Relative Fortunes

Lake Union: Amazon. Aug. 2019. 320p. ISBN 9781542005210. $24.95; pap. ISBN 9781542091695. $15.95. m.
DEBUT Julia Kydd is impatiently awaiting her 25th birthday so she can obtain her inheritance. She chafes at the restrictions placed on her as a woman in 1924 and is eager for the independence the money will grant her. Her half-brother Philip throws a wrench in her plans when he raises legal objections to Julia inheriting at all. To distract herself from her uncertain future, Julia starts to investigate the suspicious death of her friend Glennis’s sister, Naomi, who was even more unconventional than Julia. She campaigned for women’s suffrage and, even after the amendment passed, continued fighting for equal treatment of women. When she is found dead and all signs point to suicide, her wealthy family, fearing a scandal, attempt to cover up the cause of Naomi’s death. Julia, with Glennis’s urging and help, looks more closely, uncovering secrets and scandals.
VERDICT While the pace of this debut is slow at times, Benn has created a delightful sleuth, and readers will look forward to more mysteries starring this Jazz Age heroine. Recommend to readers of Carola Dunn’s Daisy Dalrymple and Kerry Greenwood’s Phryne Fisher and all those seeking a period-rich mystery.
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