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Thursday, October 29, 2020

Review - A Death in Chelsea

This is a new historical mystery series.  I reviewed the first in the series, Murder in Belgravia (click here) a few months ago and now I am sharing my thoughts on the second novel in the series.

Author: Lynn Brittney

Copyright: March 2020 (Crooked Lane Books) 336 pgs

Series: 2nd in Mayfair 100 Mysteries

Sensuality: Mild

Mystery Sub-genre: Historical Mystery, Historical Police Procedural

Main Character: Chief Inspector Beech, head of a special task force

Setting: 1915, London

Obtained Through: Library

Cover blurb:  "In the dark days of World War I, an aristocrat's suspicious suicide propels a one-of-a-kind crime-fighting team into a sordid world of blackmail, betrayal, and tragic secrets.

When the phone rings at the Mayfair 100 exchange, the news is rarely good, and this time is no exception. The Duchess of Penhere's daughter, notorious society gossip queen Lady Adeline Treborne, has been found dead in her room in what appears to be a suicide--but her family suspects foul play.

The secret Mayfair team of amateur female detectives has been restlessly awaiting their next case, and this will prove one of their thorniest. When Dr. Caroline Allardyce performs an autopsy, she is able to conclusively prove that the woman was murdered. Lady Treborne had made many enemies through her vicious gossip column, so there's no shortage of suspects.

Supported by a cadre of professional police officers, the Mayfair women launch their investigation, but there's much more to this case than meets the eye. As they venture into a world that lays bare London high life at its lowest, the team soon begins to comprehend the danger at hand--and how this tangled web of treachery could ensnare anyone who gets too close."

Chief Inspector Peter Beech is an openminded police detective who has the vision of women aiding the police and heads up the unique team.  Victoria is a female lawyer who at one point had been "dating" Beech, but that ended and now they attempt working together.  Caroline is the female doctor on the team.  She is waiting for Beech to see her as more than a friend, but just may be ready to move on.  

Rigsby is the younger male of the team and the handsome one that women seem to flutter eyelashes at despite a scar from the war.  Tollman is an older and grizzled policeman that knows more about the goings on in London and who to talk to than most anybody else alive.  Tollman takes Rigsby under his wing and begins mentoring him.  Lady Maud is Victoria's mother and provides a large house as the team's headquarters.  Billy's mom, Elsie, and his Aunt Sissy provide some comic relief and are gems in the story.  We have the addition of Mabel Summersby, a pharmacist who works with Caroline and gets into the forensic side of the investigation.  

This proved a complicated and twisting investigation that kept my attention glued to the pages.  The ensemble cast each working the investigation from different angles made the pacing a steady driving force.  The climax is tense with a standoff and quite realistic.  The wrap-up shows the team bonding and ties up all the threads wonderfully.  

I have to say that Ms. Brittney is setting a high bar in this series.  The books are rich in period detail, the characters are all layered and engaging, the plots are just intricate enough without losing the reader, and the writing weaves it all effortlessly together for an engaging and memorable book.  If you enjoy historical mysteries, then this series is a must read.

Rating: Near Perfect - A must read , buy two copies: one for you and one for a friend. 

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