Monday, September 12, 2011

Mrs. Jeffries and the Mistletoe Mix-Up-Emily Brightwell

Mrs. Jeffries and the Mistletoe Mix-Up

Emily Brightwell

Berkley, Nov 2011, $23.95

ISBN: 9780425243572

The holidays are coming, but neither Elaine nor Daniel is feeling very festive. She never loved the husband her father bought with a large dowry settlement, but now she controls her money since her last living relative died. Daniel wants free access to her funds to cover bad investments including a fortune in Far Eastern antiquities; he is broke. Their evening is interrupted by the arrival of guests who he plans to show off his latest acquisition.

A fire breaks out in the servant’s quarters. The blaze is put out quickly, but everyone evacuates the house due to the smell. When they return to the home they find Daniel bleeding to death in his office from a sword bludgeoned into his neck artery. Inspector Witherspoon leads the homicide investigation, which proves difficult because everyone present at the gathering had motive and opportunity. Of course, Witherspoon has a top secret weapon so clandestine he is ignorant of the help he receives on his cases from his brilliant housekeeper Mrs. Jeffries and the rest of his loyal intelligent staff. However, this murder may remain unsolved as the suspects are numerous.

The latest Mrs. Jeffries and retinue Victorian mystery (see Mrs. Jeffries Forges Ahead) is a delightful puzzler as the title heroine and her "under the stairs" crew work a difficult case through their employer. The basic theme of this wonderful long running series remains the same, yet once again the whodunit is fresh as Emily Brightwell provides another riveting historical investigation.

Harriet Klausner

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