When amateur sleuth detective Kate Shackleton receives a dawn telephone call from her cousin James, his news soon snaps Kate into wakefulness. The India Office seek her on-the-spot help in finding a Maharajah, last seen on the Bolton Abbey estate. He has with him a hugely valuable diamond.Investigative successes and good family connections put Kate in the highly trusted category.
Perceived as 'establishment', Kate feels an outsider in her sympathies. One thing she is sure of: her own skills and insights. Qualities that she is sure will help her unravel the latest disappearance on that fateful summer's day . . .
Likable, well-drawn characters lift Brody's agreeable if at times slow-moving fifth Kate Shackleton mystery (after 2015's A Woman Unknown). James, a cousin of Kate's employed at the India Office, rings her early one morning to ask her help in finding Maharajah Narayan Halkwaer of Gattiawan, who has gone missing from Bolton Abbey, the Duke of Devonshire's vast Yorkshire estate, where the duke will be hosting a large grouse-shooting party in a few days. Among the guests are the maharaja's English fianc e, set to become his second wife, as well as the maharaja's first wife and son, not to mention a member of the royal family. Descriptions of the lavish life enjoyed by the Indian elite give a tantalizing glimpse into a foreign world, but even with the discovery of a body, the plot never generates much tension. Still, fans of Maisie Dobbs and Daisy Dalrymple will enjoy the authentic period detail.