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by Clara McKenna

Pub Date: June 30th, 2020
ISBN: 978-1-4967-1778-8
Publisher: Kensington

A spirited American heiress who’s shocked the stuffy Edwardian aristocracy turns to detection once more.

Stella Kendrick’s social-climbing father has arranged her marriage to Viscount “Lyndy” Lyndhurst, whose financially strapped family needs an infusion of filthy lucre. The couple unexpectedly find themselves falling in love, but Stella is constantly criticized by Lyndy’s mother, Lady Atherly, who’d much prefer the beautiful, sly Lady Phillipa Fairbrother as a daughter-in-law. As Stella rushes off from a party, her beloved horse is bitten by an adder. Harvey Milkham, aka the snakecatcher, saves the horse but returns home to find his cottage destroyed by a fire he blames on Lord Fairbrother. Much to the annoyance of breeder George Parley, Fairbrother’s inferior pony wins the 1905 New Forest Pony Challenge Cup. So when Stella finds Fairbrother murdered while fishing with Lyndy, Parley is an obvious suspect. When Lady Phillipa is informed of Fairbrother’s death, she accuses Harvey even as she remains remarkably undisturbed. Watching Phillipa use one of Lyndy’s handkerchiefs to wipe away her crocodile tears, Stella wonders if she’s been mistaken in his feelings for her. Unwilling to see Harvey falsely accused, Stella puts her working relationship with Inspector Brown to good use. She and Lyndy nose around and shortly uncover plenty of surprising motives for murder.

Stock characters still offer oodles of charisma in a neat combination of mystery and romance.