1841. Liberty Lane, now Mrs Robert Carmichael, is honeymooning on Cephalonia, when she and her husband meet an Englishman, Mr Vickery, who invites them to dinner. Through Vickery, they meet a handful of people, including a handsome, blind, teenaged Greek boy (Georgios) who may be a son of Lord Byron. His mother is dead, and the boy had been living with his great-grandparents, who are recently deceased. Vickery plans to take Georgios back to London and adopt him. In an early morning accident, one of Vickery’s English friends drowns, and Georgios, who was also swimming, feels responsible. The Carmichaels leave, shaken, but with no expectation of seeing any of these people again.
Back in London, Robert is called away to Italy for something unrelated to the story. Liberty learns from a society friend that Mr Vickery has returned to London with Georgios (now George), and all of London is talking about this “son of Lord Byron.” Eventually, Vickery calls on Liberty, asking her to investigate a possible kidnapping attempt on George. Liberty finds a woman who claims, unconvincingly, to be George’s mother. Then a murder occurs and the boy disappears.
I’ve read and enjoyed other Liberty Lane mysteries. As usual, Peacock brings the world of Victorian England to life. Liberty’s friends Amos Legge and Tabby add good color and helpful detection skills. Fool’s Gold lacks a romantic element, which I missed. The mystery is layered and engaging, although I was disappointed in places when Liberty did not see obvious clues. The ending was not exactly what I expected, but I’d figured out much of it. Still, the writing is good, and I love these characters. I’ll be reading more of this series.