cover image The Secret of the Lady’s Maid: A Useful Woman Mystery

The Secret of the Lady’s Maid: A Useful Woman Mystery

Darcie Wilde. Kensington, $27 (416p) ISBN 978-1-4967-3803-5

Wilde follows up The Secret of the Lost Pearls with another lively, well-researched mystery centered on intrepid amateur sleuth Rosalind Thorne. In 1820 London, Rosalind and her dear friend Alice Littlefield have recently moved in together, and Alice has developed feelings for the pair’s maid, Amelia. At Amelia’s previous place of employment, she’d fallen in love with her employer’s daughter, Cate Levitton. While fetching supplies for Rosalind and Alice at a local market one morning, Amelia stumbles into Cate, who appears to be on death’s door, and brings her back to Rosalind and Alice. With the help of police officer Adam Harkness, Rosalind’s love interest, the two friends determine Cate has been poisoned. As the group digs into potential foul play, Adam works to uncover a government spy instigating treason in Westminster, only to find out that the poisoning and the treason may be linked. The setting is immersive, with dim coffee shops, cows in Hyde Park, plenty of fog, and thorough explanations of London policing. A few moments of clunky and anachronistic dialogue aside, Wilde maintains steady momentum all the way to a satisfying conclusion. Fans of Andrea Penrose and Anna Lee Huber will be pleased. Agent: Lucienne Diver, Knight Agency. (Jan.)