Saturday, March 12, 2011

Mrs. Jeffries Forges Ahead-Emily Brightwell

Mrs. Jeffries Forges Ahead
Emily Brightwell
Berkley, May 3 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780425241608

It is a beautiful night for a gala and the Banfield family is hosting one with two hundred guests attending. The Banfield has a long history of honorable service in support of the Crown in all corners of the Empire. However, the present generation is squabbling since patriarch Lewis married Arlette the model he loves.

Lewis’ Aunt Geraldine, the former mistress of the manor, dislikes Arlette because the woman didn’t belong to their social circle and the woman’s business activities reflect poorly on the family name. Other people also dislike Arlette with some jealous of her new status. Especially loathing the interloper are the Bickleton matriarch who don’t receive a pound to repair their furniture thanks to Arlette; she informed Lewis that Margaret Bickleton’s husband has disgusting sexual proclivities. Her mother was irate with Arlette for deciding to license a semi-nude statue of her to be mass produced. However, others hated her too, only one person put poison in her champagne. Inspector Weatherspoon investigates the case while his housekeeping staff led by Mrs. Jefferies conduct their under the stairs inquiry unbeknownst but in support of their beloved employer.

Once again, Emily Brightwell creates a delightful charming Victorian cozy in which fans will understand first-hand the social class differences in late nineteenth century England. The engaging story line is addictive leaving the audience unable to put the book aside until we learn who killed Arlette. Even with the plot using the same underlying premise as done in the almost thirty previous historical mysteries in the series (see Mrs. Jefferies Speaks her Mind), readers will enjoy watching how Inspector Weatherspoon “solves” the complicated case as seemingly most of London wanted Arlette dead.

Harriet Klausner

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