cover image Death at the Manor: A Lily Adler Mystery

Death at the Manor: A Lily Adler Mystery

Katharine Schellman. Crooked Lane, $26.99 (352p) ISBN 978-1-63910-078-1

Schellman’s excellent third Regency mystery featuring widow Lily Adler (after 2021’s Silence in the Library) takes Lily from London to Hampshire for an extended stay with an aunt, Eliza Pierce. Eliza’s village is buzzing about the gray-garbed female ghost said to haunt Belleford, the derelict manor owned by the Wright family. Thomas Wright, a restless bachelor who lives with his sister, Selina, under their widowed mother’s thumb, relishes the attention the veiled specter commands. While Thomas gives Lily a tour of the ghost’s usual haunts, Selina discovers their mother dead in her bedroom. Mrs. Wright’s bruised chest and agonized expression indicate foul play, but her room was locked from the inside with the only existing key. Unlike the Wrights and the villagers, rational Lily doesn’t hold the “gray lady” responsible for the death. Attractive widower Matthew Spencer helps her probe the family and the few servants who haven’t fled Belleford in fear. Schellman ably interweaves appealing developments in Lily’s personal life, a classic locked-room puzzle, and a nuanced look at period society. Regency lovers will be enthralled. Agent: Whitney Ross, Irene Goodman Literary. (Aug.)