A chef suddenly finds herself acting as a detective in Jazz Age England.
Nell Drury is that rare bird, a female chef. Trained in London by Escoffier, she works in Kent at stately Wychbourne Court, home to Lord and Lady Ansley and three of their children, Lord Richard, Lady Helen, and the bookish Lady Sophy. Also in residence are the dowager Lady Ansley, Lord Ansley’s sister Lady Clarice, and of course a full complement of servants. As she prepares a dinner for the Ansley’s guests followed by a costume ball and a ghost hunt led by Lady Clarice, who’s devoted to the family spirits, Nell is happily surprised to learn that her former beau Guy Ellimore is the bandleader for the dance. But she’s less happy when Lady Clarice asks her to lead the second group of ghost hunters. Her distaste turns to horror when she discovers the body of Charles Parkyn-Wright, a friend of Richard’s who set him on edge by dancing most of the night with Richard’s love interest, the beautiful but unpleasant Honourable Elise Harlington. Annoyed herself when DI Alexander Melbray of Scotland Yard mostly ignores her ideas, Nell teams up with guest and neighbor Arthur Fontenoy, who offers to play Watson to her Holmes. Since Lady Ansley also wants her to unmask the killer, she agrees. In addition to making enemies because of his dealings with women, Charlie, as it turns out, has used his connections to deal drugs. A second death makes Nell and Melbray redouble their efforts to find the killer.
Suffering succotash! The feisty heroine Myers (Classic at Bay, 2016, etc.) places at the center of this new series has an affinity for food-based alliteration and a knack for discovering secrets. Like so many other cozies harkening back to the past, it supplies plenty of suspects and a surprise ending.