cover image A Devious Death

A Devious Death

Alyssa Maxwell. Kensington, $25 (304p) ISBN 978-1-61773-838-8

Maxwell’s well-crafted third Lady and Lady’s Maid mystery featuring Lady Phoebe Renshaw and her maid, Eva Huntford (after 2016’s A Pinch of Poison), shows how class lines were blurred in post-WWI Britain. In August 1919, 20-year-old Phoebe and her elder sister, Julia, are invited by their cousin Regina Brockhurst to visit their relative’s new home, High Head Lodge, and help remodel the rundown manse into what Regina vaguely describes as a “gathering place for today’s enlightened intellectuals.” But a confrontation ensues when Regina’s mother, brother, and sister-in-law show up with a lawyer in tow. Regina’s recently deceased father, Lord Mandeville, left all his money to his daughter and nothing but an empty title to his son. When someone stabs Regina to death with a hat pin, suspicion falls on the members of her immediate family, but Phoebe and Eva soon discover that others stood to gain from Regina’s demise. Maxwell artfully portrays the personal dynamics of English society at the time, and readers will hope to see more of the endearing Phoebe and Eva. Agent: Evan Marshall, Evan Marshall Agency. (Jan.)