A Sense of Entitlement
A mystery set in 1890s Newport, this third in series continues with the traveling secretary/amateur sleuth, Hattie Davish. Her employer, Sir Arthur, is unexpectedly called away, and Hattie travels to the ‘cottage’ with Lady Philippa, but is soon hired out as ‘social secretary’ to one of the Island’s richest residents. I felt the pace was sometimes a bit slow and the characters do rather a lot of nothing, such as tirelessly planning balls, tea parties and luncheons and trying to outdo someone else, but there’s no shortage of colorful characters and agendas. Given the location the settings are naturally lavish and luxurious. Hattie seems to attract dead bodies as lanterns attract moths but as an amateur horticulturalist, between corpses she ranges across fields looking for new specimens and tracks home all sorts of wayward seeds and prickles on her long skirts. And she often forgets to eat or sleep. I enjoyed these quirky traits, and they make Hattie an endearing heroine.
A comfortable afternoon’s read, this is light-hearted with no undue violence or gratuity, just as a ‘cozy’ should be. A fun read for fans of the previous Davish mysteries or as a stand-alone.