The Sixth Countess of Harleigh Mystery
While George Hazelton has a new mission recovering a book for the British Museum, his new wife, Frances, the Countess of Harleigh, has her own assignment, preparing a young woman's presentation to the Queen. Instead of finding the irascible woman who asked for her help while she and her family were in mourning, Frances discovers a woman nearly insensible! How could the Vicountess Lady Winstead become so ill so quickly? The equally irascible Lady Esther is certain that someone is harming her old friend and demands Frances uncover the truth. Could the niece Lady Winstead is sponsoring be poisoning her? Everyone knows there's no love loss between the vicountess and her stepchildren, could they be behind it? As George's mission intersects with Frances's, the newlyweds will have to work together before it's too late!
Class expectations, familial machinations, and greed are at the center of the sixth Countess of Harleigh Mystery. We also get to see diametrically opposed families; Lady Winstead's horrible household versus the Hazelton's caring one. France's aunt and George's sister jump right in to help...even Hetty's beau joins in, whereas the pretentious Lord Jonathon and insouciant Si and Vi are most unpleasant...and possibly worse. While Frances already has reason to dislike the members of Lady Winstead's household, Kate's behavior certainly doesn't engender trust.
I absolutely love this series, from the bantering love of Frances and Hazelton to the complex mystery provided. There's humor and many twists and turns as almost everyone appears guilty! I love seeing George and Frances work together, at their relationship as well as in their "jobs". I also like that the book shines a light on the use, and misuse, of laudanum, and the lengths some people go to in order to control women...and finances.
With fascinating historical detail A NEWLYWED'S GUIDE TO FORTUNE AND MURDER is a brilliantly crafted mystery that kept me engaged from page one.