When her 16-year-old lady’s maid is unjustly accused of stealing a piece of jewelry, a highborn English girl defies the strict hierarchical rules of her household by investigating both above- and below-stairs to find the true culprit.
Lady Beth is about to turn 12. To mark this auspicious occasion, a grand party has been planned at Chatswood Manor, her beloved 15-year-old cousin Gabby is coming to visit, and she comes into the Elizabeth necklace, a family heirloom. But all does not go smoothly for the high-spirited, fair-minded and good-hearted heroine. Cousin Gabby, who now insists on the more mature moniker of Gabrielle, has become a demanding spoiled snob and is clearly no longer interested in young Beth. And of course, adult readers and young historians know something the characters are blind to: World War I is about to erupt, marking the beginning of the end of the era of the great English houses. The mystery itself is rather mild, yet Whitby generates a goodly amount of page-turning suspense. Despite the fact that Beth comes across an old diary that, coupled with hints from addled Great-Grandmother Cecily, is the setup for more mysterious secrets to come, the book provides solid closure and ends on a gratifying note.
Entertaining mystery lite set in a Downton Abbey world. (Historical mystery. 8-12)