short, everything you’d expect from K.J. Charles (incl

    K.J. Charles’ latest book is a companion piece to

    , in which readers were first introduced to Pat Morton and Fenella (Fen) Carruth, a pair of formidable ladies who seem already to be rather adept at solving mysteries.

    takes place a couple of years before those events, and is their origin story, if you will.  It’s a witty, sharply observed, sweetly romantic and clever country house murder-mystery; in short, everything you’d expect from K.J. Charles (including the dead body.  Maybe

    the dead body!)

    Patricia Merton is at a bit of a crossroads in her life.  The youngest of five children – with four older brothers – her father never subscribed to the idea that girls couldn’t and shouldn’t do the things boys did, and he’s grown up to be a confident, competent young woman who knows who she is and makes no apologies for being different to the average eyelash-fluttering, simpering miss.  She’s spent much of her adult life running her older brother’s household, but he’s recently married, and Pat knows continuing to live under the same roof would be a recipe for disaster.  So she’s taking some time to think about what she wants to do next, and is travelling to attend a small shooting party in the north of England, looking forward to spending time with her brother Bill, her old friend, Jimmy, and a few other gentlemen.  She’s a champion shot –the All England Ladies’ Champion in fact – and is pleased to be spending a few days where she can be as mannish as she likes and nobody will care.

    But when Bill meets her at the station, she’s disappointed to discover that her plans for a few days shooting with the chaps have been upended because Jimmy’s new fiancée, Miss Fenella Caruth (daughter of a wealthy industrialist) is present, as are Jimmy’s sister and her loathesome husband, his parents, the Earl and Countess of Witton and a handful of other guests. Pat’s enthusiasm for the houseparty wanes; until later that evening she makes the acquaintance of Jimmy’s fiancée, who is quite the loveliest woman Pat has ever seen.

    At first, she appears to be just the sort of fluffy, frivolous young woman Pat usually avoids at all cost, but when, the next day, they get to spend a bit of time together (Pat is teaching her to shoot), Pat begins to realise that Fen is more than she appears, and that beneath the polished exterior is a woman who longs to be taken seriously and seen for more than her pretty face (and enormous fortune).

    It’s not long before Pat and Fen realise there’s something more than friendship growing between them, but their delight at having found, in each other, someone who really

    them for who they are, has to be put on hold when one of the party is found dead, an ornamental knife buried in his back, and a dreadful storm both confines them all to the house and prevents the immediate attendance of the local police.

    is a proper English romp of a story that combines a Christie-esque country house murder mystery, a tender, sensual romance and a healthy dose of social comment that’s never dry or overdone.

    Pat and Fen are opposites in many ways; Pat is pragmatic, no-nonsense and outdoorsy, shrewd, self-possessed and non-judgmental, while Fen has been brought up to be little more than an ornament to a man.  There’s a wonderful moment in the book when she expresses her frustration at the way young women like her are brought up to act helpless and brainless while being simultaneously mocked and despised for displaying the very qualities thought so important in a young lady who wants to attract a husband.  Fen is a natural care-taker and will go out of her way to make other people feel comfortable, even when that effort isn’t reciprocated, while Pat is less inclined to care what people think of her, but is sufficiently intuitive that she doesn’t stomp all over other people’s feelings while going her own way. She and Fen fit together so beautifully, both of them yearning for someone with whom they can really be themselves, and the way they discover each other and the true women behind their facades is superbly done and wonderful to read.

    The mystery plot – while not as high-stakes as the one in

    – is nonetheless well thought-out, as we learn, along with Pat, that Bill is investigating some financial irregularities that seem to point the finger at the Earl. Ms. Charles keeps this happily bubbling along in the background until she’s ready to bring it front and centre, and it’s classic stuff; a group of disparate individuals with secrets to hide, agendas to pursue, and oodles of mounting tension, a truly nasty villain (who of course gets his just desserts) and our wily, amateur sleuths.

    Pat and Fen are great characters – I liked them in

    , and liked them even more here – their romance is lovely, the secondary cast is nicely fleshed-out, and it will come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the author when I say that the sense of time and place she instils into the story is impeccable. 

    is a delight from start to finish and highly recommended.

  • Kaje Harper

    I was looking forward to this prequel story with Pat and Fen from

    and I really enjoyed seeing these two women meet. Pat is intelligent, self-contained and practical, raised along with her brothers enough to have the expectation that a woman should be just as capable as a man. She's a champion shot, and is used to running a household, but with the marriage of her oldest brother she's suddenly at loose ends, no longer mistress of his home.

    She decides a brief holiday with an old f

    I was looking forward to this prequel story with Pat and Fen from

    and I really enjoyed seeing these two women meet. Pat is intelligent, self-contained and practical, raised along with her brothers enough to have the expectation that a woman should be just as capable as a man. She's a champion shot, and is used to running a household, but with the marriage of her oldest brother she's suddenly at loose ends, no longer mistress of his home.

    She decides a brief holiday with an old friend, Jimmy, at the beginning of partridge season will be relaxing - good shooting and a chance to figure out the next phase of her life. But the house turns out to be full of more guests than she was prepared for, some of them less than pleasant. Her brother Bill is with her, but seems deeply troubled by something; her friend's fiancee is also there, and for some reason Jimmy is treating the lovely young woman with careless negligence and failing to protect her from nasty innuendo from another guest. Something is very rotten in the Earl of Witton’s remote country house, and Pat would just as soon leave, if it didn't mean leaving the lovely Fenella alone amid the mire. And if the flooding rivers actually made leaving possible. And then there's a murder...

    Told from Pat's POV, this book is a delightful very British country house mystery combined with the awakening of a young woman to who she is meant to be. Pat's forthright nature includes a warm heart and ready sympathy. Fenella's artful, lightheaded chatter turns out to be a screen for a woman of far more substance, and their romance was believable and lovely, fitting for the era in which they are living. The mystery was not unexpected, but well-played, and I thoroughly enjoyed the story.

  • K.J. Charles

    Pat Merton and Fenella Carruth first appeared in my book

    and I have wanted to write their origin story ever since. Here it is.

    It takes place two years before the events of

    (so, obviously, it's a standalone), and, as is only fitting for these ladies, it is a full-on Edwardian Country House Murder. I had total fun with it and I hope readers do too.

    NB: As should be clear from the blurb, it's set at a shooting party (for partridge). Proceed accordingly!

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