'A Dickensian glow pervades this immensely satisfying novel. Hugely enjoyable' James Runcie, author of 'The Grantchester Mysteries'
'Saunders's prose is precise and a pleasure to read. The plot twists and turns, and Laetitia is a warm and engaging heroine' The Times
The first in the delightfully cosy and clever mystery series featuring private detective, Laetitia Rodd.
Winter, 1850. Mrs Laetitia Rodd is the impoverished widow of an Archdeacon, living modestly in Hampstead with her landlady Mrs Bentley. She is also a private detective of the utmost discretion.
When her brother Frederick, a criminal barrister, introduces her to Sir James Calderstone, a wealthy and powerful industrialist, she is tasked to investigate the background of an 'unsuitable' woman his son intends to marry – a match he is determined to prevent.
In the guise of governess, she travels to the family seat, Wishtide, deep in the frozen Lincolnshire countryside, where she soon discovers that the Calderstones have more to hide than most. As their secrets unfold, the case takes an unpleasant turn when a man is found dead outside a tavern, and Mrs Rodd's search for the truth takes her from elite drawing rooms to London's notorious inns and its steaming laundry houses.
Perfect for fans of The Thursday Murder Club, M.C. Beaton, Jessica Fellowes and James Runcie.
Laetitia Rodd, the narrator of this lively series debut set in 1850 from British author Saunders (Night Shall Overtake Us), was left in reduced circumstances by her clergyman husband's death. Now living with her working-class friend and landlady, Mary Bentley, in the London village of Hampstead, Laetitia conducts confidential inquiries for her barrister brother, Frederick Tyson, to supplement her income and exercise her quick wits. Influential peer Sir James Calderstone hires the siblings to investigate the background of Helen Orme, the beautiful but mysterious widow whom his son, Charles, wants to marry against James's wishes. In the guise of a governess, Laetitia travels to Wishtide, the Calderstone Lincolnshire estate, where she discovers that not only Mrs. Orme but the Calderstones themselves are hiding scandalous secrets. When Mrs. Orme is found murdered and Charles is accused, Laetitia strives to save him from the gallows. Saunders explores Victorian sexual mores in a well-evoked historical world marred only by some overly complicated subplots.