Divorce, murder and hanky-panky in post–World War I England.
Kate Shackleton is a private investigator, a war widow and a woman of means, thanks to her adoption by a well-off family. Her assistant, Mr. Sykes, introduces her to Mr. Fitzpatrick, who wants to know what his wife, Deirdre, is doing while he’s at work. Sykes had gotten Deirdre off on a shoplifting charge, but now she’s up to something very different. Deirdre’s mother is dying, and she needs money for her care. Her marriage has become so miserable that she craves escape. So she’s found a source of both income and adventure acting as the other woman in divorce cases. Her job requires no more than that she show up at a hotel and be seen in bed with the gentleman seeking the divorce. Unfortunately, she awakes one morning to discover that Everett Runcie, her latest client, is dead. Runcie had planned to provide evidence to help his wealthy American wife, Philippa divorce him. He didn’t want his long-term mistress, Caroline Windham, to be involved, even though everyone who’s anyone has known of their affair for years. Kate’s romance with Scotland Yard DCI Marcus Charles has cooled, but Marcus is quickly handed the murder. Now Kate has commissions from both Fitzpatrick—to find his missing wife—and Philippa Runcie—to look into the murder. Although Marcus asks for her help, his reluctance to discuss the case with her naturally fuels her desire to discover the killer before he does.
Brody (Murder in the Afternoon, 2014, etc.) continues to show why she’s one of the best at re-creating the atmosphere and language of classic golden-age British mysteries.