Once again, Mum recommended a fabulous series – she has in fact been on a roll of book suggestions for me, I have just read four murder mysteries in a day (I am on holiday) and loved them all! This one is number four in the series, it was my introduction to Dianne Freeman and I didn’t feel I needed to have read the previous ones.
It’s one of my favourite periods in history with the glitz, the glamour, the society balls and American heiresses in England! This heiress is affianced to her beloved George Hazleton, which makes a nice change, and the two are both experienced investigators at this point in the series. The local constabulary is both frustrated and impressed by their previous experience with them so, when mystery and murder knock on their door, they work with the two to solve the case.
I loved the humour, the light-heartedness and the banter running through the dialogue but, don’t be surprised to find a decent mystery beneath it all! Russian royalty, spy plots and kidnapping underpin this one and it’s well-thought-through and intriguing! It’s a five out of five on the en-JOY-ment scale and highly recommended!
P.S. I have now also read book one, and loved it! Onto book two and three!
I’m already looking forward to the next instalment in the series. Yes, it was that good. I have read the others in the series and enjoy the characters, the plot twists and the reparte that are evident.
The main character’s understanding of the constraints of society she is forced to live by, the way she still manages to build the relationships she values, clear reputations of those close to her and solve the murders that are challenging the police make for an engaging read. It’s quite a surprise to see Alicia (Frances’s husband’s lover) and Frances working together, in fact agreeing on just what the best way forward could be.. Where will this story go next? I think I hear wedding bells?
I highly recommend this cosy, murder mystery novel.
We received complimentary copies of the book from Kensington Books through NetGalley. The opinions expressed in these reviews are completely our own.
From the back cover:
In Dianne Freeman’s lighthearted mystery series set in Victorian England, the American-born Countess of Harleigh uncovers more deadly intrigue among the uppercrust…
For Frances Wynn, widow to the late Earl of Harleigh, life has a cosmopolitan flavor of late. No sooner has she sent her mother and daughter off on a shopping trip to Paris than she and her fiancé, George Hazleton, are socializing with visiting members of the Russian royal family. Yet amid this whirlwind, scandal also comes calling when Inspector Delaney turns up outside Frances’s house with a young French woman with a shocking claim: she is Mrs. George Hazelton.
As the future Mrs. George Hazelton, Frances assumes the woman is either lying or demented. “Mrs. Hazelton,” aka Irena, makes other outrageous statements. Among them, she insists that she is the illegitimate daughter of Russian royalty, that she has been abducted and held for ransom many times, and that someone is sending her threatening letters. When George arrives, he clarifies that he is certainly not married to Irena–though he can confirm her royal parentage. But even as he agrees to investigate whether Irena’s life is in danger, her claim proves tragically true. Irena is found strangled in Frances’ garden.
To uncover a killer–and clear their own names–Frances and George must determine which of Irena’s outlandish stories were based in fact, and who stood to benefit from her death. And as the search reaches a shocking conclusion, they may find that villainy lurks all too close to home…