cover image The Mystery of the Sorrowful Maiden: A Laetitia Rodd Mystery

The Mystery of the Sorrowful Maiden: A Laetitia Rodd Mystery

Kate Saunders. Bloomsbury, $26 (336p) ISBN 978-1-4088-6692-4

Set in 1853, Saunders’s entertaining third Laetitia Rodd mystery (after 2019’s The Case of the Wandering Scholar) finds Laetitia, genteel London private investigator, an archdeacon’s widow, and the very epitome of respectability, considering taking on the case of Sarah Transome. Sarah’s husband, celebrated actor-manager Thomas Transome, seems set on expelling his wife, who’s the mother of his three grown daughters, from their home. Laetitia decides to accept, as she puts it, “one of the saddest cases I have ever encountered, though it was not sad to begin with. In true theatrical style, the programme commenced with a farce and ended with a tragedy.” While visiting the theater district, Laetitia encounters Insp. Thomas Blackbeard of the Metropolitan Police, who has come to investigate a body found beneath the long abandoned, burnt-out shell of the King’s Theatre. While Laetitia looks into this decade-old death, another man is murdered, leading her to consider that the two events might be connected. Well-defined characters, an intricate plot, and a beguiling narrator make this a winner. Fans of Victorian historicals will be pleased. Agent: Caradoc King, A.P. Watt (U.K.). (Dec.)