MYSTERY

Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman

Minotaur: St. Martin's. Jan. 2015. 320p. ISBN 9781250052490. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9781466854277. M
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Readers of this debut set in Edwardian England will feel as though they've stepped into an episode of Downton Abbey, complete with murder and intrigue upstairs and downstairs. Lady Montfort's annual summer costume ball is the social event of the season. Planned in minute detail by Lady Montfort and dependable housekeeper Mrs. Jackson, the party is proclaimed a huge success until the next morning when Lord Montfort's troublesome nephew, Teddy, is murdered. A new servant girl and a headstrong young female guest have gone missing, too. Fearing her son may become a suspect after observing him fighting with Teddy the day before, Lady Montfort does some sleuthing with the help of Mrs. Jackson, and their investigation reveals dark secrets.
VERDICT Incorporating exquisite period detail into her well-mannered mystery, Arlen offers readers an engaging peek into the lives of upper and lower classes of early 1900s England combined with a little history interspersed. Historical mystery fans who want to know more about the period may wish to check out the author's Redoubtable Edwardians blog (tessaarlen.com/redoubtable-edwardian), which features articles about some of the colorful eccentrics of the era.

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