It's September 1909, and Lady Hardcastle and her maid, Florence, are staying at Lord Riddlethorpe's country estate for a week of motor racing and parties. The week of fun and frolic takes a wrong turn when one of the drivers dies in a crash during the very first race.
The local constabulary is quick to rule it an accident, but close inspection reveals that the dead man's car was sabotaged. Since Lady Hardcastle and Florence are getting a name for themselves when it comes to solving mysteries, Lord Riddlethorpe asks them to do a little investigating, but once they begin asking questions above stairs and below, there's more to this case than meets the eye.
This series is so much fun! If you're in the mood for a light-hearted, Downton Abbey-esque series that always has a good whodunit to solve, I recommend T.E. Kinsey's Lady Hardcastle mysteries. I was really looking forward to Death Around the Bend because I'd get to read about country house parties and the early days of auto racing. The added bonus is the presence of Lady Hardcastle's maid, Florence Armstrong, who lets readers meet the people downstairs as well as those who above who get to swan about in fancy clothes all day.
The mystery is a good one, although the misdirection was not completely successful. I knew Lady Hardcastle was barking up the wrong tree, and I was right, but the identity of the killer did surprise me. As the two intrepid sleuths worked through their long list of suspects, someone else dies, and they fear their investigation may turn into "detection by attrition."
As good as the mystery may be, it's the characters and the humor that I can't get enough of. The banter between Lady Hardcastle and Flo is brilliant, and I lost it when "a pas de deux through the servants' hall with a bewigged badger" was mentioned. Kinsey is also helpful for those of us who are not familiar with the correct pronunciation of the surname "Featherstonehaugh." Give up? You should pronounce it "Fanshaw." Those crazy Brits...
In the mood for a good puzzle to solve and some light-hearted fun? You can't go wrong with T.E. Kinsey's Lady Hardcastle mysteries. The first one is A Quiet Life in the Country, and each book in the series is a gem.
Death Around the Bend by T.E. Kinsey
Thomas & Mercer © 2017
eBook, 318 pages
Historical Mystery, #3 Lady Hardcastle mystery
Source: Purchased from Amazon.