Mark S. R. Sterling-Arsenic and the Socialite

Mark Sterling is a new author to me. Lady Theodora Strangways is a character in his new series.

Lady Theodora is a woman who married into the English nobility. When her husband died, she should technically have lost her title, but since Queen Vic liked her and kept referring to her as Lady, then the rest of the world has to as well. She is pretty, quick-witted, adventurous, wears slightly scandalous clothes which are amazingly fashion-forward, and gives just about zero fucks about anything. She’s going to go out, do things, live her life, and then have everything written up in books.

In Arsenic and the Socialite, Lady Theodora is called to Glasgow, Scotland by an old friend, John Digby, who is an inspector with the Scotland Yard. He needs her help to find a poisoner who murdered a man. They also take the time to renew their FWB status, including a little spanking.

While the Lady Theodora is the person the series is named after, we don’t actually see a lot of her. We see much more of Madeline Smith, the young woman who has been accused of poisoning her lover.

The story starts out several months after the murder when Lady Theodora is called to court as a witness for the prosecution. When she gets asked a question, she goes back in her mind to the past, and we get a little look into what happened during the investigation. Then, we get into a whole different timeline and POV because we find out what Madeline, or Mimi, was doing.

Apparently, this story is based on one that actually happened in Glasgow, Scotland in 1857. Madeline Smith was accused of poisoning her lover with some arsenic in his cocoa. Obviously, Starling has taken a few liberties here and there, but when I looked at the Wikipedia page, it seemed reasonably true to the story.

The story is pretty light on sex, but there is some, and some spanking, both for fun and for punishment. Because it takes place in the Victorian era, the sex isn’t overly graphic and the language is very euphemistic. Remember, from this point, you may find spoilers.


I overall enjoyed reading the story, but there were a few things that did pull me out of it. One of those things is that we keep going back and forth between Lady T in court and Lady T investigating, and then back and forth between Mimi’s letters and what Mimi is doing. It just seemed a wee bit too much to me. If one of the timelines was cut, and we saw more of Lady T, I would’ve been happier.

Lady T is pretty much a character that I would really like, so I’m looking forward to future books to see how she develops and if I get to see more of her in action in her books.

That’s it for today! Go check out this book, I think that you will probably enjoy it.

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