cover image A Gentlewoman’s Guide to Murder

A Gentlewoman’s Guide to Murder

Victoria Hamilton. Midnight Ink, $15 trade paper (360p) ISBN 978-0-7387-5804-6

Set in Regency London, this outstanding series launch from Hamilton (the Vintage Kitchen mysteries) introduces Emmeline St. Germaine, an intelligent woman who craves independence and has no wish to marry. Outwardly she conforms to society’s expectations of a genteel spinster, but Emmeline, in disguise, plunges into action by carrying out rescues of young female servants who are being molested by their male employers. Her rescue of a maid from the Clerkenwell home of Sir Henry Claybourne goes badly wrong when, that same night, Sir Henry is murdered. As public outrage blames the as yet unknown Masked Avengeress, Emmeline is desperate to find the real killer. Her furtive investigation leads her to some memorable London scenes, such as a night at the opera and a “nut crack” party. Hamilton expertly balances the page-turning detection with the story of a hypocritical society where women, whether they are scullery maids or orphans, rarely get to make their own decisions. Readers will look forward to Emmeline’s further adventures. Agent: Jessica Faust, BookEnds Literary. (Feb.)