The Affair of the Incognito Tenant
When Charlotte Dodson’s husband dies suddenly, leaving her a widow with a young son, she is fortunate to find a position as housekeeper. Her elderly employer, Major Sir Arthur Fallowes, treated his staff with kindness and respect. Upon his death in the spring of 1903, Charlotte and other staff face uncertain futures. During the search for the Major’s only relative, the estate attorney attempts to lease the property.
On Charlotte’s first encounter with “Mr. Sigerson,” she does not think he will rent Larchbanks, but he does indeed, stating that the orchard to the rear is ideal for his bees. She has some antagonism towards the new master initially, but when he recognizes her as a shrewdly observant person, tensions begin to thaw.
Sherlock Holmes is attempting to regroup after an attack by the evil Col. Moran, who has fire-bombed Holmes’ Sussex manor. Deciding to lie low until he can plan his next move, the great detective rents a remote country estate. Never does he imagine the resourceful assistance he will receive from his housekeeper.
Lora Roberts has written a delightful addition to the world of Sherlock Holmes. Through Charlotte’s eyes we see the world of her era, the upkeep of the estate, dealings with people in town and of course her interactions with Holmes. Roberts has managed to capture the flavor of the times as well as presenting the reader with a highly entertaining mystery. I for one hope we can follow Charlotte in subsequent books.