A countess takes time from her lavish social whirl to solve a murder.
Clementine Talbot, the Countess of Montfort, thinks her most difficult tasks of the day will be to keep her excellent new cook happy, choose the right jewelry for a dinner party, and steer her husband away from a political argument with the party’s guest of honor, Winston Churchill. After dinner, Churchill accidentally interrupts an amateur singer’s performance, but that social gaffe is nothing compared to Clementine’s discovery of another guest, Sir Reginald Cholmondeley, with a knife thrust through his heart. The dead man is a close friend of the dinner’s elderly hostess, Hermione Kingsley, who’s quite undone over his stabbing. Despite Clementine’s luxurious lifestyle, she’s got a head on her shoulders. In fact, she and Edith Jackson, the housekeeper of the Montforts’ country estate, teamed up to solve a previous murder (Death of a Dishonourable Gentleman, 2015). The young detective inspector who handles the case warns Clementine to stay out of his business, especially since Churchill has ordered the guests at the disastrous dinner not to speak of it outside their own families. But Clementine’s as cagey as she is charming, and as she resumes her social rounds, she’s able to winkle out information about a flawed alibi, a missing footman, and Hermione’s paid companion, who was unaccounted for just after dinner. And Jackson asks discreet questions among Hermione’s servants and the staff of the orphans’ home that’s Hermione’s favorite charity. When the upstairs-downstairs duo uncover evidence of thwarted love and a cruel betrayal, they wonder if Cholmondeley’s death involved private revenge or issues of national security, as the clouds of another war with Germany gather.
A neatly crafted whodunit that drips with diamonds, titles, and scandals.