Clare McKenna returns with the third book in a historical cozy mystery series sure to appeal to fans of Alyssa Maxwell and Anna Lee Huber.
With her wedding to Viscount “Lyndy” Lyndhurst just days away, strong-willed ex-pat Stella Kendrick is the talk of Edwardian England—and the focus of a deadly mystery!
Between ornate bridal gown fittings and meetings with Lyndy’s distant relatives, Stella finally feels less like an out-of-place American and more like a respected aristocrat. Everything changes as the arrival of an anonymous gift and return of her overbearing father cast a dark shadow over the festivities, conjuring difficult memories and new fears . . .
Tensions intensify when a daytrip to Southampton ends with a suspicious stranger getting trampled by a horse-drawn cab. Before anyone can explain why the victim possessed a newspaper clipping about the upcoming ceremony at Morrington Hall, tragedy strikes again, this time resulting in a murder that turns Stella’s world completely upside down while implicating one of Lyndy’s well-regarded family members . . .
Stella and Lyndy rush to connect two very different crimes and identify the guilty culprit hiding among elite wedding guests. But as the couple blows the lid off of scandalous secrets, they realize that catching this killer—and living to tell the tale—may prove as impossible as closing the class divide.
Set in 1905 Hampshire, McKenna's uneven third Stella and Lyndy mystery (after 2020's Murder at Blackwater Bend) finds Kentucky heiress Stella Kendrick just days away from her wedding to Viscount "Lyndy" Lyndhurst at Morrington Hall, the Lyndhurst family estate. The receipt of an anonymous wedding present and the arrival of Stella's vulgar, braggart father creates tension, as does the failure of a champion racehorse, a part of Stella's dowry, to win an important race. During a trip to Southampton, Stella witnesses a cab accident that kills a man, who oddly turns out to have a newspaper clipping about the upcoming wedding. A murder at a historic castle follows that implicates a member of Lyndy's family. The two appealing leads are fully fleshed out, but secondary characters, like Stella's father and Lyndy's haughty mother and sister, amount to caricatures. Repetitive descriptions and recounting of past events at times pad the narrative, though the pace is brisk enough to hold readers' interest until the deus ex machina ending. This is not the place to start for newcomers.