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I was sent Black Cats and Butlers, the first volume in the Rose Raventhorpe Investigates series by Amazon Vine in exchange for my honest opinion. I thought this would be rather like the Katherine Woodfine book, The Painted Dragon, that I reviewed a few weeks ago. I like a historical whodunnit so I was happy to try something new.


Black Cats and Butlers is a fun read. It’s an easy read, not too taxing and the emphasis is on more of a romp than any attempt at historical accuracy from the author Janine Beacham. The story is set in a fictional version of York, called Yorke, yet it is recognisable in many of its features, including the cathedral, which features prominently in this book.

Rose Raventhorpe is the only daughter of a wealthy couple who are, for some reason, living in Yorke, despite the fact that Rose’s father is a member of parliament and Rose’s mother is always going to London to have her portrait painted, conveniently leaving Rose alone. In this story, the only person who Rose can rely on is the butler, Argyle who acts as parent, friend and confidante to Rose, as well as a kind of nanny/governess.

Rose’s life is torn apart when Argyle is the third butler in Yorke to be assassinated by The Black Glove. Rose is determined from that point on to track down Argyle’s killer and hopefully solve the mystery of whoever is also removing the watchful cat statues which are said to act as guardians to the city of Yorke.

Along the way, Rose gets caught up in romance, a secret society of butlers and tangles with body snatchers.

This is a funny, page turner of a book that would be ideal for 8-12 year olds.