cover image A Silent Stabbing

A Silent Stabbing

Alyssa Maxwell. Kensington, $26 (304p) ISBN 978-1-4967-1742-9

Early in Maxwell’s appealing fifth a Lady and a Lady’s Maid mystery set in post-WWI England (after 2019’s A Murderous Marriage), maid Eva Huntford and her employer, Lady Phoebe Renshaw, are disturbed to hear that a brash American, Horace Walker, wants to buy the struggling orchard of Cotswolds resident Keenan Ripley and level it to build a resort on the site. Keenan’s ne’er-do-well brother, Stephen, is abetting Horace in this scheme. The locals value the product of Keenan’s pear crop—perry, a type of hard cider—and view Horace as an interloper. When Lady Phoebe finds Stephen murdered with a pair of hedge clippers, Keenan is arrested. Eva worries that her married sister, Alice, a former sweetheart of Keenan, may be involved, and Lady Phoebe worries about the disappearance of a servant and the toll of the crime on her infirm grandfather, the Earl of Wroxly. Eva and Lady Phoebe provide smart sleuthing and insight into the upstairs and downstairs worlds. Fans of traditional English mysteries will be rewarded. Agent: Evan Marshall, Evan Marshall Agency. (Mar.)