Just Make Believe (Lady Adelaide Mysteries)

Written by Maggie Robinson
Review by Valerie Adolph

It is 1925, and Lady Adelaide Compton has been invited to a house party for a few days in Gloucestershire. It should be a time to hobnob with other rich and titled friends, their devoted servants and their magnificent horses. The men are handsome, the women both beautiful and stylish, but there is a murderer in their midst. Their hostess, Lady Pamela, has dropped dead among the orchids in her conservatory.

A body, buried secretly some ten years ago, is discovered in Lady Pamela’s garden. Her cousin, the pale governess, falls to her death down a flight of stairs, her clothes reeking of gin. Lady Adelaide finds herself overwhelmed and calls for the help of Detective Inspector Deverand Hunter of Scotland Yard. He proves to be both a help and a distraction – able to question everyone thoroughly and receive medical reports but also able to set Lady Adelaide’s heart fluttering. She is in love with him and cannot forget his kiss.

An additional distraction is Lady Adelaide’s late husband, Rupert, a cad who has slept with every female character in the novel and has been killed in a car crash. Yes, he is a ghost, appearing regularly and annoyingly, but helpful in providing clues necessary to solve the crimes.

This is a period piece, full of flappers and heroes from WWI. The perfection of the architecture, the jewelry, the horses carries the reader out of the regular everyday world. This is the author’s third Lady Adelaide mystery. An American, she has done a creditable job of researching the era and the location.

This is a pleasant, light-hearted read coming from an author who has published many historical novels focusing on the romantic tension between members of the British upper class. Her title ‘Just Make Believe’ fits the novel perfectly.