A private investigator takes up a seemingly hopeless case.
It is 1840, and Liberty Lane has just turned down a job offered by Benjamin Disraeli spying on the more revolutionary elements of society with which she has great sympathy. Instead, she takes herself off to the home of Mr. Godwit, a magistrate who feels that a young man he and his two fellow magistrates have sent up for trial may be innocent of murdering the governess of a local family in the Cheltonham area. It is true that Jack Picton, a trade unionist, is probably guilty of something, just not murder. Picton has not helped his cause with his arrogant attitude and refusal to say where he was the night of Mary Marsh’s death. Liberty and her maid/sleuthing partner, Tabby, have no trouble digging up local scandals, including a broken engagement between Mary Marsh’s charge, Barbara Kemble, and Peter Paley, who recently vanished after his wealthy father refused to pay his mountainous debts. England’s class-driven society makes it difficult for Liberty to even suggest another candidate for the murder, but she plans on doing all she can to keep the unsympathetic Picton from the gallows.
The sixth in this highly enjoyable series (Keeping Bad Company, 2012, etc.) adds social commentary to a rich broth of historical tidbits and an excellent mystery.