Lady Kathryn and her husband team up to solve a mysterious death during an autocar and balloon race that began on their estate. While Sir Charles experiments with the novel theory of fingerprints to help determine the culprit, Lady Kathryn uses her observations of human nature and knowledge of the local village people to help solve the crime. This is an interesting step back into a supposedly simpler time; we are even in on the meeting of Mr. Rolls and Mr. Royce, who later team up so well to market the motorcar which combined their two names. A murder in a historical setting is still a murder, and the truth is exposed cleverly by Lady Kathryn and her very scientific husband. The story is also enlivened by Sir Charles' experience as a balloonist and Lady Kathryn's wild drive in an early model of a Peugeot. And, of course, there is also a local village woman, descendant of a witch who supposedly could fly, who develops her own flying ointment which is part of the resolution to this engaging mystery.
This is the fourth 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 main characters are engaging, and with each passing book, the reader becomes more fully engaged with their lives. 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.
The series now revolves around Lady Kathryn and her husband, Sir Charles Sheridan. Newly married, the inquisitive duo are now living in Kathryn's ancestral home at Bishop's Keep. When they agree to host an automobile exhibit and race with a hot air balloon show, attended by those most involved in the burgeoning auto industry, little do they know that murder and mayhem will soon follow.
When Sir Charles, an amateur scientist and heralded photographer, joins forces with his wife, Kathryn, an author of mysteries, they manage to unravel the secret of the death at Devil's Bridge, using their combined talents. Together, they are a formidable investigatory team, indeed.
It is of interest that these books always seem to include a historical personages 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. In this case, they provide a lot of information about the early auto industry and those who were pivotal to its future success. For those who enjoy history, these end notes are an added bonus to these books. Those who enjoy the historical cozy mystery genre will definitely love this series.