Lady Ottilia Fanshawe (Lady Fan) and her husband Lord Francis are trying to settle in for a nice quiet period after the birth of their son, Luke. They long for the peace and quiet of their home where they can spend time with their adopted daughter, Pretty, and get to know Luke. That, of course, is a pipe dream. First, Lord Francis’s mother Sybilla drops in to stay for a while – and she’s soon followed by Mr. Maplewood, and then their niece Lizzy. Oh! And lest I forget – there was the corpse of Mr. Marmaduke Gibbon dumped at their front door. So much for peaceful family time.
Once they’ve identified the body – and Ottilia is pretty sure of the cause of death – there are plenty of suspects to go around. All of them are hiding something. All of them are telling untruths – even the victim’s best friend, Percy Pedwardine.
Richenda Vexford, a spoiled, sly, manipulative, wealthy young lady seems to be at the bottom of everything. Or, is she? It certainly seems all of the suspects are in her thrall, and the victim was there to pursue her – or at least her fortune. Did some of her suitors feel threatened by Marmaduke’s dashing good looks? Or, is there another motive behind it all? You’ll have to read the book to find out.
I have become invested in the lives of Ottilia and Frances as well as their motley mix of family and friends, so I enjoyed this story and getting to meet new baby Luke. The story was a tad slow in some spots and some of the author’s word choices puzzled me – but none of it was anything I couldn’t overlook. What I didn’t like was that the perpetrator got away with no punishment – or at least none that was worth noting.