'Laetitia Rodd is a warm and engaging heroine' The Times
For readers of The Thursday Murder Club, M.C. Beaton and James Runcie, The Mystery of the Sorrowful Maiden is the charming third mystery in Kate Saunder's series about Laetitia Rodd, the indomitable Victorian lady detective.
In the spring of 1853, private detective Laetitia Rodd receives a delicate request from a retired actor, whose days on the stage were ended by a theatre fire ten years before. His great friend, and the man he rescued from the fire, Thomas Transome, has decided to leave his wife, who now needs assistance in securing a worthy settlement. Though Mrs Rodd is reluctant to get involved with the scandalous world of the theatre, she cannot turn away the woman in need. She agrees to take the case.
But what starts out as a simple matter of negotiation becomes complicated when a body is discovered in the burnt husk of the old theatre. Soon Mrs Rodd finds herself embroiled in family politics, rivalries that put the Capulets and Montagues to shame, and betrayals on a Shakespearean scale.
Mrs Rodd will need all her investigative powers, not to mention her famous discretion, to solve the case before tragedy strikes once more.
Praise for the Laetitia Rodd Mystery series:
'A witty, genteel tale of secrets, lies and hidden gold... Enormous fun' The Times
'With a well-crafted plot, an engaging protagonist, and astute nods to the literature and theological squabbles of the period, this is a perfect novel for a summer afternoon' Guardian
'A Dickensian glow pervades this immensely satisfying novel. Hugely enjoyable' James Runcie, author of the 'Grantchester Mysteries'
'Pure delight' Sunday Times
Set in 1853, Saunders's entertaining third Laetitia Rodd mystery (after 2019's The Case of the Wandering Scholar) finds Laetitia, genteel London private investigator, an archdeacon's widow, and the very epitome of respectability, considering taking on the case of Sarah Transome. Sarah's husband, celebrated actor-manager Thomas Transome, seems set on expelling his wife, who's the mother of his three grown daughters, from their home. Laetitia decides to accept, as she puts it, "one of the saddest cases I have ever encountered, though it was not sad to begin with. In true theatrical style, the programme commenced with a farce and ended with a tragedy." While visiting the theater district, Laetitia encounters Insp. Thomas Blackbeard of the Metropolitan Police, who has come to investigate a body found beneath the long abandoned, burnt-out shell of the King's Theatre. While Laetitia looks into this decade-old death, another man is murdered, leading her to consider that the two events might be connected. Well-defined characters, an intricate plot, and a beguiling narrator make this a winner. Fans of Victorian historicals will be pleased. Agent: Caradoc King, A.P. Watt (U.K.).