Thursday, April 5, 2012

Mrs. Jeffries Defends Her Own-Emily Brightwell

Mrs. Jeffries Defends Her Own

Emily Brightwell

Berkley Prime Crime, May 1 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780425248058

At Sutcliffe Manufacturing, deputy manager Ronald Dearman is found dead in his office by his wife Lucretia who was accompanied there by Fiona Sutcliffe. Realizing she will be a prime suspect, as she and the victim argued just before his death, Fiona overhears the lead investigator Nigel Nivens and Constable Morehead discuss the cause of rival Inspector Witherspoon’s success being his housekeeper Mrs. Witherspoon and her staff supporting her. Fiona visits widow Mrs. Jeffries who is shocked to see her estranged sister-in-law call her Hepzibah and ask for her help; but she knows she will as the late David would want her to do so.

Mrs. Jeffries and her team know the case will be the most convoluted they ever undertook because their “front” beloved Inspector Witherspoon is not leading the inquiry. Instead Nivens, who apparently knows she is the brains of his rival’s unparalleled success, leads the investigation.

The latest Mrs. Jeffries and retinue Victorian mystery (see Mrs. Jeffries and the Mistletoe Mix-Up, Mrs. Jeffries Forges Ahead and Mrs. Jeffries Forges Ahead) is a delightful puzzler as the heroine and her "under the stairs" crew work a whodunit made difficult by her in-law being the suspect and by another inspector in charge. Still, Mrs. Jeffries and the crew do what they always do investigate through their employer as this Victorian mystery is a fresh entry in a strong long running historical “police procedural” series.

Harriet Klausner

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