Barbara’s rating: 4 of 5
Series: Countess of Harleigh Mystery #1
Publication Date: 6/28/18
Period: Victorian – 1899 London
Number of Pages: 290
I started this series by reading the 3rd book first – because that is the one I had. I enjoyed it so much that I continued and read each subsequent book in the series as it came out. I’ve enjoyed all of them so much that I decided to go back and read the first two books in the series. I wondered if I would enjoy the first two less because I already knew where things were headed. Well, the answer is – it actually enhanced my enjoyment because of the anticipation and excitement of awaiting what would happen.
Frances Wynn, American-born Countess of Harleigh, finds herself a widow at the ripe old age of twenty-seven. While she had the misfortune to be a bit infatuated with her husband before they married, they weren’t a love match, and what he loved was her money. It now seems her brother-in-law and sister-in-law are just as grasping as Reggie was, and they are determined to keep her underfoot and control her fortune. Now that the year of mourning is over, she is determined to wrench herself, her daughter, and her fortune away from the new earl and his wife.
Almost as soon as she gets settled into her new London home, she receives word her sister and aunt are on their way from America to stay with her during the season. She’s both delighted and dismayed.
Someone has it in for Frances because almost as soon as she gets moved in, a police detective shows up on her doorstep asking questions about the death of her husband. It seems they’ve received an anonymous letter saying that the Earl of Harleigh may not have died by natural causes and they might want to look at his wife for the crime. Who could bear such animosity? Surely not her brother-in-law! Who then?
Frances has her hands full trying to juggle her sister’s three suitors, a police detective, her in-laws, and her new neighbor, George Hazelton. George is one of two other people who know the circumstances of Reggie’s death and it embarrasses Frances to come face-to-face with him. Yet, she needs his friendship and his help.
This was a fun and entertaining read. I loved the wit and humor even when the circumstances were serious. You’ll chuckle when you read the circumstances of Reggie’s death and the aftermath.
I listened to the audiobook version of this book and I enjoyed the voice of the narrator. Her delivery, however, was a bit choppy on occasion. The voices she used for the different characters were each distinct from the others.
I can definitely recommend this read and, should you choose to read it, I hope you will find it as entertaining as I did.