It's 1864 and Lizzie Martin is leaving London for the south coast of England to be the companion of Lucy Craven, a teenager who lives in seclusion with her aunts and has recently lost an infant daughter to illness. En route, Lizzie meets Doctor Lefebre, a slightly off-putting gentleman headed for the same destination. Lefebre, it turns out, is an alienist hired by Lucy's family to determine whether the young woman is mad. And he discloses something shocking: Lucy Craven doesn't believe her daughter is dead; she insists the baby was stolen from her.
In Hampshire, complications mount. Late at night, Lizzie hears furtive voices outside, there's a gentleman farmer whose demeanor with Lucy seems unusually familiar, and, while Lucy proves a bit moody, she hardly seems deranged. The girl's aunts are clearly withholding something. . . . These tensions come to a head when a man is found dead in the garden, stabbed with a knife from the aunts' home.
Lizzie calls upon her beau, Inspector Benjamin Ross. Together, they find themselves entangled in a mystery as bewildering as any they've faced.
About the Author
Ann Granger has worked in British embassies in various parts of the world. She met her husband, who was also working for the British Embassy, in Prague, and together they received postings to places as far apart as Munich and Lusaka. They are now permanently based in Bicester, near Oxford.
Ann Granger has worked in British embassies around the world. She met her husband, who was also working for the British Embassy, in Prague, and together they received postings to places as far apart as Munich and Lusaka. She is the author of the Mitchell and Markby Mysteries and the Lizzie Martin mystery series. She and her husband are now permanently based in Bicester, near Oxford.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
In 1864, Aunt Parry obtains a position of temporary companion for her almost thirty year old by marriage niece Elizabeth ¿Lizzie¿ Martin. Clipper ship owner Charles Roche is worried about his teenage niece Lucy Craven whose husband is in China on family business while she recovers from having given birth only to have her baby die a couple of days later. Currently Lucy is staying with her much older spinster Aunts Miss Christina and Miss Phoebe. He also sends his friend Dr. Lefebre, an observant alienist, to check on the emotional well being of the distraught Lucy whose aunts insist she is deranged. --- At the Shore House in New Forest in Hampshire, Dr, Lefebre is welcomed by the aunts as a special guest while they literally look down their respective noses at Lizzie, who makes it clear she is unafraid to speak her mind though to herself she admits it looks silly as the two aunts are well over a head taller than her. Still she makes it clear that she is there as Lucy¿s companion. As a gentleman farmer seems to be courting the married Lucy, someone murders the traveling rat catcher Jethro Brennan. Worried for Lucy¿s safety as well as her own, Lizzie sends for her boyfriend, Metropolitan Police Detective Inspector Benjamin Ross he drops everything to come immediately. --- Readers will feel they are in Victorian England mostly by the sea away from London as Ann Granger provides a vivid look into the manners of a bygone era. The murder mystery comes deep into the tale turning the story line smoothly from a historical novel into a police procedural with a superb final twist that reminds the audience it is 1864 Hampshire (though some will insist it could be 2008 DC with the last spin). Mostly told from Elizabeth¿s perspective, fans of the period will appreciate this fine mid ninetieth century English whodunit. --- Harriet Klausner