A female detective helps find the family jewel.
Thanks to a generous gift from her aunt, Frances Black (The Poisoned Chalice Murder, 2018, etc.) doesn’t need to earn her living as an investigator. But her partner, Tom Dod, suggests that it might be in her best interest to go down to Devonshire and help the Edgerton family find out what happened to the diamond their late grandfather kept in his safe before his death. Not only could she benefit from some time in the country, he argues, but her divorce from Michael Black might proceed more smoothly if the court had less reason to believe the suggestion of a recent anonymous correspondent that her suit was prompted by her own interest in Tom rather than by her husband’s mistress’s impending delivery of Michael’s child. The Edgertons, effusive to the point of mania, clasp Fran to their collective bosom, lending her evening attire so that she can be properly clad for their sumptuous family dinners at Sunnyside House, decking her out as Juliet to attend a fancy dress ball at a neighboring estate, answering her extensive inquiries about their grandfather’s last day, and chauffeuring her about the countryside to interview neighbors about how an elderly invalid might have pushed his own wheelchair over a cliff into the sea. In the end, the Edgertons seem less interested in finding out how their grandfather died, or even where the diamond has got to, than in finding a way to integrate Fran into their family. Nevertheless, she persists, to the delight of readers who want more than just a cozy.
The delightful interplay between sleuth and suspects makes this an all-around winner.