Mrs. Jeffries and the Yuletide Wedding
Berkley, Nov 2009, $23.95
The holidays are upon the residents of Victorian London, which means that the wedding date of Coachman Smythe and Betsy the Cook is getting close. The pair live in the home of Inspector Witherspoon of the Metropolitan Police Department where they work and assist along with the rest of the staff their employer solve crime cases. Witherspoon is ignorant that his household employees led by Mrs. Jeffries are the reason his detecting record is at 100% solved as they serendipitously work cases by finding the clues but allow their beloved Inspector to get the credit.
The staff prays no murder cases until after the wedding, but their prayers go unanswered when a woman is knifed to death in front of the Evans’ home where an engagement party is going on. The daughter of the house Rosemary Evans identifies the victim as her old governess, but neither she nor anyone else knows why she was there. Mrs. Jeffries and the crew understand that they need to expedite this case so it does not interfere with the wedding since Witherspoon is giving the bride away.
The police and the staff separately investigate the homicide and believe they know who the killer is but lack proof. When information comes to light in spite of a lack of cooperation, the housekeeper and her amateur sleuths know they must act quickly to prevent a second murder from occurring even as a second wedding will occur.
It is fun watching Betsy and Smythe work on the crime, prepare for their wedding, and host her sister and brother-in-law as they do an incredible balancing act. Readers, Mrs. J, and the Inspector will be blindsided by who the killer is in this delightful cerebral historical cozy. As always with this terrific series, Emily Brightwell provides her fans with a bright well-written Victorian.