on 25 August 2000
The era of the 'Great House' and the lavish parties held in them are unfortunately, in the past. Thanks to Robin Paige, however, we can relive them vicariously, while being afforded the opportunity to solve a crime or two along the way.
This is the third of a delightful series, set in an exciting time -- the last few years of the previous century. Cameras have already proven their merits, soon it will be motor cars and after that, who knows?
Kate Ardleigh, an Irish-American orphan, has struggled to support herself writing 'penny-dreadful's' under the pseudonym of Beryl Bardwell. When she discovered to her great surprise that she had an aunt -- in England -- she set off for a visit. While she is there, her aunt dies, and suddenly, Kate is an heiress. As an independent woman, however, she refuses to give up her writing. It is while searching for background for her novels, that she first meets Sir Charles Sheridan in her first adventure, Death at Gallow's Green.
Charles is a scientist and photographer who won his knighthood for a celebratory photograph of Queen Victoria, and at first, he indulges Kate's curiosity as a novelty. It doesn't take long for either of them to realize the feelings go much deeper than expected. Now, when he is invited to Easton Grange, home of the Earl and Countess of Warwick along with the Prince of Wales and his entourage, Charles discovers that his older brother -- the heir -- is dying, childless. His plan to propose to Kate is thrown into disarray by a murder. Bertie instructs Charles to investigate, eliminating the necessity to call in the local police, which will certainly dismay Bertie's Mama - the Queen.
Historically accurate, this is an enjoyable deductive mystery, which will keep you guessing until the last moment. You won't want to miss the final author's notes about the 'Darling Daisy' of the title (in reality, the Countess) and you'll probably want to investigate the books in the bibliography. I did.
This is the third in a series of period mysteries written by a husband and wife team under a pseudonym. The books are well-written and well-researched, replete with period detail evocative of a bygone era.
The linchpin of this series is Kathryn Ardleigh, an independent American woman with English roots who has settled in England due to an inheritance. The character of Sir Charles Sheridan, who is most definitely enamored of the feisty Katherine, is becoming more prominent in the series, as he becomes more entwined into Katherine's life.
While both are houseguests at the Duchess of Warwick's country estate, a series of mysterious deaths bring Kathryn and Sir Charles closer together. As Sir Charles struggles with his feelings for Kathryn and the fact that he may soon become a Baron, the Prince of Wales privately commissions him to get to the bottom of what is going on in order to avoid a scandal that could involve the Prince and the Duchess should the matter become public.
Together, Kathryn and Sir Charles discover that not even those to the manor born are exempt from from perpetrating the foulest of deeds. They also discover a great deal about their feelings for each other. As with all cozy mysteries, it is not so much the mystery that is of import but the characters that revolve around the mystery. While the mystery is intriguing, it is simply the framework around which the characters evolve. Those who enjoy the historical cozy mystery genre will definitely love this series.
It is of interest that these books always seem to include a historical personage and/or event that is intertwined into the mystery at hand. The historical notes at the end of the book are most enjoyable, as they allow the reader to understand the reasoning and research that went into such inclusion. For those who enjoy history, this is an added bonus to these books.
on 18 July 2009
This is one of the best that I have read in this series. The Alberts
certainly do their homework, checking historical facts for all of this
series. Thoroughly recommend this one. I liked the way they created the
character of Edward VII, whilst making him likeable, his utter selfishness came through well. The lavishness of the Edwardian house
parties was well described, and the utter pointlessness of their existance.