A visit to Lyme draws the sleuthing Darcy family into a difficult and dangerous situation.
The Darcys are in Lyme to enjoy the sea and meet Lt. St. Clair, who’s bringing them the chest of a Darcy cousin who died in a sea battle. Fitzwilliam, Elizabeth, their daughter Lily-Anne and Mr. Darcy’s sister Georgiana are walking near the famous Cobb when Elizabeth overhears a strange conversation that will later turn out to provide important clues. Later in the day, a ship explodes, and as they rush to get off the Cobb, they find a pregnant woman whose injuries apparently stem from her fall from a high wall. Her death and the identity of the baby’s father soon involve them in a strange case of smuggling, bribery and possibly murder. A diary and golden statue found in the chest of Darcy’s cousin provide more clues in an already tangled case. Georgiana finds herself attracted to both the bold Lieutenant and a wealthy baronet. Darcy approves of the second but regards the first with suspicion. Though the Darcys are determined to discover if their cousin was murdered by the smugglers, they find it difficult to distinguish friend from foe among their new acquaintances.
Bebris cleverly entwines the characters from Persuasion in the sixth of her mysteries (The Matters at Mansfield, 2008, etc.) based on Jane Austen’s beloved novels. The mystery, written in Austen’s style, conceals many suspects in a cloak of respectability.