A Woman of Consequence
Impoverished spinster Dido Kent is back for a third case in this entertaining series. She has now had to give up her comfortable cottage due to lack of family funds and is living with her clergyman brother and his less-than-welcoming wife. While visiting local ruin Madderstone Abbey in company with some friends, young Penelope Lambe falls from the steps and is knocked unconscious. Before succumbing, everybody hears her say that she had seen somebody – surely this must be a sighting of the Grey Nun, the ghost who haunts the abbey in proper “Gothick” fashion. When a skeleton is found at the bottom of a pond drained for landscaping, the plot thickens and Dido must turn sleuth again.
This series can run for many volumes if they are all as entertaining as the first three. Think of a delicious mixture of Jane Austen, Georgette Heyer and a good example of a typical historical mystery and you have a description of this book. Dido tells her viewpoint on events through her letters to her sister, and the rest is told in the third person which works admirably well, giving the reader the best of both worlds. There is a good teasing plot involving ghosts, old sins casting some long shadows, the identity of the skeleton and the romantic entanglements of various people, including Dido herself. As somebody who reads quite a few novels set in this period, I was impressed by the ambience, which reveals itself in small details, as well as the plot and the overall tone of the book, immersing the reader effectively in 1805. If you are looking for a quality historical crime series to get stuck into, then you have just found it.