Mrs. Jeffries and the Feast of St. Stephen (Mrs. Jeffries Series #23)

Mrs. Jeffries and the Feast of St. Stephen (Mrs. Jeffries Series #23)

4.6 9
by Emily Brightwell
     
 

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A Yuletide dinner in West Brompton should have been a festive occasion, until the host, wealthy Stephen Whitfield, dropped dead before the second course. Now Mrs. Jeffries and the busy sleuths must rally in support of their Inspector-especially since the clues are harder to find than a silver sixpence in a plum pudding.  See more details below

Overview

A Yuletide dinner in West Brompton should have been a festive occasion, until the host, wealthy Stephen Whitfield, dropped dead before the second course. Now Mrs. Jeffries and the busy sleuths must rally in support of their Inspector-especially since the clues are harder to find than a silver sixpence in a plum pudding.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Brightwell's unobtrusive 23rd Victorian historical mystery (after Mrs. Jeffries and the Best Laid Plans) adds a dash of holiday spirit to the adventures of Insp. Gerald Witherspoon and his housekeeper, Mrs. Jeffries. At the height of the Christmas season, Witherspoon is called in when Stephen Whitfield, a member of the upper class, is poisoned by foxglove slipped into his wine. Jeffries's below-stairs crew of irregulars track down those who were present when the fatal drink was poured, collecting rumors and gossip concerning the dead man and his family and friends. They soon find that Whitfield belonged to a tontine (an investment group where the last one alive collects the dead members' contributions) whose membership has been steadily dwindling. The writing lacks the wit of other Victorian series, such as Peter Lovesey's Sergeant Cribb novels, and the characters often border on cliché, but readers looking for a light diversion will be satisfied. (Oct.)

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Kirkus Reviews
Sudden death at a Victorian Christmas party. Inspector Witherspoon is no fool. But who would guess that his sleuthing servants are the secret of his success? They all pitch in when Stephen Whitfield ends his dinner party by keeling over in his soup. Luckily, the doctor called from across the street is police surgeon Dr. Bosworth, who's had experience with foxglove. The poison was in a bottle of pricey wine, a gift that guests Basil and Maria Farringdon donated in return for the awful port Whitfield always doled out as Christmas presents. The fortunate guests all stuck to sherry while Whitfield guzzled the Bordeaux. Mrs. Jeffries, Witherspoon's housekeeper, duly musters her veteran troops (Mrs. Jeffries and the Best Laid Plans, 2006, etc.), who head out to question their sources and learn more about the suspects, including Whitfield's sister-in-law and a number of old friends. Their most interesting discovery is that Whitfield was one of the last three surviving members of a tontine whose last surviving member stood to inherit all the money the participants originally invested. Although it seems a likely motive for murder, the other two survivors are wealthy men, whereas Whitfield had only a life interest in his former wife's fortune. A weary Witherspoon is ready to give up when his canny servants come up trumps. A pleasant, if unexciting, whodunit with a surprise ending.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780425224274
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
10/07/2008
Series:
Mrs. Jeffries Series, #23
Pages:
272
Sales rank:
198,321
Product dimensions:
4.10(w) x 6.70(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Emily Brightwell is the author of the "Mrs. Jeffries" series of mysteries. She lives in Lake Forest, CA.

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