Mystery Books for Sale

[ Home ]
[ About | Reviews | Search | Submit ]


by Dianne Freeman
Kensington, June 2018
264 pages
ISBN: 1496716876

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

American Frances Wynn, now Countess of Harleigh, contends with far more than launching her sister in London: doubts about the cause of her husband's death; a spate of burglaries; legal hassles from her brother-in-law; as well as the proximity of George Hazelton, a man who knows more about the death of her husband than almost anyone else.

Frances Wynn has finally finished the mandatory year of mourning after the death of her husband Reggie, Count of Harleigh. She has had more than enough of her in-laws, whose only concern for her is connected far more to her bank account than her person. Frances has taken a house in Belgravia, which is incredibly convenient; her mother is sending Lily, her sister, to stay with Frances for her first London season. There is, of course, a downside. Frances's next-door-neighbor turns out to be George Hazelton, the man who helped Frances when Reggie had the bad taste to die in his lover's arms. In his own house. While Frances was there. Not a nice man, Reggie. George, on the other hand, is a very nice man. Frances finds herself in an uncomfortable spot - she has to trust him, he is incredibly helpful, and she can't decide if he is interested in her or playing her. It doesn't help that she finds herself increasingly attracted to him, she thinks. She isn't sure - she's never felt like this before, so she can't put a name to the emotion.

There are other complications for Frances and Lily. Someone has send an anonymous letter to the police, suggesting that Frances poisoned Reggie. Lily attracts the interest of three suitors, all of whom must be vetted to make sure they are truly interested in Lily and not in the fortune she is assumed to have; there is the distinct possibility that there IS no fortune, which, if true, must not get out into the public arena. Frances has her own financial issues; her brother-in-law Graham is taking her to court in an attempt to gain control of some monies that are not part of the Harleigh estate (which could sorely use an influx of cash). Then there are the burglaries. Three separate instances have occurred, all at society events, and one of which specifically implicates Frances. Inspector Delaney is connected to several of these sub-plots, to great advantage both for the story line and for Frances.

Fans of Georgette Heyer will almost certainly be delighted with Freeman's book. Frances doesn't have quite the panache of THE GRAND SOPHY yet she still manages to take care of Lily and the myriad of other issues that confront her with a certain élan and skill. The sub-plots are believable. Freeman ties up most of the loose ends with subtle skill. Her misdirection with regard to the ultimate reveal was superb; I didn't see it coming. Frances has a sense of humor, which helps her get through some trying moments. George, as any astute reader will recognize fairly quickly, is meant for Frances. Getting Frances to realize this will take at least another book or two, which is fine with me. I look forward to the further adventures of Frances.

§ I have been reading and reviewing mystery fiction for over a quarter of a century and read broadly within just about all genres and sub-genres. I have been a preliminary judge for the Malice Domestic/St. Martin’s Press Best First Traditional Mystery Novel Contest for at least 25 years. I live in Northern lower Michigan with my spousal unit, one large cat, and 2 fairly small dogs.

Reviewed by PJ Coldren, December 2014

[ Top ]



Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

[ About | Reviews | Search | Submit ]
[ Home ]