I was intrigued to see Grace Burrowes had written a mystery series, and couldn’t wait to begin. As always, the writing is excellent and the characters are well developed and very relatable. Being a Grace Burrowes series, I was sure there would be a romance – which is a good thing because that is one of my requirements for any book I read. There is – or I guess will be – a romance I’m sure, but it didn’t happen in this book. At the moment, it appears to be a triangle, and that just won’t get it for me. So, if it takes very long for the resolution to the triangle to happen, I’ll just forego the series. Just as an FYI, I have read the book blurbs through book seven, and it doesn’t look like the triangle is resolved at that point. Since I have already purchased book two, I’ll read it, but won’t purchase more until at least book seven or eight. If the triangle is resolved by then, I’ll continue. If not, I’ll stop with the series. That, however, is just one of MY personal things – you may not need a settled romance and if you don’t then this will be a very enjoyable series for you.
Lady Violet Belmaine did not have a happy marriage. It was one arranged by her father and she wasn’t given a choice. With her husband deceased, she is now a very wealthy widow who is free to do as she pleases. However, she’s had a hard time dealing with that and had become a near recluse until Dr. Hugh St. Sevier begins to coax her to come out of her shell. He advises tiny steps – a short walk, then a long walk, then a carriage ride, accept one invitation a week, etc. – until he finally convinces her to attend a house party at Bathvale Abbey. Violet loves her newly found freedom and independence – at least there is one thing she can appreciate about her husband.
Dr. Hugh St. Sevier is a French émigré who served with the English in the wars against Napoleon. It hurt him beyond belief to serve on the side against his countrymen, but he couldn’t support Napoleon. As a physician in the wars, he did his best to heal soldiers from both sides.
Sebastian, Marquess of Dunkeld was a Colonel in the English army – a war hero. He also had a history with Violet. Sebastian was totally besotted with Violet and asked her father if he could court her. Her father refused – and did even worse – he belittled Sebastian and told him Violet did as well.
At the house party, things begin to disappear. At first, it is small inconsequential items, but it quickly escalates. When the finger is pointed at Sebastian’s new valet, Upjohn, who has just gone through a severe trauma with severe head injuries, Violet knows they have to solve the mystery themselves.
The mystery and solution are convoluted with a perpetrator who has a Machiavellian bent and it begins to seem as if it won’t be solved. That is especially the case when the magistrate is bent on taking things at face value and carting Upjohn off to the Assizes. Luckily for Upjohn, Violet isn’t one to take things at face value and she has a very well-functioning curiosity.
I will say, I wasn’t a fan of the resolution, but at least Upjohn wasn’t hanged for the thefts.
I enjoyed this book and look forward to reading the second one in the series. Then, I’ll wait for the seventh to release to see if the triangle is resolved. That resolution, or not, will determine whether I continue. Again – that may not be important to you – and if it isn’t, you’ll love the entire series.