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by Joanna Challis

Pub Date: Nov. 9th, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-312-36716-9
Publisher: Minotaur

A second adventure for Daphne du Maurier and her sister Angela.

When you’re in the early days of your career as a writer, everything is grist for your mill, even an invitation to an isolated country home. Somner House is home to Lord Max and Lady Kate Trevalyan. Max is a war hero who’s become addicted to pain relievers that have made his behavior erratic. Kate is a restless beauty who’s having an affair with struggling artist Josh Lissot. Their current household includes not only Daphne and Angela but Max’s brother Rod, who manages the estate and lives nearby in a romantic semi-ruined tower; gossip columnist Sir Marcus Oxley; and Max’s cousin Arabella Woodford, who’s in love with Rod. When Max is found dead with his face smashed in, Lissot is arrested. Daphne, who’s already had some sleuthing experience (Murder on the Cliffs, 2009), is unable to resist the mystery, even though staying on in Somner House may trap them for the winter. When her fellow sleuth and love interest Major Browning turns up, she’s both exasperated and pleased. Daphne, Oakley and Browning investigate the curious happenings and uncover secrets that provide the motive for Max’s murder.

The anemic mystery indicates that this installment is best approached as a romantic look at the young Daphne before she became a famous author.