A SUSPENSE MAGAZINE BEST BOOK OF 2020
Perfect for fans of Tasha Alexander and Rhys Bowen, Katharine Schellman's debut novel is sure to delight.
London 1815. Though newly-widowed Lily Adler is returning to a society that frowns on independent women, she is determined to create a meaningful life for herself even without a husband. She's no stranger to the glittering world of London's upper crust. At a ball thrown by her oldest friend, Lady Walter, she expects the scandal, gossip, and secrets. What she doesn't expect is the dead body in Lady Walter's garden.
Lily overheard the man just minutes before he was shot: young, desperate, and attempting blackmail. But she's willing to leave the matter to the local constables--until Lord Walter bribes the investigating magistrate to drop the case. Stunned and confused, Lily realizes she's the only one with the key to catching the killer.
Aided by a roguish navy captain and a mysterious heiress from the West Indies, Lily sets out to discover whether her friend's husband is mixed up in blackmail and murder. The unlikely team tries to conceal their investigation behind the whirl of London's social season, but the dead man knew secrets about people with power. Secrets that they would kill to keep hidden. Now, Lily will have to uncover the truth, before she becomes the murderer's next target.
Set in 1815, Schellman's enjoyable debut and series launch introduces widow Lily Adler, who has moved to London from Hertfordshire. The night she arrives, she attends a ball at the lavish home of Lady Serena Walter, a former schoolmate. She's escorted by naval captain Jack Hartley, her late husband's closest friend, and introduced to London society, including West Indian heiress Ofelia Oswald. Out for a breather in the garden, Lily overhears two men arguing and then a gunshot. The dead man is Augustus Finch, a working-class West Indian suitor of Ofelia who has followed her to London, vowing he will soon be rich. When Lily sees Lord Walter pay a magistrate to suppress the inquiry, she fears that the nobleman is involved in the crime and feels compelled to investigate. After evidence in Finch's rooms suggests that he was blackmailing someone powerful, the shrewd Ofelia and effervescent Jack join Lily in the hunt for the culprit. Schellman's colorful detective trio and skillful use of historical fact will appeal to fans of Catherine Lloyd.