A Countess of Harleigh Mystery)
Delightfully quirky A Newlywed’s Guide to Fortune and Murder takes us back to the turn of the 19th century when women were beginning to stand up and be counted in many ways. Not just as suffragettes, but women who had a bit more to their character than was given credit.
Our heroine France Hazelton, the former Countess of Harleigh, is newlywed and making plans for her forthcoming honeymoon, somewhat delayed for sure, but a honeymoon none the less.
That is until she gets a request from the formidable Dowager Viscountess Wingate, who wants her niece Kate presented to the Court. As Frances occasionally takes on some of the society events to make a little of her own money, she reluctantly agrees, thinking it will be a simple matter and will only delay her plans by a week or so.
When she goes to take tea and meet Kate, the Dowager collapses and appears to be in a very frail state, which makes Frances, who well remembers the feisty old lady as a very strong and forthright woman only weeks before, wonder what is happening in her former home. The rest of family are behaving as they always have, if not slightly more obnoxiously.
As the days go by it seems Kate is not all appears to be, which simply adds to the worry and frustration Frances is beginning to feel, as nothing is right, nothing is going to plan and nothing is making any sense.
Her beloved George is on a case for the Government which involves the late Viscount, an Egyptologist, and a missing manuscript. Frances and George really begin to wonder just why this Diary is so important that someone, possibly within the family, will sink to murder to hide the whatever is in the book, and why is the Dowager being overdosed with what appears to be Laudanum. When the Dowagers Nurse is found murdered the stakes rise to dangerous levels as it would appear that whatever is going on, someone will stop at nothing to achieve their end.
Cleverly constructed, this latest adventure in the Countess of Harleigh series from Dianne Freeman makes a great cosy murder for an afternoon on the couch, with a plot which is one that will take some time to figure out as to just who has set out to or who may have already, committed murder most foul.