Cambridge, England, 1910
Amateur detectives Jonty Stewart and Orlando Coppersmith seem to have nothing more taxing on their plate than locating a missing wooden cat and solving the dilemma of seating thirteen for dinner. But one of the guests brings a conundrum: a young woman has been found dead, and her boyfriend is convinced she was murdered. The trouble is, nobody else agrees.
Investigation reveals that several young people in the local area have died in strange circumstances, and rumours abound of poisonings at the hands of Lord Toothill, a local mysterious recluse. Toothill's angry, gun-toting gamekeeper isn't doing anything to quell suspicions, either.
But even with a gun to his head, Jonty can tell there's more going on in this surprisingly treacherous village than meets the eye. And even Orlando's vaunted logic is stymied by the baffling inconsistencies they uncover. Together, the Cambridge Fellows must pick their way through gossip and misdirection to discover the truth.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
So this is book 11 in the series, and no I’ve not read any prior, and I could follow along mostly. My problem was, with this being so far into a well established series all the bonds, connections, friendships, courtships I enjoy seeing built are already in place which lead to another issue I had, because everyone knew each other, the little banters and inside jokes were lost on me. The opening chapters of the book were quiet entertaining, not allowing 13 at the table, and proceeding to borrow a cat. Fun. Of course as the story unfolds the real danger and mystery comes to light And while the book itself was a murder mystery with only a touch of MM romance, I liked how both main charaters played off each other to get the job done. The secondary cast was well placed, to keep this from being completely doom and gloom. I was given a copy of this in exchange for an honest review by Crystals Many reviews
I welcome each new installment in this series like I do the chance to enjoy my favorite dessert. It's a treat that I both relish and draw out the experience as long as I can because I will be sad when its over. The series really should be read in order, but I suppose in a pinch this one would work as a standalone. In this story, Jonty and Orlando are in London visiting Jonty's parents before heading to Italy for their summer holiday. Mrs. Stewart is consternated by the unlucky number of thirteen guests for dinner. This leads the menfolk to help by first suggesting they borrow a local hotel's wooden cat used for just such occasions even while they cover their bases by also contacting a Cambridge friend they know to be in London. This leads to a quick mystery of solving the disappearance of the missing Montgomery, the wooden cat, and then the human last minute guest providing them with a second even more intriguing case. They are commissioned to discover whether a murder was done when a young lady suddenly dies and the family acts strangely afterward even barring her fiance' from the funeral. Jonty and Orlando work the case. Clues are light on the ground and hearsay runs rampant. More and more, they wonder if there really is anything in it beyond people keeping the usual amount of secrets and acting oddly. But they can't shake that feeling that something is truly amiss. The stories are delightful for the fun mysteries to solve, but what really sets them apart from the pack are the characters and the setting. The stories occur just before the dawn of WWI and the last innocent genteel days. The scenes are the academic world of a Cambridge college, London, and English countryside. And then there are the endearing characters of the teasing, sweet Jonty who works by intuition and the broody, slightly eccentric Orlando who propounds order and method. They are colleagues, detective partners, and tender lovers. Their relationship advances and matures throughout the series and that is definitely my favorite part. The mysteries in this one are only a little twisty, but still a challenge to work out. I cottoned to the answer early on even though I didn't have the motive worked out until much later when all the facts were gathered. In summary, this easy-paced mystery was utterly engaging and left me eager for the next installment. I would recommend this book/series to those who enjoy m/m historical mysteries or romantic suspense. My thanks to Riptide Publishing for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.