cover image Death Comes to the School

Death Comes to the School

Catherine Lloyd. Kensington, $25 (288p) ISBN 978-1-4967-0208-1

Set in 1820, Lloyd’s enjoyable fifth Kurland St. Mary mystery (after 2016’s Death Comes to the Fair) opens with Maj. Sir Robert Kurland and his wife of three years, Lucy, preparing Kurland Hall for Christmas. Depressed from a recent miscarriage, Lucy is dismayed to receive a venomous poison-pen note predicting that she will die alone and childless—and to learn that others are receiving similar notes. Further unpleasantness ensues. Soon after Lucy meets Martha Broomfield, the cruel mistress of the village school she and her husband have endowed, Miss Broomfield is found dead at her desk, stabbed through the eye with a quill pen. In her effort to learn more about the victim, Lucy contacts the schoolmistress’s former employer and discovers a cache of costly jewelry and a mysterious key in Miss Broomfield’s quarters that suggest possible motives, but she remains unsure whether the murder and the poison-pen letters are linked. The liveliness of Lloyd’s many secondary characters and the marital tensions arising from Lucy’s fertility woes add richness to the well-plotted puzzle. [em]Agent: Deirdre Knight, Knight Agency. (Dec.) [/em]