An Extravagant Duplicity by Lynn Messina

An Extravagant Duplicity (Beatrice Hyde-Clare Mysteries, #11)Barbara’s rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Series: Beatrice Hyde-Clare Mystery
Publication Date: 1/13/23
Period: Regency – London
Number of Pages: 310

As usual, this author has provided us with an entertaining and well-crafted read. Our murderer is among an insanely dysfunctional family that will almost remind you of the old Keystone Cops movies. When you add Bea’s wild and wooly family into the mix, you have a recipe for total and utter chaos – along with some witty and humorous banter. As always, we have a lot of Bea’s internal dialogue to know what she is really thinking – and most of that internal dialogue centers around the fact that she is expecting a ‘cherub’ and is afraid she’s going to have to curtail her investigating. Oh! My! I sure do hope that isn’t the author actually thinking of ending the series.

Roger Dugmore, a man who is old and feeble, died when he was trying to get out of bed, fell, and hit his head on a table. Or is that what happened? You’ll know for sure after Bea and Kesgrave finish their investigation. Dugmore’s grandson, Viscount Ripley, asked for their help – mostly as a lark. You see, Ripley is very young, very naïve, very immature, and very determined to come to the notice of Mr. Twaddle Thum so he can be featured in his gossip column.

Bea is distracted by the news that she is ‘with child’ and initially misses an important clue. Thus, she believes this really is just a horrible accident – until Kesgrave shares what he has noticed. So, murder it is, and there are plenty of suspects with several grown grandchildren and a daughter all living in the home.

As the investigation progresses, they learn that grampa wasn’t the nicest of men. He ruled his family with an iron hand and had no compunction about blackmailing or otherwise coercing his own family into doing his bidding. With so many suspects and alibis floating around it seems almost impossible to find the solution. But, of course, they do.

While murder is a serious subject, the author always manages to slip in plenty of wit and humor along with side stories to make the darker topic more tolerable. As always, this story was rife with Americanisms – just in case you needed to know that. The characters are engaging and fun, and the side stories keep it really interesting. Again, as always, there is a lot of self-dialogue on Bea’s part – sometimes that causes me to skip some paragraphs – sometimes it doesn’t. At any rate, it is an enjoyable read 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.

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Avid reader/reviewer of historical romance and historical mysteries.

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