As a huge fan of this author’s Kurland St. Mary series, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on her latest mystery series. It was definitely worth the wait. The characters – especially the featured characters – were excellently done. You didn’t learn everything about them right in the beginning, it was doled out a bit at a time – and some of what you thought you knew, it turns out you didn’t. 😊 You aren’t sure who the good guys are – or who the bad guys are. You THINK you know, but do you?
Lady Caroline Morton, daughter of the deceased Earl of Morton, is penniless and without reputation, through no fault of her own. No, not her fault at all, but society tars her and her sister with the same brush as her father when he kills himself and everyone finds he is deeply in debt. Fortunately, her aunt and uncle take them in and that works fine while they are still pretty young, but children have a habit of growing up. Caroline finally realized that she could strike out on her own and seek employment – or – she could stay with her aunt and uncle and become an unappreciated, unpaid drudge within their home. Being the strong, independent, forthright, intelligent woman she was, she arranged employment as a companion to Mrs. Frogerton. Mrs. Frogerton turns out to be an adventurous lady and one who is anxious to see her daughter marry well. She has tons of money, but their background is tainted with the stench of ‘business’ and ‘work’. Caroline and Mrs. Frogrton are perfect partners in crime-solving – and goodness – do they have some crimes to solve!
A few months after Caroline leaves her Aunt Eleanor’s home, Eleanor pays a visit to Mrs. Frogerton’s home to request Caroline attend a house party being given in honor of Eleanor’s daughter for her birthday. Caroline declines, but Mrs. Frogerton is delighted to attend. It appears they are going to have an adventure after all.
Not long after Caroline, Mrs. Frogerton, and her daughter arrive, bodies begin to drop. While Lady Eleanor refuses to acknowledge that any murders occurred in her home, Caroline and the local physician, Dr. Harris, know otherwise. As they investigate, Caroline begins receiving threats – veiled and not so veiled. Clues turn up in the oddest places, and large sums of money appear in places they should not be. And what about all of those charity children in the nursery? Oh – this is going to be a handful to solve.
I thoroughly enjoyed this mystery, it is interesting, well-plotted, well-paced, and excellently delivered. The book was, very, very busy and had a lot of characters and subplots that weren’t necessary to the story or my enjoyment of it. I will also add that I didn’t care for the punishments (or non-punishment) for the murderers. Should you choose to read the book, I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did.