Death at the Manor
The tortured spirits of the dead haunt a Regency-era English manor—but the true danger lies in the land of the living in the third installment in the Lily Adler mysteries, perfect for fans of Deanna Raybourn.
Regency widow Lily Adler is looking forward to spending the autumn away from the social whirl of London. When she arrives in Hampshire with her friends, the Carroways, she doesn’t expect much more than a quiet country visit and the chance to spend time with her charming new acquaintance, Matthew Spencer.
But something odd is afoot in the small country village. A ghost has taken up residence in the Belleford manor, a lady in grey who wanders the halls at night, weeping and wailing. Half the servants have left in terror, but the family seems delighted with the notoriety that their ghost provides. Intrigued by this spectral guest, Lily and her party immediately make plans to visit Belleford.
They arrive at the manor the next morning ready to be entertained—only to find that tragedy has struck. The matriarch of the family has just been found killed in her bed.
The dead woman’s family is convinced that the ghost is responsible. Lily is determined to learn the truth before another victim turns up—but could she be next in line for the Great Beyond?
Schellman's excellent third Regency mystery featuring widow Lily Adler (after 2021's Silence in the Library) takes Lily from London to Hampshire for an extended stay with an aunt, Eliza Pierce. Eliza's village is buzzing about the gray-garbed female ghost said to haunt Belleford, the derelict manor owned by the Wright family. Thomas Wright, a restless bachelor who lives with his sister, Selina, under their widowed mother's thumb, relishes the attention the veiled specter commands. While Thomas gives Lily a tour of the ghost's usual haunts, Selina discovers their mother dead in her bedroom. Mrs. Wright's bruised chest and agonized expression indicate foul play, but her room was locked from the inside with the only existing key. Unlike the Wrights and the villagers, rational Lily doesn't hold the "gray lady" responsible for the death. Attractive widower Matthew Spencer helps her probe the family and the few servants who haven't fled Belleford in fear. Schellman ably interweaves appealing developments in Lily's personal life, a classic locked-room puzzle, and a nuanced look at period society. Regency lovers will be enthralled.
Engaging and Intriguing
Death at the Manor is the third Lily Adler mystery series book. Set in Hampshire, this book is a delightful read and will appeal to fans of historical mysteries. The protagonist, Lily Adler, instantly grew on me with her sharp observational skills and level of detail. The supporting characters, particularly Lord and Lady Carroway, are memorable, and their interactions flow well throughout the book. Matthew Spencer is a charmer, and his chemistry with Lily is unmissable. The plot itself is intriguing, with the matriarch of the Wright family found smothered to death in her bed along with a supernatural twist of a weeping ghost. Katharine has done a splendid job presenting a good mix of narration and dialogue. A 4-star read!
I look forward to reading more of Katharine's work.
A thank you to NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books for providing an advanced readers copy. This honest review is left voluntarily.