As always, I loved this book by T. E. Kinsey – it is witty, intelligent, well-written, and filled with wonderful characters and a puzzling mystery. While it can be read as a stand-alone if you want a fuller, richer experience you should at least read a few of the first books in the series. Lady Emily Hardcastle and Florence Armstrong (her maid/friend) have a very colorful background and you’ll learn all about it in the earlier books – which will make their ‘poking into’ police investigations much easier to understand. They were, after all, spies and certainly have the background for it.
It is Lady Hardcastle’s birthday and she, along with several friends, is celebrating by attending a play in Bristol. The Duke’s theater is featuring a comedy written by the brother of one of Lady Hardcastle’s friends. The first act was hilariously entertaining and after the curtain came down for the intermission, they could hardly wait for the beginning of the second act. Little did they know how exciting that opening would be – for there, on the stage floor, was the body of one of the stars of the play. No, it wasn’t part of the play – it was real. Luckily Inspector Sunderland was in attendance as part of Lady Hardcastle’s celebration and he quickly took over the case. He got everything in motion only to be replaced by the totally incompetent, bumbling, lazy, Inspector Wyatt. When Wyatt quickly arrests someone, everybody knows he doesn’t have the evidence needed to make a case – and it is probably the wrong person anyway.
Lady Hardcastle, Flo, and Flo’s twin sister (who is visiting) Gwen know they need to investigate on their own, but they have to keep out of Inspector Wyatt’s way. Wyatt has an exaggerated view of his skills and would not appreciate their interference. They use a ruse to gain entry to enter the theater and the company of actors and begin the investigation. Can the murderer be one of the actors? Is it the leader of the troop? What about the director? Then – there is a second murder. Obviously, it is related to the first – but how? Did that victim know something he shouldn’t have?
This is, as always, a highly entertaining, witty read, and I loved every word of it. I can definitely recommend it and I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.