The Dagger Dance by Elizabeth Bailey
Barbara’s rating: 5 of 5 stars
Series: Lady Fan Mystery #7
Publication Date: 4/13/21
Number of Pages: 341
While this is the seventh book in the series, I feel as if we are just getting started. The book is exciting and filled with red herrings that will keep you guessing whodunit. The only thing you know for sure is that Dorote Gabon didn’t do it. Admittedly, it took me two or three books into the series to warm up to Ottilia and Francis, but now I love them and can hardly wait from one book to the next. This one has a delightful twist that you will love at the end. Oh! And there is a pirate.
It is March of 1793 and Ottilia and Francis are enjoying time at their home, Flitteris. Ottilia’s nephews are visiting and, of course, the lovely young child, Pretty, from the last book is in residence. Things are in happy chaos when Ottilia receives a message from Hemp Roy asking her to come to Bristol to save Dorote Gabon, a woman from his past. Dorote, a slave, has been accused of murder and Hemp knows she is innocent.
Dorote was discovered standing over the body of her owner, Marcus Scalloway, with a bloody knife that she admitted was hers. Sounds like an open and shut case until Ottilia speaks with Dorote and comes to believe what Dorote has to say. It seems that everyone who knew Scalloway had reason to dislike him enough to kill him, so there is no shortage of suspects. It can be anybody from his wife, to her lover, to his business partner, to his skulking minion, to his partner’s skulking minion, or even the pirate who was captaining Scalloway’s ship when it sank.
Ottilia, Francis, and Hemp have their work cut out for them with this investigation and it is even more difficult than usual because Ottilia is ill and Francis has to take on a good bit of the investigation. Hemp doesn’t care who killed the man as long as they can prove that Dorote is innocent – and he also wants to get Dorote free from slavery. That last part may be harder than proving her innocent of murder.
I can definitely recommend this fast-paced, well-written historical mystery. The characters are wonderful and the mystery is intriguing. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did.