An Edwardian family’s quiet life is shattered by murder.
It is 1911. A new king awaits the crown in London, suffragettes are fighting for the right to vote, and Russian refugees are raising money for a revolution. In the Challoner household, daughter Kitty is preparing to be introduced to society while her older cousin Bridget secretly helps the suffragettes as she awaits entry to Cambridge. Kitty’s beautiful Russian-born mama, Lydia, is riding in the park with her constant escort, Marcus Villiers, when she’s shot dead from a distance. There was much more to Lydia than the pampered society matron she appeared to be. Assisted by her secretary, Hester Drax, Lydia, under a nom de plume, was a published author, and she was deeply interested in her Russian background even though she and her father had escaped when she was very young. DCI Gaines and DS Inskip have their work cut out for them, but as always, they suspect the husband. Louis Challoner becomes a subject of particular interest when his pistol goes missing from the safe where he keeps it. A recent shootout between Russian revolutionaries and the law makes the police especially interested in Lydia’s Russian connections. Marcus admits he was keeping an eye on Lydia at the request of the government but maintains that Kitty’s the one he loves. Kitty’s sleuthing forces both her father and Miss Drax to make unwilling revelations. Which of the secrets in Lydia’s own life caused her death?
Eccles (After Clare, 2012, etc.) once again combines history and romance with a clever mystery filled with a wide array of suspects.