For Frances Wynn, widow to the late Earl of Harleigh, life has a cosmopolitan flavor of late. No sooner has she sent her mother and daughter off on a shopping trip to Paris than she and her fiancé, George Hazleton, are socializing with visiting members of the Russian royal family. Yet amid this whirlwind, scandal also comes calling when Inspector Delaney turns up outside Frances’s house with a young French woman with a shocking claim: she is Mrs. George Hazelton.
As the future Mrs. George Hazelton, Frances assumes the woman is either lying or demented. “Mrs. Hazelton,” aka Irena, makes other outrageous statements. Among them, she insists that she is the illegitimate daughter of Russian royalty, that she has been abducted and held for ransom many times, and that someone is sending her threatening letters. When George arrives, he clarifies that he is certainly not married to Irena—though he can confirm her royal parentage. But even as he agrees to investigate whether Irena’s life is in danger, her claim proves tragically true. Irena is found strangled in Frances’ garden.
To uncover a killer—and clear their own names—Frances and George must determine which of Irena’s outlandish stories were based in fact, and who stood to benefit from her death. And as the search reaches a shocking conclusion, they may find that villainy lurks all too close to home . . .
Earlier this year I read the second and third book in this series, and absolutely fell in love with Frances. So of course I requested the fourth book from Netgalley.
I have to say I was quite nervous to start it though. I hate when the ‘stop the wedding, he is already married’ trope is thrown in. Especially when I actually like the romance, which is rare. Thankfully George resolved the issue very switfly, so I could actually enjoy the presence of his ‘wife’. She was incredibly annoying, but supposed to be so making it quite entertaining.
Frances was superb as always. There is something about her ‘voice’ that I thoroughly enjoy. She cares somewhat about what society thinks about her, but not enough to let it hinder her in what she wants to do. She is cunning, effective, forceful, clever and witty. I also really appreciated the adventure aunt Hetty was sent on. I’m so happy for her.
I suggested that Aunt Hetty and I check Miss Teskey’s room.
“But wouldn’t the police have locked the door?
“Oh, good thinking. I’ll get the key from Mrs. Thomspon first.”
“Don’t you suppose Delaney locked the door to keep us out?”
“I’m certain of it, but if you want to investigate a crime, you can’t allow such trifling matters stop you.”
The writing is very easy to get into, and I finished this book in a single day. It was just fun and lighthearted, whilst also incredibly intriguing with interesting plot lines and a fascinating mystery. I was genuinly quite surprised by the ending, but it worked really well.
Overall, a great addition to a wonderful series. I loved it, and already cannot wait for the next book. It looks like we will be getting a wedding soon!