When a party thrown by the reclusive Lord Unsworth is marred by murder, his loyal secretary, Mr. Quayle, must unravel a web of red-herrings and old family secrets in this "English country house mystery infused with humor, verve, and plenty of surprises." (Kirkus Reviews)
"I do not wish to disturb you, your grace, but there is a body in the garden…"
England, 1925. When a strange young woman is found murdered on the grounds of Unsworth Castle, the Duke and his family are astounded at first, but quickly become enraged when the police begin asking all sorts of impertinent questions.
And when suspicions dare to fall on one of their own, it is up to Mr. Quayle, Lord Unsworth's exceedingly efficient secretary, to find the true culprit and save the House of Unsworth from scandal and ruin.
Set in 1920s England, Slayton's appealing debut, a series launch, introduces Mr. Quayle, a self-effacing but astute amateur sleuth who serves as the secretary to the Earl of Unsworth. The earl is anticipating a joyful celebration at his castle to mark his niece Fanny's 18th birthday when he gets upsetting news from his stoic butler, Perkins: "Forgive me, Your Lordship... I did not wish to disturb you, but there appears to be a body in the garden." The corpse is that of a woman apparently unknown to the earl and any of the family and friends assembled for the festivities. Unsworth asks Mr. Quayle to assist the police in identifying the victim and her killer while protecting the family from as much scandal over the crime as possible. Slayton tosses in another murder, as well as the hunt for a legendary treasure trove with elements reminiscent of Conan Doyle's "The Musgrave Ritual." Slayton gets everything right—the fairly-planted clues, plot twists, and characters who are more than stereotypes. P.G. Wodehouse fans will want to have a look. (Self-published)