cover image A Fashionable Fatality

A Fashionable Fatality

Alyssa Maxwell. Kensington, $26 (282p) ISBN 978-1-4967-3491-4

Set in 1921, Maxwell’s engrossing eighth Lady and Lady’s Maid mystery (after 2021’s A Deadly Endowment) takes plucky Lady Phoebe Renshaw and her intrepid lady’s maid, Eva Huntford, to the Cotswolds, where Phoebe’s sister, Julia, the Marchioness of Allerton, is hosting a house party. The guests include up-and-coming French fashion designer Coco Chanel, but unfortunately Coco has decided that Julia’s estate would be the perfect place to stage a fashion shoot and has brought her entire entourage without consulting her hostess. Julia endures the imperious Coco and her battling crew—a caddish photographer, two miserable assistants, and two bitterly competitive models. When one of the models is found dead of smoke inhalation, Julia is quick to blame a servant for forgetting to open the flue in the woman’s bedroom, but Phoebe is convinced it was murder. Phoebe and Eva make a great team, seamlessly working together above stairs and below stairs to uncover the truth. An evocative setting, realistic relationships, and a nicely crafted plot more than make up for the unlikely murderer simply confessing at the end. Fans of lighter historicals should be satisfied. Agent: Evan Marshall, Evan Marshall Agency. (Feb.)