A sleuthing couple in Regency England strives to solve a murder case that strains their relationship.
Lucy, Lady Kurland, and her magistrate husband, Robert, are entertaining guests for the christening of their daughter when the happy event is marred by a family murder. Robert’s aunt Rose is married to Lucy’s father, the rector of Kurland St. Mary. The rector’s brother, the Earl of Harrington, and his wife and son are in attendance, but not their daughter, who has mysteriously broken off her engagement. Two unexpected additions are Henrietta, Rose’s selfish daughter from her first marriage, and Lord Northam, her obnoxious husband, who are furious because Rose’s recently announced pregnancy endangers their inheritance. When Northam is found stabbed with a paper knife in the rector’s study, Robert, who must investigate, is appalled to think that his chief suspect is his father-in-law. Well aware that Northam was involved in a number of nefarious schemes, the couple seeks to identify others with cause to kill him. These unfortunately include the Earl and his son, who owed gambling debts to Northam. Thinks look even worse for the rector when Robert learns that he lost a great deal of money in a crooked scheme Northam was involved in. Henrietta’s continued claims that the rector is guilty make things awkward for everyone, but as Lucy and Robert continue to hunt for clues, they fear she may be right.
Complex characters and a shoal of red herrings add up to a delightful period read.