MYSTERY

The Mitford Scandal

Minotaur: St. Martin’s. (Mitford Murders, Bk. 3). Jan. 2020. 352p. ISBN 9781250316806. $26.99. M
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In the third entry in her excellent series focusing on the colorful Mitford family (The Bright Young Dead; The Mitford Murders), Fellowes brings to life the heady, turbulent times of 1920s–1930s Britain and Europe. World War I has ended, and World War II has not yet begun, and readers know that the Mitfords and their compatriots are blithely living out the last days of an era. Narrator Louisa Cannon, lady’s maid to Diana Mitford, astutely chronicles the travels and travails of the Mitford household. She accompanies Diana, the most beautiful of the six daughters, to Europe when she marries Guinness heir Bryan. Louisa proves to be a superior amateur detective who solves seemingly unrelated murders—one in England, and another in Paris. Tensions abound, as the leisure classes disdain others, including Louisa, who clearly possesses superior intelligence and social acumen. Indeed, her ability to relate to individuals from different social strata enables her to solve the murders.
VERDICT It is hardly surprising that Fellowes, author of Downton Abbey companion books and niece of Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes, has skillfully captured the essence of an era and a family. Perfect for admirers of Rhys Bowen’s “Royal Spyness Mystery” series. [See Prepub Alert, 7/8/19.]

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