The Counterfeit Heiress: A Lady Emily Mystery

Minotaur: St. Martin's. Oct. 2014. 304p. ISBN 9781250024695. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250024688. M
In London during July of 1897, Lady Emily and her husband, Colin Hargreaves, are in attendance at a ball hosted by the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. When a buzz begins that the reclusive world traveler Madame Estella Lamar is also a guest, Madame Cécile du Lac rushes to embrace her childhood friend but discovers an imposter, who flees the scene. Colin, trusted agent of the queen, and the equally clever Emily begin their investigation immediately and soon find the ersatz Estella dead by an unknown assailant. Alternating her story line between the current mystery and what happened to the true Estella, Alexander skillfully builds the tension as the action crosses from one perspective to the next and the intertwined truth is slowly revealed. For series fans, all their favorite characters have a part to play with a fairly big surprise at the end for one of the leading men.
VERDICT A few threads are left hanging and the conclusion comes along pretty quickly, but longtime fans will be pleased enough to spend more time with old friends. [See Prepub Alert, 4/21/14; see also Alexander's e-original Lady Emily holiday story, Star of the East, reviewed on p. 83.—Ed.]
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