An Edwardian beauty is driven to extremes when her fiancé dallies with a coquette.
In a fit of pique, Lady Rose Summer shrieks that she’ll kill Dolores Duval if she persists in drawing the attention of dashing Harry Cathcart. Soon thereafter, Dolores is found shot dead in her Kensington flat with Lady Rose standing over her, gun in hand. The ensuing scandal is so appalling, and Harry so tight-lipped about his relationship with the dead woman, that Lady Rose and her maid Daisy scamper to the Essex coast. Harry and his man Becket track them down, but they’re soon off again, this time sent by Rose’s outraged parents to St. Mary’s Convent in Oxford to learn humility and comportment. Harry hies to the rescue again, this time hustling the girls off to Paris with an aged auntie as chaperone while he tries to resolve Dolores’s murder. Who sent her threatening letters? Who stole her black pearls? Who was she really—a Parisian doxy or a cockney bawd? Matters get murkier when Dolores’s confidante, Madame De Peurey, has her throat slit, her brother hangs himself in gaol and Lady Rose gets pitched into the Seine, only to be saved once more by Harry.
Chesney, whose Lady Rose escapades (Sick of Shadows, 2005, etc.) might well have been written by Barbara Cartland, fares much better as M.C. Beaton, author of the Agatha Raisin and Hamish Macbeth mysteries.