A socially superior private detective seeks a child long ago given up for adoption.
Kate Shackleton travels from Leeds to London at the request of Lady Coulton, who's asked her to find Sophia, the baby she gave away to her nanny’s sister in 1901, after she had an affair while her husband was off in South Africa. Even today, Lady Coulton can’t acknowledge Sophia’s existence, but ever since the nanny died, she’s been anxious about how her daughter is faring. Back home in Leeds, there are problems at the reputedly haunted library in which Kate has an interest. A battle is raging to determine whether the library will stay or move to new premises. When Kate discovers a monkey hiding in her car, she realizes it must belong to the local organ grinder, who’s soon found deathly ill in the library basement along with a valuable book and the body of Dr. Potter, a mathematician also connected to the library. Inspector Wallis seems sure the organ grinder is guilty, but Kate, who has little faith in his skills, adds the murder to the case she already has in hand. As it turns out, the two may well be connected. Kate’s inquiries reveal that Sophia may be working in a library; indeed, she may be the assistant recently sacked from the Leeds Library after being accused of theft. Kate, who was herself adopted into the well-to-do family of a chief constable, is determined to track down Sophia but must investigate past scandals and present-day love triangles before she can determine who is the real Sophia.
Brody (Murder on a Summer’s Day, 2016, etc.) has the style of the classic British cozy down pat. Plenty of distinctive characters, charming animals, and twists and turns add up to a delightful, though not particularly taxing, mystery.