An unconventional debutante enlists the help of a lady’s maid and a cat to solve a murder.
Time has taken its toll on Danby Hall and its inhabitants. Emmaline, Lady Avebury, launches a desperate plan to save the family home. She hopes to arrange a marriage between her son, Patrick, and Annabel Clarke, an heiress from San Francisco. Against all odds, beautiful, vivacious Annabel seems charmed by the reclusive Patrick. After a long series of teas, garden parties, and dinners, Lady Avebury hopes their engagement will be announced at the upcoming masked ball. But disaster strikes. At a formal dinner preceding the ball, handsome new footman Jesse Fellows offers world traveler Richard Hayes a dish that causes him to become violently ill and fall down dead. Chief Inspector Hennesy is suspicious of Patrick, who keeps a variety of toxins in his botanical laboratory. So Patrick’s sister, Lady Cecilia Bates, who’s just completed her first season out without making an engagement, enters the fray. She forms an unlikely friendship with Annabel’s maid, Jane Hughes, fueled by their shared affection for Jack, Jane’s cat. With Jane as her eyes and ears, Lady Cecilia tracks the complex world downstairs, including the elusive Fellows, housemaid Rose and her suitor, Paul, and stern butler Redvers. But Cecilia, knowing that wealth and class are no barrier to murder, keeps an equally close eye on those upstairs as well.
Agatha Christie meets Jane Austen in a promising series debut.