cover image Death, Diamonds, and Deception

Death, Diamonds, and Deception

Rosemary Simpson. Kensington, $26 (304p) ISBN 978-1-4967-2212-6

In Simpson’s satisfying fifth Gilded Age mystery (after 2019’s Death Brings a Shadow), Lady Rotherton, Prudence MacKenzie’s redoubtable aunt married to an English peer, visits New York hoping to persuade her unconventional niece to make a respectable marriage. At the first high-society ball of the season, Lady Rotherton guesses that some of the diamonds in society matron Lena De Vries’s necklace are fake. Her assessment is subsequently confirmed, and William De Vries, Lena’s banker husband, hires former Pinkerton agent Geoffrey Hunter and Prudence, his investigative partner, to discover who replaced the gems. Soon after they find the jeweler most likely to have fenced the stones shot to death, one of the De Vries’ valets dies in an apparent suicide. William believes that Lena’s son by her first marriage, Morgan Whitley, persuaded the valet to help him tamper with the jewels. Though Whitley’s alcohol and gambling addictions leave him desperate for money, Prudence doubts that the young man is to blame. Simpson blends a briskly paced investigation with well-chosen Gilded Age details. Fans of Victoria Thompson and Alyssa Maxwell will be pleased. Agent: Jessica Faust, BookEnds Literary. (Dec.)