Murder at Keyhaven Castle (A Stella and Lyndy Mystery)

Written by Clara McKenna
Review by Anne Leighton

This is the third book in the Stella and Lyndy mystery series. It is 1905, and American heiress Stella McKendrick is preparing for her wedding to Viscount Lyndhurst. The marriage had been arranged by her father, a Kentucky horse breeder who aims to gain admittance to Mrs. Astor’s lofty New York social circle. His daughter’s marriage to an English peer would accomplish that. The preparations are elaborate, and despite initially being wed for her money, Stella has fallen deeply in love with her English fiancé. The story is a romance of two people who were not prepared to fall in love, but did, and together forge a strong partnership.

There are two murders in the days leading up to the wedding, a jockey whose death seems accidental and then the father of the bride. Both murders are complex, and it will take the combined wits of Stella and Lyndy to solve them. Also, a mysterious note and a gift arrive, possibly from Stella’s mother, long thought to be dead.

This is an Edwardian love story beset with challenges: two deaths and the matter of Stella’s acceptance into British society. While it is a period novel, the strength of it is the very modern slant—rather than be a helpless maiden, Stella is a strong character who is very much the equal of her fiancé. This story appeals to the mystery lover but also to the reader who enjoys a tale of a unique and very accomplished couple. Very strongly recommended.