cover image A Fiancée’s Guide to First Wives and Murder

A Fiancée’s Guide to First Wives and Murder

Dianne Freeman. Kensington, $26 (304p) ISBN 978-1-4967-3160-9

Agatha Award winner Freeman’s lively fourth Countess of Harleigh mystery (after 2020’s A Lady’s Guide to Mischief and Murder) finds Frances Wynn, Countess of Harleigh, happy in November of 1899 as she contemplates her upcoming marriage to her next-door neighbor and occasional detecting partner, the Honorable George Hazelton. Her thoughts are disrupted by the arrival of a police inspector and Irena Teskey, an attractive young French woman who announces that she is Mrs. George Hazelton. The impetuous fantasist also claims to be the owner of a London theater, the victim of serial abductions, the recipient of menacing letters, and the daughter of a Russian grand duke. Her accusations against George could lead to his and Frances’s ostracism from polite society and put a damper on their nuptials, and the situation becomes even more dire when Irena is murdered in Frances’s back garden. Frances and George investigate with aplomb. Freeman delivers it all: clever plotting, charming characters, plausible suspects, and red herrings galore. This historical is pure unadulterated fun. Agent: Melissa Edwards, Stonesong Agency. (Aug.)