Hijinks for a young lady just out of the orphanage school room off to see the world and make her place in it. Who knew murder could make me snicker, laugh and snort like that? I swear if Alice’s Wonderland got loose in an English country manor house then this story is what it would look like- insanely fun characters, situations, and exotic animals thrown in for bonus thrills. I thought this author’s Madcap series was high amusement, but this latest release rivaled them. In fact, there was a cameo appearance of Philbert’s poetry present.
The story opens with Miss Lucy Anne Trotter accepting the position as governess to the niece and nephew of Lord and Lady Sedley of Rudhall Manor. Just a few months in, Lucy is bored and wishes for something- anything- to happen, but what transpired next was not exactly her idea of pleasant excitement. After she watches the landing of a hot air balloon onto the village green operated by the famous Lord Adair in a shocking robe and slippers, she makes her way slowly back to the manor just knowing she would be scolded by Lady Sedley for being late. To her surprise, she is accused of stealing the Sedley jewels and if that were not enough she becomes the prime suspect in the murder of Lord Sedley. Lord Adair is asked to investigate with the priority being to find the jewels, but Lucy doesn’t trust him so determines to do her own detecting since it is her neck in the noose.
So detect she does. Spying at keyholes, running about in disguise to stalk the family, ransacking rooms, avoiding Lord Peter’s menagerie of pets, taking the accusing looks from the other servants and running across the suave, handsome Lord Adair at every turn when her detecting efforts get her in worse trouble reminding her that she can trust him. Maybe, but maybe not. There is still a murdering thief on the loose after all.
I found Lucy a splendid comic heroine and enjoyed getting the story narrated by her. She had this trick of blurting something off the wall out of her mouth when she wished for a subject change and she let her imagination run wild when she didn’t want to hear someone prosing on in a boring fashion including the dashing yet enigmatic Lord Adair. For all the craziness going on, there was still a strong plot thread that kept moving through it all. It’s not a terribly difficult murder mystery, but it offers a bit of a challenge with Lucy’s own antics causing the distractions and the fact that pretty much everyone had motive and somewhat the opportunity. The other characters were so colorful and engaging too even the ones that weren’t likeable. Lucy’s detecting methods were off the hook. The only niggle I really had was that the story ended abruptly. It was finished in the sense that the case was over, but I guess I was waiting for a bit something more than what did finish the last page. Maybe there will be more installments as Lucy hones her detecting talents and I would love more from the capable and charismatic Lord Adair.
All in all, it was a delight through and through. Those who enjoy their mysteries laced with humor and don’t mind a historic backdrop should grab this one up for a light fun cozy mystery that will have you laughing in no time.
My thanks to the author for the opportunity to read this story in exchange for an honest review.
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