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July 1910. Lady Hardcastle and her tireless sidekick Flo have finally embarked on a long-overdue seaside break. But just as they’re wavering between ice creams and donkey rides, their fellow guests start to go missing—and the duo find themselves with a hysterical hotel manager and a case to solve.
The first to disappear is Dr Goddard, a scientist doing something terribly top-secret for the government. Gone too are his strongbox and its mysterious contents. By the time Lady Hardcastle has questioned the horde of international guests, her number-one suspect has been dispatched in grisly circumstances—and then the others start vanishing too.
As the case begins to look like a matter of national security, Lady Hardcastle takes advice from her brother in the secret service. But could there be an even more personal connection at play? To solve the case, Lady Hardcastle may face a shocking discovery of her own.
January 1910. A journalist has been killed in a suspicious blaze. Everything points to a group of suffragettes, but the apparent culprit insists she is innocent.
When Lady Hardcastle receives a letter from a suffragette requesting her urgent help, the retired spy turned sleuth knows only she stands between an accused young woman and the gallows. Evidence at the scene makes Lizzie Worrel’s innocence difficult to believe, and with the police treating it as an open-and-shut case of arson, Lady Hardcastle faces a barrage of resistance as she tries to dig out the truth.
With her trusted maid and confidante, the formidable Flo, Lady Hardcastle sets off in pursuit of the truth as time runs out for the accused suffragette. Was she set up? And if so, is the real culprit a traitor to the cause—or part of a darker conspiracy?
Late October 1909, and the season of ghouls and things that go bump in the night has descended on the village of Littleton Cotterell.
Lady Hardcastle and her trusted lady’s maid, Florence, find themselves hosting a colourful cast of actors whose spooky moving picture, The Witch’s Downfall, is being shown to mark Halloween. But things take a macabre turn when the first night’s screening ends with a mysterious murder, and the second night with another…One by one the actors turn up dead in ways that eerily echo their film.
With the police left scratching their heads, Lady Hardcastle calls upon her amateur sleuthing skills to launch an investigation, with Flo’s able assistance. Surrounded by suspects both human and supernatural, Lady Hardcastle must use a little trickery of her own to unmask the murderer.
Spring, 1909, and Lady Hardcastle, amateur sleuth and all-round eccentric, is enjoying a well-deserved rest. But a week after a trip to the cattle market, Spencer Caradine, a local farmer, turns up dead in the pub, face-down in his beef and mushroom pie. Once again, it is up to Lady Hardcastle and her maid, Florence, to solve the case.
Armed with wit and whimsy, not to mention Florence’s mean right hook, the pair set out to discover what really happened and why. Was it poison or just ill luck?
As they delve further into their investigation, they encounter a theft where nothing is stolen, a séance with a troubled ghost and an ever-increasing number of Spencer’s family and friends who might just have motive for murder. One thing’s for sure: Lady Hardcastle has a mystery on her hands.
Revised edition: Previously published as The Spirit is Willing, this edition of In The Market For Murder includes editorial revisions.
September 1909, and Lady Hardcastle and her maid, Florence, have been invited to Lord Riddlethorpe’s country estate for a week of motor racing and parties. They both agree that it sounds like a perfectly charming holiday. But when one of the drivers dies in a crash during the very first race, they discover that what seemed like an uncharacteristic error in judgement may have a more sinister explanation…
Closer investigation reveals that the driver’s car was sabotaged—and the driver murdered. The local constabulary are quick to dismiss the case, but Flo and Lady Hardcastle are determined to find out just who has committed this dastardly act, and why.
As the pair begin to make enquiries of Lord Riddlethorpe’s servants and guests, it seems that, below stairs and above, there is more to this case than meets the eye. And, even in the quiet of the countryside, death is always just around the bend.
It’s Christmas 1909, and for once Lady Hardcastle—respectable gentlewoman, amateur spy—and her lady’s maid, Florence Armstrong, are setting sleuthing aside. They are invited to the festivities up at The Grange, as guests of Sir Hector and Lady Farley-Stroud.
But barely have corks been popped and parlour games played when a mysterious crime comes to light. Someone has broken in while the revellers were distracted and made off with a priceless pearl necklace. Lady Hardcastle and Flo are determined to catch the thief—but with so many Christmas guests encamped at The Grange, is it possible that the felon is hiding in plain sight?
With the clues stacking up, Lady Hardcastle bears down on her culprit. But just as the pieces come together, it begins to look as if there is something more devious afoot at The Grange…
Lady Emily Hardcastle is an eccentric widow with a secret past. Florence Armstrong, her maid and confidante, is an expert in martial arts. The year is 1908 and they’ve just moved from London to the country, hoping for a quiet life.
But it is not long before Lady Hardcastle is forced out of her self-imposed retirement. There’s a dead body in the woods, and the police are on the wrong scent. Lady Hardcastle makes some enquiries of her own, and it seems she knows a surprising amount about crime investigation…
As Lady Hardcastle and Flo delve deeper into rural rivalries and resentment, they uncover a web of intrigue that extends far beyond the village. With almost no one free from suspicion, they can be certain of only one fact: there is no such thing as a quiet life in the country.
Revised edition: This edition of A Quiet Life In The Country includes editorial revisions.