An elderly family friend commissions Frances to find Helen, a stunningly beautiful actress who vanished 30 years ago. Taking on the role of the Lady Sherlock, with her loyal maid Mallow drafted as her Watson, Frances immerses herself in the glamorous world of Edwardian theater and London’s latest craze—motion pictures.
Frances’ first stop is the venerable Emerald Theatre, where aging actors are still in love with the memory of the beguiling Helen. It seems like a dead end—but one of Helen’s old suitors is suddenly murdered. Frances and Mallow beat both the police and killer to a box of subtle clues. However, a stalker, another old suitor of Helen’s long presumed dead, threatens them. Will Frances’ latest hobby, a study of Japanese martial arts, be enough to save them?
Undaunted, Frances and Mallow follow their leads, and along the way get some advice from George Bernard Shaw, star in a motion picture, and joke with King Edward VII. Clues eventually lead them to a forgotten grave outside of London, which contains a mysterious biblical inscription–and a shocking secret. Frances finally assembles the pieces, and with Mallow as stage manager, produces her own play to uncover a decades-old conspiracy, reveal a killer—and find the remarkable Helen.
Consulting detective, Lady (marquess’s daughter), a bride-to-be, a leader of suffragist movement all rolled into one very beautiful, smart and resourceful young woman.
Would I read more of her adventures? Definitely.
Lady Frances knows everything and everyone in London. She can get on with maids and the King himself. She can uncover truth and secrets in a truly Sherlockian style.
I loved to read about her adventures, even though the narration was a bit too long in places.
The Death at the Emerald is long book. It is not one of your ‘quick reads’. You have to think and follow the thread all the time. Otherwise, you will get lost in all the name, clues and secrets.
You’d get a wonderful picture of London’s Society life on the brink of 20th century, including all the progressive and regressive bits and tidbits. You’d also get a non-intrusive insight into upstairs-downstairs relationships of those times. And, of course, you’d get a mystery stretching years and years until Lady Frances came along and unraveled it all.
All in all, everything ends well for almost everyone in this story. Lady Frances wins it all, including a wonderful fiancee. (Note to the lovers of chick lit – Fiancee here, as well as the relationship itself, is not the end goal and all consuming passion. It is a relationship of equals, a quiet but steady fire that will burn for a long time).
Read on or read ahead. You’ll love it.