Regency widow Lily Adler has just started to feel settled into her new London home when her semi-estranged father arrives, intending to stay with her while he recovers from an illness. To placate and avoid him, she takes his place in a social visit with Lady Wyatt, a woman Lily doesn’t know. But when Lily arrives for her second visit, she finds the household in an uproar: Sir Charles, Lady Wyatt’s much older husband and a friend of Lily’s father, is dead in his library. All signs indicate that he tripped and struck his head on the mantelpiece. But when Bow Street constable Simon Page is called to the scene, he suspects that Sir Charles was murdered. Mr. Page was there when Lily caught her first murderer, and he trusts her insight into the world of London’s upper class. With the help of Captain Jack Hartley, they piece together the reasons that Sir Charles’ wife, sons, and nephew might have wanted him dead. But everyone who might have profited from the old man’s death seems to have an alibi. With no clear suspect, the trio nearly conclude that the death was an accident after all… until Lily receives a mysterious summons to speak with one of the Wyatts’ maids, only to find the young woman dead from poison when she arrives. Mr. Page believes the surviving family members are hiding the key to Sir Charles’ death, and it isn’t long before Lily realizes that her father may know what it is. To uncover the truth, Lily must convince the father who doesn’t trust or respect her to help catch his friend’s killer before anyone else in the Wyatt household dies.
The first Lily Adler book was also one of my first historical mystery book that wasn’t Sherlock Holmes based and made me fall in love with the genre. So of course I requested the second book when it became available on Netgalley. And I loved it just as much again.
In this series we follow Lily Adler, a young widow in the upper class of Regency London. Together with the best friend of her late-husband, the mixed race Captain Jack, she finds herself involved in yet another murder case… this time that of a family friend.
The fact that Lily is a young widow gives her an unique position in society. She doesn’t have to worry as much about decency, can have male friends (such as the very charming Jack) and can go about unchaparoned. But she also has some very charming and handsome young men excited when she goes out of mourning… Lily is clever and cunning, as well as forcefull and kind. She doesn’t shy away from walking around a dangerous part of town at night, but also isn’t naïve enough to leave her pistol at home when doing so. She will lie when she has to, but doesn’t enjoy doing so. And she does Not let her father tell her what to do in her own home, no matter how unwomanly she may be. Bascially, she is great. I also love the friendship she has with Jack. Although I wouldn’t be surprised it will turn into more later on in the series, I hugely appreciate it when two characters can have a really strong, non-romantic relationship as well. And Jack and Lily are great together.
The mystery itself is put together brilliantly. We constantly feel like we are almost touching the solution yet are just missing that one piece of vital information to make all fit together. The way Lily manages to bring it all to a conclusion is done just superbly.
Another aspect in this book that I greatly appreciate is that the police detective is very capable himself as well. It isn’t like in some other series where our brilliant hero(in) has to solve the case otherwise the police in their stupidity will just arrest the wrong person. No, Lily and Jack are very much working together with the police, and use their positions in society to get into places our detective would have struggled with.
I was so happy to spend some more time with Lily and already cannot wait to pick up the next book in the series, whenever that comes out. If you like a good (historical) mystery, this is a series you should not miss out on!