From New York Times bestselling author Shelley Noble, Ask Me No Questions is the first in the Lady Dunbridge Mystery series featuring a widow turned sleuth in turn-of-the-twentieth century New York City.
A modern woman in 1907, Lady Dunbridge is not about to let a little thing like the death of her husband ruin her social life. She’s ready to take the dazzling world of Gilded Age Manhattan by storm.
From the decadence of high society balls to the underbelly of Belmont horse racing, romance, murder, and scandals abound. Someone simply must do something. And Lady Dunbridge is happy to oblige.
About the Author
SHELLEY NOBLE is the New York Times bestselling author of Lighthouse Beach, The Beach at Painter’s Cove, and Whisper Beach. A former professional dancer and choreographer for stage, television and film, she’s a member of Sisters-in-Crime, Mystery Writers of America, Women’s Fiction Writers Association, and Liberty States Fiction Writers. Noble lives at the Jersey shore and is always on the lookout for lighthouses and murder plots.
Read an Excerpt
"Ay, Dios mío."
Philomena Amesbury, Lady Dunbridge, glanced at her lady's maid, who stood beside her, clutching the rail of the SS Oceanic, her eyes wide.
"Only speak in English or French, Lily," Lady Dunbridge reminded her. "And try not to gape. It's merely another large city, much like London."
The steamship had slowed to a crawl as tugboats navigated it up the busy Hudson River toward Chelsea Pier, and it was a remarkable view. The skyline of tall buildings passed before them like Edison's motion pictures, just as exciting and more than a little daunting. Lady Dunbridge could sympathize with the girl's amazement.
Lily bobbed a satisfactory curtsey. "Pardon, madam."
Not bad, Philomena thought, considering she'd been a lady's maid for less than a week, after Lady Dunbridge had snatched her from the jaws of the London immigration police who had caught her attempting to stow away on the ship.
At the last minute, Lady Dunbridge's own maid had refused to board. Stuck between a rock and the deep blue sea, and after much argument from her traveling companion, Preswick — her devoted if somewhat long-in-the-tooth butler — and promises from Lily not to run away the minute they landed in New York, Lady Dunbridge had paid her passage. Admitting defeat, Preswick spent the seven days at sea transforming the girl into a semblance of a lady's maid.
He'd done an excellent job with a very apt pupil.
Lady Dunbridge smiled encouragingly at the young woman, who was now her servant and confidante.
She was a tad too exotic looking for a lady's maid, dark hair and flashing eyes with a Renaissance painting complexion, which appealed to Philomena.
She'd stubbornly refused to tell her name — Philomena decided to call her Lily because of her complexion. Nor where she'd come from — certainly not the slums of London or Barcelona — or her age. She was possibly younger than she looked. Regardless, she was younger than Philomena, who was leaning closer to thirty than twenty.
She was a little rough around the edges but not vulgar, and very willing to learn. Most surprising, she was fairly fluent in three languages. Now if she kept her promise not to bolt as soon as they landed ... "Speak in English or French ... but listen in Spanish."
Lily frowned, then flashed her a grin. "Oui, madame. I understand completely."
Ah, thought Lady Dunbridge. There was hope for this trip yet.
The ship finally maneuvered into the wharf and the engines were cut, the constant rumbling giving way to the clatter of carts and carriages on the uneven paving stones. Newspaper boys and urchins cried for coinage. A marching band was playing, and she caught a glimpse of placards rising above the heads of people waiting on the street. Burly dockworkers hefted trunks and crates to their backs and lugged them through the waiting crowd, while cart boys darted in and out of the bystanders with a dexterity that belied their small statures.
There were even two automobiles, one black and one yellow, the latter she knew from Bev's letters must belong to Reggie Reynolds. Of course, Reggie would want to show off his new automobile. He had promised to meet them at the pier and drive them to the Reynoldses' brownstone on East Sixty-Eighth Street, while their coachman conveyed her servants and baggage in the town carriage.
The wind whipped up, rustling the ostrich plumes of Philomena's hat, and she held it to her head with one hand while she tried to catch sight of Bev or Reggie. It was impossible in the crush of people.
The captain approached her and bowed. "Lady Dunbridge. It has been a great pleasure to have met you. I hope you enjoy your visit. May I?" He offered his arm and personally escorted Philomena and her entourage of two to the gangplank, where the purser urged everyone toward the pier and the carte de visite agents. The captain kissed her hand before bidding her adieu.
But at the bottom of the gangplank, Lily balked. "What if they won't let me in? What will I do?" "Just be calm and look lovely," Philomena reminded her. "You have a perfectly acceptable carte de visite."
"A somewhat unorthodox carte ...
And perhaps not altogether legal?" he added.
Philomena shot him a warning look. "It was drawn up, albeit hastily, by a member of the immigration service." At least she was fairly certain he worked for that branch of government. "No matter, where there's a will ..." Lily certainly had the will; Philomena had merely given her the way. They should get on just fine.
They stopped at a customs desk and had their cartes stamped — including Lily's. Philomena sent the two off to claim the baggage and hire a carter to bring their trunks to the carriage. Then she followed the other passengers through the dark wooden reception hall to the street.
As she stepped out from the tall, wide arches, she was hit with a cacophony of sound and a sea of faces. Old and young, clean and dirty; friends meeting friends, families hoping to find their relatives — all were intently watching the opening to the wharf, seemingly oblivious of the traffic and noise around them.
Bev, petite and naturally blond, stood at the very front, accompanied by a servant, liveried in maroon and gold.
Philomena's smile widened. She was always amused by these American affectations, but she loved Bev, and if Bev wanted a driver who looked like he just stepped out of some moldy aristocratic castle — hers, for example — Bev should have him.
She was dressed in the latest mode as always. Lady Dunbridge's own plumed hat paled beside the clamshell Bev wore rakishly angled over one eye. Its green and beige aigrette feathers made a delicious comment on the turquoise bolero jacket and skirt she was wearing with such panache. Philomena remembered seeing its sister design in the Paquin showroom on her last trip to Paris. No longer behind the times, these Americans.
Phil raised her hand to wave. Bev waved back, then abruptly turned away and hurried off in the opposite direction and quickly disappeared from view.
Taken aback, Philomena looked to the servant, who was staring after his mistress. He roused himself and hurried to Philomena.
"Lady Dunbridge?" The driver yelled as the band marched closer and the noise grew louder.
"I am," she yelled back.
"Mrs. Reynolds has" — he darted a look in the direction Bev had taken — "has gone to fetch Mr. Reynolds and the auto. I'll wait here and transport your trunks and servants in the carriage." He gestured over the crowd to a well-appointed carriage in the care of two footmen.
"Thank you ..." she shouted.
His voice rose over the nearing oompahs. "Bentley, ma'am."
"Bentley," she acknowledged at the top of her lungs. His name rang out in the sudden quiet as the band tumbled to the end of what Philomena now recognized as "Onward, Christian Soldiers." "My butler and maid should be arriving short —"
A pop, like a champagne cork, cut through the air. Someone was already celebrating. Except the pop was followed by a high-pitched, piercing scream. Not champagne — a gunshot.
"That's Mrs. Reynolds!" Bentley spun on his heels and ran through the crowd toward the yellow touring car.
"Bev!" cried Lady Dunbridge. She lifted her skirts and raced after him.
They had to fight their way through the crowd, half of whom were fleeing in all directions. The band and sign-carrying women marched past, cutting off their progress.
"The Women's Temperance Union," Bentley said as he danced around the edges of the parade looking for a way through them. The music started up again. Bentley plunged through. Lady Dunbridge plunged in after him.
When she made it to the other side, her hat was pitched forward due to coming into contact with a tuba, the nest of ostrich plumes covering both eyes. And she'd lost a button from her kid glove where it had caught on the stick of one of the placards.
A crowd was pressed around the touring car, but there was no sign of Bentley or Bev. Philomena pushed the ostrich plumes from her face and squeezed through to the front.
She was met by a horrible tableau.
Reggie Reynolds was sprawled across the backseat, one foot on the floor, one arm dangling down from the seat, and his head cradled among the skirts of a woman's lap. Blood oozed past his vest, edged the lapels of his sack coat, and spread across the white shirt beneath.
Bev clutched the open automobile door and stared at the scene.
"Why? Why did you do it, Reggie?" cried the woman in the auto, who was looking decidedly pale and awkward beneath her wide-brimmed platter-sized hat. "Why did you kill yourself?"
"Murderer!" Bev cried, and reached out as if to reclaim her husband, who seemed to Philomena beyond reclaiming.
The woman shrank back. She was rather pretty, with light brown hair poufed in a pompadour style. One sleeve of her pastel walking suit was smeared with blood where she was clutching Reggie. And when Philomena looked closer she could see the splatter of what must be blood across the bodice. Her stomach hiccupped in revulsion.
The crowd pressed in. Questions and speculations tumbled through the group.
"What's happened?" "Is that Reggie Reynolds?" "He's got a nag running at Belmont next week." "A real winner, they say." "Witness the evils of drinking!"
"It's that Florodora girl. What's her name?" "Mimi LaPonte."
A Florodora girl. So this was Reggie's latest mistress. Leave it to him to be found dead in the arms of a cheap chorus girl from a popular stage play. She certainly looked the part. Blond — not natural — expensively but not entirely tastefully dressed. Her tears flowed freely, streaking her makeup. She didn't attempt to extricate herself from the body.
"And that must be his wife!" All eyes turned to stare at Bev.
"She musta' shot him."
"Nah, it was the girl. She musta' done him in."
"Oh, why, Reggie, why did you kill yourself?" the Florodora girl repeated.
Just in case anyone had missed it the first time, thought Philomena. She'd had enough experience to recognize an opportunist when she saw one, even if she was pinned by a dead man and covered in his blood.
The crowd moved closer to the car and Philomena broke from her stupefaction. She grabbed Bev. At first she fought, then realizing who it was, cried "Phil," and collapsed against Philomena's new spring coat.
The band was mercifully quiet as the members and the parading temperance ladies reversed course to get a better look. As soon as Philomena's ears stopped ringing, she heard a series of whistles converging on the area. The Manhattan police, no doubt. She was thinking fast; neither she nor Bev could afford to be found in a situation like this. Neither of them might have the best of reputations, but it was paramount that they keep what they had.
"Come. Now." Philomena pulled Bev back from the automobile.
"This way, my lady." It was Bentley. He took Bev's other arm.
"She's getting away! Stop her!" someone cried.
The trio sped up, right into the dark, brass-buttoned coat of a New York City policeman.
"Now where do you think you'd be going — miss — misses, uh, you three?"
"My friend has had a terrible shock. Her husband has been ki — injured, and she's feeling faint and needs a place to sit," Philomena said at her haughtiest, then looked around for an escape route.
Another patrolman skidded to a stop next to the first. "Not so fast."
Philomena noticed the piece of offal beneath his feet and turned up her nose at the smell. It worked to good effect. He blushed red, then stepped back and scrubbed the sole of his shoe against the rough surface of the brick paving stones.
Bev roused herself. "Do you know who you're talking to? This is the Countess of Dunbridge."
The men exchanged looks.
"Dunn't look old enough to be no countess," the younger one said.
The older one shook his head. "And sure she is. These society types are always pulling tricks to get out of trouble. Well, your highness, you three just go stand over there with this here officer and wait until you're called for." He nodded abruptly, and the younger man herded the three back toward the auto. The area around it had been cleared and the crowd was being held back by several more uniformed men. The whistles must have summoned every policeman in the neighborhood.
Bev was leaning heavily against Philomena. "Stay swooning until I return," she whispered, then thrust Bev at the coachman. She needed a closer look.
She had no intention of being enmeshed in a scandal on the day of her arrival, but at this point she didn't see how to avoid it unless she deserted her friend and kept moving. But that meant Bev would be left to the mercies of the police who, if they were anything like the London constabulary ... She just couldn't do it. Which meant she would have to do something about it herself. Bev's husband had either been murdered or had killed himself sitting in a public thoroughfare in the company of his mistress for all the world to see.
Typical of a man.
Bev would need her support when the gossip became brutal, as it was sure to do.
She'd known Bev since they were girls at the same finishing school in Paris. Had it really been ten years ago? Phil had adored Bev's American bravado and had introduced her to Paris society. As young girls, they weren't invited to the adult soirees and balls, so together they discovered the Parisian demimonde.
Now Bev was but a pale memory of that girl, and Phil didn't have the heart to desert her.
No one was even guarding Reggie's body. They were too busy trying to keep the onlookers at bay. The crowd was becoming more voluble by the moment, calling for the arrest of someone, anyone, the mistress or the wife, either one of them would do, or both.
Philomena didn't for a minute think Bev killed Reggie, though as far as she was concerned she had every right to. Everyone had affairs, but good breeding insisted on discretion. Reggie flaunted his, made headlines with them, while Bev sat humiliated at home. But how to make certain suspicion didn't fall on his wife?
"Ugh!" Philomena pulled her skirt back, eased herself out from the restless crowd, and slipped past the distracted policeman who was trying to contain them.
She was immediately accosted by two more men in uniforms. "Sorry, miss, you can't come no closer."
"I'm a friend of the family. Are you sure he's dead?"
"You should call for a doctor immediately! He might still be saved!" She warbled this out, clasping her hands together to her bosom like a heroine in a play put on during a country house weekend.
"Is there a doctor here?" one of the policeman shouted, swiveling his head.
"Are you daft, man?" jeered a bruiser leaning over his handcart. "He's a goner for sure. Just look at him."
The group surged forward. The police pushed them back.
A clerk in a bowler hat craned his neck to see. "Oughtn'ya go see? Maybe he ain't dead."
"If I say he's dead —" The bruiser knocked the man's hat to the ground. When he leaned down to pick it up, another man punched the bruiser in the jaw. He fell back, dominoing into the people behind him.
It was a match in a tinderbox. Others took up the cudgels, the remaining policemen rushed to help, and Philomena hurried to the auto to get a better look inside.
The Florodora girl had been removed — or had removed herself. Now both doors were open. Reggie lay alone across the leather seat as if he'd fallen asleep or, more likely, passed out in a drunken stupor. He didn't appear to be breathing, though truth be told, she'd only said that to distract the guards.
Philomena inched a little closer, peered at the backseat, scrutinized the floor. If he'd shot himself, what happened to the pistol? She saw no evidence of one, not in Reggie's hand or anywhere in the enclosed space. Had the Florodora girl shot him? Did she still have the pistol? Or was she disposing of it while they all stood around doing nothing?
Then she spied a small black handbag lying on the floor in the far corner. She might be able to reach it if ... She leaned into the auto, felt along the floorboards, shuddered when her arm brushed against Reggie's lifeless leg. She stretched out her hand ... just a little farther. A large hand appeared before hers.
Philomena gasped, snatched her hand back, and glanced up to find a pair of glinting black eyes staring back at her. A man crouched at the other side of the automobile. Their eyes locked over Reggie's body, then abruptly the man stood, ducked his head, and melted into the crowd.
Before she could react, she was grabbed from behind, fingers encircling her waist, and she was yanked backward out of the automobile.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Ask Me No Questions"
Copyright © 2018 Shelley Freydont.
Excerpted by permission of Tom Doherty Associates.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Ask Me No Questions is a fascinating mystery of the highest quality, atmospheric and witty, and it was like I was in another world as I poured through its pages. Shelley Noble effortlessly draws readers into the 1907 world of New York City through rich historical detail and vivid descriptions. Lady Philomena Dunbridge (Phil) is a compelling lead character. She’s strong, determined, smart, and sly. Phil likes to flirt, lives life as she pleases, and is not easily intimidated by those in authority. While I wasn’t crazy about her in the beginning, she grew on me as I got to know her better, and she is loyal to a fault. I loved seeing our country through her eyes, as she was often amazed at “those Americans.” Two strong supporting characters stand out and will be fun to watch in future stories – Lily, Phil’s lady’s maid, and Preswick, her butler. Lily’s background is somewhat mysterious, promising much more to come. I love British fiction, and although this story takes place in America, Phil and her staff are English to the core. It’s fun to watch the often frustrating interaction between Phil’s staff and that of her friend, Bev. The murder of Bev’s husband, Reggie, is baffling in itself, as it took place in the middle of the day, in a crowded area, and seemingly no witnesses. The ensuing investigation follows the logical step-by-step questioning of suspects in a manner that I enjoyed. The author excels at introducing characters slowly, in a way that it’s easy to keep up with them all. The world of horse racing, especially some of the criminal elements associated with it, comes into play. I’m not sure Lady Dunbridge and I would have been friends in real life, but if I were about to be charged with a crime, I’d certainly want her in my corner. There are a lot of twists and turns, and my suspicions could never rest solely on one person. I hope Ask Me No Questions is the beginning of a long series. Highly recommended. I received a copy of this book through Great Escapes Tours. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.
Life has been very limited thus far for Lady Philomena (Phil) Dunbridge, whose parents married her off at age 17 to an older titled man of means. When her husband, the Earl, dies suddenly of a heart attack after years in an unfulfilling marriage, Phil's future seems bleak. Her family expects her to either return home or live nearby with a chaperone. Longing for independence and excitement, Phil is determined to leave England and begin her life anew. She sets sail on the SS Oceanic for New York City, where she will reunite with Beverly Reynolds, a dear friend from her finishing school days in Paris. Bev is from a wealthy, well-established New York family and the plan is for the girlhood friend to introduce the young widow to New York Society and brighter prospects. But things go terribly wrong from the very start when Bev's husband Reggie, who is at the pier with Bev to meet Phil's ship, is shot and killed in his car. Beverly is considered a prime suspect in Reggie's murder, and after a second murder victim turns up in the library at the Reynoldses' Manhattan brownstone, Phil feels compelled to clear her friend's name. Her inquiries reveal that Reggie was a bit of a rogue, and his associations and activities are most likely what led to his death. As the list of suspects grows, so does Phil's focus on unravelling the truth. Set in New York's Gilded Age and brimming with delicious society scandals, illicit affairs, losses of fortune, corruption, and falls from grace, Ask Me No Questions introduces readers to a lively cast of upstairs and downstairs characters revolving around a clever amateur sleuth. Lady Philomena Dunbridge is an astute observer with a flair for piecing together clues and forming working relationships at all levels of the social strata. Phil's further introduction into New York Society and the identity of a mystery man whose subtle hints were integral to solving the case heighten the interest for further installments in this series.
a fun, saucy mystery ASK ME NO QUESTIONS by Shelley Noble The First Lady Dunbridge Mystery Lady Philomena Dunbridge is no stranger to scandal, after all it's scandal that led her to America, but being embroiled in a murder is not the best way to gain entry to Manhattan's high society. Nonetheless, Phil is determined to stick by her schoolgirl pal and hostess, Bev, after Bev's husband is shot to death. Working around an angry detective, a corrupt police force, and a mystery man, Phil will find out just who killed Reggie and why. The first Lady Dunbridge novel is a delight. The author provides an earthier feel to high society in 1907. Not everything is prim and proper. Drinks flow freely and corruption abounds. Women have minds as well as sexual desires which are acted upon. Affairs, flings, and mistresses are talked about, good looking men are appraised, and racy innuendos abound. I love this fresh, more realistic look of the world. Lady Philomena Dunbridge is a fantastic new heroine I'd love to call friend. After a miserable forced marriage and the untenable, yet requisite, mourning period Lady Philomena is determined to make a life of her own, abiding by her own standards, and not to be under the thumb of any man. She has a great team with her as well. Preswick, her devoted butler, and her new maid, Lily, are more than "just servants". Each brims with their own history, richly developed with hints to their pasts slowly revealed. I can't wait to learn more about them. In addition to rich characterization and detailed period setting, there's a good mystery too. The mystery is deftly plotted with plenty of clues allowing the reader to work out the mystery along with Phil. Adventure, a hint of romantic sizzle, and a few laughs round out this great first book in what I hope will be a long running series. ASK ME NO QUESTIONS combines British aristocracy, New York High Society, and modern sensibilities in a fun, saucy mystery. FTC Disclosure – The publisher sent me a copy of this book in the hopes I would review it.
Dollycas’s Thoughts We meet Lady Dunbridge after mourning her husband’s death for two years. She and her “maid” and butler journey to Manhattan in 1907 where her friend Bev Reynolds will introduce her to all her high society friends. Right after they get off the ship gunshots ring out, she hears Bev scream, and chaos ensues. Getting through the crowd they find Bev’s husband dead in the arms of a floradora girl crying that he killed himself. The evidence doesn’t support that claim and the police set their sights on Bev as their main suspect. Lady Dunbridge may have just arrived but she knows her friend is not a killer. While making her introduction at all the dinners and balls she vows to keep her eyes and ears open to prove her friend’s innocence. Of course, she will do a bit of snooping too. Ms. Noble has created an impressive amateur sleuth in Lady Dunbridge and teamed her up with excellent assistants in her “maid” Lily, and butler Preswick. Lily has many talents and Preswick does all he can to keep the both of them safe. All three are strong characters. The supporting cast includes Bev Reynolds, her staff, her husband’s staff, and their friends. They are a very eclectic group. Bev’s husband Reggie ran with a horse racing set and he seems to have owed everyone money. Bev friends are the elite set and the spouses of the men her husband seems indebted too. The author has really fleshed out these characters by the end of the story. Solving the mystery takes us all around New York to the dinners and parties and out to the Reynold’s stable at Holly Farm where their horses are kept and trained. There is twist after twist after twist. I had my focus drawn to one character and then away and back again, yet the climax was surprising and exciting. The author gives us so much detail throughout the whole story that every place came alive in my mind, The same with the people. Her words generated some wonderful imagery. She also kept true to the language of the time which I liked. This series is off to an excellent start. The author has left doors open for future installments. I am excited to learn more about Lily and Lady Dunbridge and her life as she continues to live in New York.
The year is 1907. After the death of her husband, Philomena Amesbury, also known as Lady Dunbridge, along with her butler and lady’s maid, boards the SS Oceanic and sails from England to Mahattan where her old friend Beverly Reynolds awaits to introduce her to the very best people in society and to her new life. Disembarking from the ship things go immediately wrong when a shot rings out and Philomena learns that Reggie Reynolds, Bev’s husband, has been shot and killed right there on the dock. Her plans curtailed by this string of events, Philomena must now dedicate her time to finding out the truth behind the murder of her friend’s husband and proving Beverly’s innocence. As the plot thickens it becomes abundantly clear that her own life may be in danger as well as the lives of her staff and Beverly herself. We follow Lady Dunbridge to high society balls, horse races, and back alleys as she races to uncover the truth before it’s too late. This book was fun and clever. I truly enjoyed being immersed in the time period and watching the characters break all the rules set upon them as women in society. Our main character Lady Dunbridge is both smart and sassy while also being modern for the time and always dressed impeccably. The best friend, Beverly, is a bit flighty but perfectly rounded off the friendship between the two women. There was plenty of action as the story unfolded to keep the reader interested and to add to the plot. It was easy to identify the shooter pretty quickly but not so easy to discern the why and how, which was a nice surprise at the end of the book. All in all an entertaining read and I’ll definitely be on the lookout for the next installment!
Ask Me No Questions is an excellent start to a new gilded age female amateur detective series. Philomena Amesbury, Lady Dunbridge, has finally finished the obligatory 18-month mourning period for her husband. The Earl of Dunbridge, was, by all accounts, not a very good husband. Deciding that staying in England as a 26-year-old Dowager Countess doesn’t appeal, she escapes to America. With only her aging butler, Preswick, and Lily, a stowaway she decided to make her ladies’ maid, she arrives in New York City. Philomena sees her childhood friend, Bev, walking toward the gangway to greet her. Before Philomena can reach her, Bev rushes back to her car and finds her husband shot dead. Worse, he is lying in the lap of his mistress. When the police suspect Bev, Philomena decides to try to find the real murderer. The setting of early 20th century New York is so well described that the reader is transported to a different time. The use of the language of the time period (like thimblerig and cortege) added to the authenticity. Philomena is an exuberant heroine who seems to be both of the time period but also more modern in her thinking. Both Preswick and Lily prove to be excellent sidekicks. The mystery was excellent. I didn’t guess the murderer though looking back there were plenty of clues carefully hidden in the story. This is the first Lady Dunbridge Mystery and I can’t wait for the next. If you like Sherlock Holmes type mysteries with a dash of American spunk, you will love this new series. 4 stars! Thanks to Forge Books and NetGalley for an advance copy.
Lindas Book Obsession Reviews “Ask Me No Questions” “A Lady Dunbridge Mystery” by Shelley Noble Shelley Noble, Author of “Ask Me no Questions”, ” A Lady Dunbridge Mystery” has written a witty, intriguing. entertaining, and suspenseful novel. The Genres for this Novel are Mystery, Fiction and Historical Fiction. The time line for this novel is the turn of the twentieth century. The author describes her quirky and colorful characters as complex, complicated and suspect. Lady Philomena Dunbridge (Phil) arrives in the United States as a widow who has been mourning and grieving for her deceased husband for two years in England. Phil is with her loyal butler Preswick, and her newly hired maid Lily. They are headed to visit with Bev Reynolds, an old friend. Hearing gunshots coming from Bev’s husband’s car, Phil and Bev run to find Bev’s husband shot and bleeding in his mistress’s areas. There is no driver in the car. Phil guides Bev away, and soon a detective comes to question them. Bev as well as the mistress seen to be suspects. Phil feels it is her obligation to play detective and find who did this. Bev’s husband Reggie Reynolds, owed everyone money. He has a stable of horses, and one that everyone was counting on running and making a fortune. It looks like there is corruption within the law. Reggie Reynolds had some very suspect friends, and very angry friends. Even Bev’s father has been angry with him. There are twists and turns, and highs and lows, There are characters who are loyal, and some have betrayed Bev. Who can be trusted? I would recommend this captivating and entertaining novel for those readers who love a great mystery. I received an ARC from NetGalley for my honest review.
Ask Me No Questions is the first book in the A Lady Dunbridge Mystery series. Lady Philomena Dunbridge has just finished a suitable period of mourning for her husband an article in the newspaper refers to her as Lady Dowager. At twenty-six years old, she feels that she is too young to be called a dowager. Philomena(Phil) decides that she will head for America and start a new life. She writes Bev Reynolds, they had attended the same finishing school, asking if she could stay with the Reynolds until she could get settled in. Once the ship docks and the passengers are descending the gangway, spots Bev in the crowd and they wave to each and then starts to run away. Phil follows her to a car and in the car is Reggie Reynolds dead from a gunshot and a female who later identified as his mistress, Mimi LaPonte. Quite naturally Bev becomes the #1 person of interest in the death of her husband. Phil, along with her lady’s maid, Lily, and her butler, Preswick, set out to identify who the murderer is. Phil soon learns that Reggie has two very expensive hobbies, gambling, and his horse racing stable. Also, he has gotten money from his father-in-law for a manuscript that no one knows about. She soon discovers that some of the most powerful members of society may have wanted him dead. Also, some of these same members of society are also involved with Reggie in his horse breeding and racing. The book concludes with a very exciting showdown at the race track I thought this was a well-told and plotted story with an interesting cast of characters. I’m looking forward to more of the “stiff upper lip” Preswick, Phil’s wonderful butler. Also, I am hoping to learn more about Lily’s backstory. I thought she was quite an interesting woman. I’m eagerly awaiting the next book in this enjoyable new series.