Death Comes to Bath (A Kurland St. Mary Mystery)

Written by Catherine Lloyd
Review by Valerie Adolph

Sir Robert Kurland and his wife, Lucy, are visiting Bath in 1822 so that Sir Robert, wounded at Waterloo, can take the waters. Bath is no longer fashionable, but it is hoped that the waters will speed his recovery. With the couple are their doctor and his pregnant wife, Penelope, a young relative, and a few servants. As they settle into their large rented house, they greet new neighbours, the Benson family.

Robert enjoys the company of the outspoken and eccentric Sir William Benson, but the rest of the Benson family—the self-absorbed second wife, William’s three adult sons, and his wife’s two sons—are a different matter. When William is found, apparently drowned in the healing pool at Bath, each one of his family can be suspected along with their doctor. Out of respect for William, Sir Robert and Lucy decide to try to discover the killer.

It does not help them to find that William frequently changed his will and that no will can be found. Yet all six of his family members seem to have great need of his money, and they make a complex assortment of unpleasant suspects.

Lloyd manages to combine serious research with a light narrative touch. Sir Robert Kurland and his family seem less like ‘characters’ and more like acquaintances with whom it is a pleasure to spend time. The mystery is unique, not least in the location of the body. The family of suspects are all wholeheartedly nasty, each in their own way. And there is a twist to the ending. What more could anyone ask for? This was a pleasant easy read. I’ll go looking for more Kurland St Mary books.