30th August 2020. 4 stars.
It’s no secret that I prefer private detectives and sleuths to police procedural crime fiction. It’s much more challenging for a sleuth to solve a murder, especially when the killing is in 1789 and you’re a woman.
But that’s exactly what Ottilia Draycott must do when a marchioness is found murdered in her bed. It doesn’t help when the marchioness’s husband, Lord Polbrook, fled the house during the night. His mother Sybilla steps into the household to restore calm with her companion, Ottilia.
From the moment Ottilia sets foot in the house, sparks start to fly. Direct, determined and masterful at dealing with people under duress, she makes an immediate impression. She’s soon delving into the secrets and suspicions upstairs and downstairs, following a twisting trail, strewn with the usual deceptions and lies. While she ferrets away inside the house, rumours and accusations are rife outside as news spreads.
I thoroughly enjoyed the story, driven at a good pace by Ottilia’s superlative performance and humour. The characters are engaging and believable. The plot has enough twists and turns for mystery lovers, and there’s an undercurrent of romance to add a little spice to the story.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical murder mysteries and a memorable sleuth.
When Emily Fanshawe, Marchioness of Polbrook, is found strangled in her bedchamber, suspicion immediately falls on those residing in the grand house in Hanover Square.
Emily’s husband – Randal Fanshawe, Lord Polbrook – fled in the night and is chief suspect – much to the dismay of his family.
Ottilia Draycott is brought in as the new lady’s companion to Sybilla, Dowager Marchioness and soon finds herself assisting younger son, Lord Francis Fanshawe in his investigations.
Can Ottilia help clear the family name? Does the killer still reside in the house?
Or could there be more to the mystery than meets the eye?