A Death in Chelsea (Mayfair 100 series)

Written by Lynn Brittney
Review by Mary Fisk

This is the second in the Mayfair 100 series. (The first, Murder in Belgravia, I reviewed for HNR 86 as an online review.)

July 1915: Chief Inspector Peter Beech and his team – Dr Caroline Allerdyce, legally-trained Victoria Ellingham, DS Tollman and PC Rigsby – are eager for a new case. Pharmacist Mabel Summersby, and PC Rigsby’s mother and aunt have also joined them.

Society gossip columnist Adeline Treborne is found dead, an apparent suicide. Her family are convinced it is murder and Adeline’s scurrilous journalism has left no shortage of people who would like to be rid of her. The case quickly proves to be far from simple, and Beech and his companions are once more drawn into the darker side of society – high and low.

I would have liked to have a little description of the deceased Adeline (age, appearance), if only to put her life in context with the developing plot, and I did think that too often we are told a character “looked” angry, frustrated, miserable, etc., but the story moves along at a fair pace and keeps the reader guessing. Mabel Summersby is a great character, a pioneering scientific woman with an interest in forensic policing (although she manages to acquire a 35mm Leica camera 10 years before they went on the market!).