A Resolution at Midnight (A Lady Dunbridge Mystery, 3)

Written by Shelley Noble
Review by Elizabeth Knowles

In this entertaining third Lady Dunbridge Mystery, Philomena Amesbury, the young, widowed countess of Dunbridge, is in New York City, residing at the Plaza with her trusted butler, Preswick, and her maid, Lily. It is the Christmas season, 1907, and “Phil” is involved with upper-crust New York’s charity endeavors. A cryptic note sends her to a Union Square nickelodeon, where she finds a muckraking New York Times reporter murdered. He had been investigating the Black Hand, but things are going to go far deeper. This complex story moves with dizzying speed and a huge cast of characters; I freely admit I had trouble keeping it all straight.

Phil was married off at seventeen to the elderly, abusive count, who died four years later, leaving her penniless. She earns money as a detective for a mysterious, anonymous agency. Her only contact is the elusive “Mr. X,” whom she never sees, unless he is in disguise or in the darkness of her bedroom, where they are apparently having a sensuous affair.

She is also acquainted with the police force, particularly “good cop” handsome Detective Sergeant John Atkins and “bad cop” corrupt, bullying Charles Becker. Against a glittering backdrop of Christmas in Manhattan, Phil and a whole cast of friends and acquaintances from all levels of society get involved with danger and mayhem as they try to find out who killed Tommy Green and why. Phil encounters threats and violence, seemingly from all directions. Clearly someone wants the investigation stopped, before whatever Tommy Green found becomes publicly known. As the ball drops on New Year’s Eve for the first time ever, will there be a resolution at midnight?