Lady Montfort has been planning her annual summer costume ball for months, and with scrupulous care. Pulling together the food, flowers and a thousand other details for one of the most significant social occasions of the year is her happily accepted responsibility. But when her husband's degenerate nephew is found murdered, it's more than the ball that is ruined. In fact, Lady Montfort fears that the official police enquiry, driven by petty snobbery and class prejudice, is pointing towards her son as a potential suspect.
Taking matters into her own hands, the rather over-imaginative countess enlists the help of her pragmatic housekeeper, Mrs. Jackson, to investigate the case, track down the women that vanished the night of the murder, and clear her son's name. As the two women search for a runaway housemaid and a headstrong young woman, they unearth the hidden lives of Lady Montfort's close friends, servants and family and discover the identity of a murderer hiding in plain sight.
In this enchanting debut sure to appeal to fans of Downton Abbey, Tessa Arlen draws readers into a world exclusively enjoyed by the rich, privileged classes and suffered by the men and women who serve them. Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman is an elegant mystery filled with intriguing characters and fascinating descriptions of Edwardian life—a superb treat for those who love British novels.
Set in 1912, Arlen's lively if flawed debut centers on the murder of Teddy Mallory, found hanging from a gameskeeper's gibbet on the grounds of Iyntwood, Lord Montfort's country estate, the day after the annual summer ball. Teddy was Lord Montfort's wastrel nephew. Lady Montfort, the mistress of Iyntwood, teams with Edith Jackson, her housekeeper, to do some amateur sleuthing. The subsequent disappearances of a housemaid and a guest complicate the case, though how they are related to the murder if at all is unclear. Frequent reminders of the unusualness of the two women's cross-class alliance may annoy some readers. And the introduction of a boorish Scotland Yard detective who enjoys being rude to the gentry seems like overkill. He stands in marked contrast to the local chief constable and his respectful investigation. Mystery fans eager for yet another look at the quasi-feudal system that prevailed in England before WWI will be most rewarded.
Death Of A Dishonorable Gentleman
This was a delightful mystery to read. I enjoyed the diversity of characters as well as the plot. I look forward to the next book .
This book kept me guessing up until the final pages! Tessa Arlen has created a wonderful cast of characters, all very realistic and many of them with highly plausible motives for murder. I so enjoyed the thrill ride this book provided. I read until late into the night because I simply could not put it down. Countess Clementine and her trusted housekeeper Mrs. Jackson make an unusual but highly effective sleuthing team. I very much look forward to Ms. Arlen's next book, released in 2016.