Set in the Downton Abbey era of post-WW1 England, this evocative historical series features Lady Phoebe Renshaw and her lady’s maid, Eva Huntford, solving crimes among the gentry, in a well-crafted mystery that will appeal to fans of Deanna Raybourn and Victoria Thompson.
A house party attended by fashion royalty becomes the backdrop for a murder that only Lady Phoebe Renshaw and her lady’s maid, Eva Huntford, can untangle ...
Amid the aftermath of the Great War and its hardships, it’s no wonder that many wish to rediscover life’s pleasures—parties, fashion, dancing. Still, Lady Phoebe and Eva are disconcerted when a small gathering at the home of Phoebe’s sister, Julia, becomes a far larger and more glamorous affair . . .
Julia has invited her favorite French fashion designer, Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, and Coco’s current beau, the Earl of Chesterhaven. Coco has brought an entourage of her own, including two models, and intends to use the gardens as a photographic setting for her latest creations.
Madame Chanel is as outspoken as she is talented, offering a scathing critique of Phoebe’s fashion sense. There is tense competition between the models as well. When one of the guests is found dead of smoke inhalation, it appears to be a tragic accident. But was a footman really to blame for mistakenly closing the fireplace flue, or is there a more sinister explanation?
Phoebe is determined to find out, despite the protestations of her sweetheart, Owen Seabright. Both above and below stairs, Phoebe and Eva uncover myriad motives—career ambition, romantic rivalries, and even deeper betrayals. For despite the surface beauty, there are ugly secrets in the world of Maison Chanel, ones that a killer will risk anything to protect.
Set in 1921, Maxwell's engrossing eighth Lady and Lady's Maid mystery (after 2021's A Deadly Endowment) takes plucky Lady Phoebe Renshaw and her intrepid lady's maid, Eva Huntford, to the Cotswolds, where Phoebe's sister, Julia, the Marchioness of Allerton, is hosting a house party. The guests include up-and-coming French fashion designer Coco Chanel, but unfortunately Coco has decided that Julia's estate would be the perfect place to stage a fashion shoot and has brought her entire entourage without consulting her hostess. Julia endures the imperious Coco and her battling crew—a caddish photographer, two miserable assistants, and two bitterly competitive models. When one of the models is found dead of smoke inhalation, Julia is quick to blame a servant for forgetting to open the flue in the woman's bedroom, but Phoebe is convinced it was murder. Phoebe and Eva make a great team, seamlessly working together above stairs and below stairs to uncover the truth. An evocative setting, realistic relationships, and a nicely crafted plot more than make up for the unlikely murderer simply confessing at the end. Fans of lighter historicals should be satisfied. Agent: Evan Marshall, Evan Marshall Agency.