An aristocratic detective takes on murder and more.
Philomena Amesbury, Dowager Countess of Dunbridge, escaped a dull life of mourning her unloved husband by moving from England to New York City in 1907. Her Plaza Hotel abode is paid for by an unknown organization that wants to call on the detective skills she developed while rescuing an old friend from a charge of murder (Ask Me No Questions, 2018). She lives quietly along with Preswick, her faithful butler, and Lily, her multilingual, knife-wielding maid, until a note from Mr. X, as she calls her mysterious benefactor, alerts her to a visit from Mr. Luther Pratt, a wealthy man whose wife, Gwen, she’d seen at a ball at their house the night before. Now, in the wake of a fatal mishap, Gwen, knowing Phil’s reputation, has sent her husband to ask for help in averting a scandal. The dead man—Perry Fauks, scion of a wealthy industrial family and suitor for the hand of Agnes Pratt—was stabbed and pushed down a laundry chute. Even worse than the possible scandal is the likelihood that Fauks’ death will roil the financial waters of the already troubled stock market and banking industry. Phil promises to help Gwen, who’s smart, tough, and frail from asthma, but insists on calling the only honest police officer she knows. Even though she was a thorn in the side of DS John Atkins in her first case, he respects her skills and her ability to travel in circles closed to him despite his genteel appearance and manners. Phil and her team uncover plenty of motives for murder, from bad business deals to bad behavior with women. Was it business or pleasure that killed Fauks?
A complex mystery featuring an unconventional sleuth working in an era of unfettered greed.