A chance meeting on a Greek island leads to a murder investigation in London.
May 1841 finds private investigator Liberty Lane and her husband, Robert Carmichael, anchored off the island of Cephalonia as they honeymoon on a yacht. A dinner invitation from Matthew Vickery introduces them to Father Demetrios, Geoffrey Panter, his beautiful wife, Emilia, and George, a strikingly handsome blind youth Vickery claims is the son of Lord Byron, who famously died of a fever when he came to Greece to fight for independence. Vickery has plans to take George to England in hopes of curing his blindness and introducing him to a society that remembers his womanizing father as “mad, bad, and dangerous to know.” Next morning, George says that Panter, who must have thought he was in trouble during a morning swim, attempted to help him and probably drowned, his body swept out to sea. Robert must immediately go abroad after the Carmichaels return to London, and Liberty is hired by Vickery, whose introduction of George has set all London gossiping. Vickery senses they’re being watched. A woman who goes by the name Helena claims to be George’s mother. Retreating to the country house Vickery’s refurbishing, George begs Liberty to come along with her friend Amos Legge, who gave George riding lessons and is helping Vickery set up his stables. George has both a tutor and a reader, young Scot Hamish McCloud, but remains very restless and tells Liberty that he’s cursed. When Helena is found shot dead near the country home, Vickery does his best to cover it up, but it’s up to Liberty and her friends to uncover the secrets that just about everyone involved is determined to hide.
Peacock (Friends in High Places, 2015, etc.) gives her heroine plenty of scope for investigating a host of suspects, all tied to the enduring mystique of Lord Byron.