The Burning Issue of the Day (A Lady Hardcastle Mystery)

Written by T. E. Kinsey
Review by Viviane Crystal

It’s 1910, and retired former spy, Lady Hardcastle, receives a note from a member of the women’s suffrage movement in Bristol, England. It seems a little-known journalist, Christian Brookfield, has been found dead in a burned down building. Lizzie Worrel, a supporter of women’s suffrage, is arrested under arson and murder charges. Lady Hardcastle is famous for her sleuthing skills and is called upon to help clear Ms. Worrel’s innocent name, especially as the police have called off their investigation since they think they have caught the culprit. So, Lady Hardcastle and her lady’s maid, Florence Armstrong, set off in the Lady’s Rover 6, a unique open car that requires a great deal of energy to start and proper wear of googles, cap and scarves to withstand the elements.

The pair are a joy to read about, as their banter and witty comments are highly amusing. They certainly consume enough tea, scones, sandwiches and cakes to fuel any activity in which they engage. They set out “to poke the hornet’s nest with a good, stout stick and see what happens.” The plot focuses on a certain run-down area of Bristol and an attempt to make the merchants sell so that the area can be rebuilt as a successful upscale business development. Money must be obtained, and the deceased but perceptive Brookfield had run into a scheme devised to illegally obtain funds for this scheme. It also appears that there’s a Men’s Anti-Suffragette Movement group whose designs inadvertently wind up involving Ms. Worrel. The Burning Issue of the Day is a highly pleasing, clever novel sure to satisfy both mystery and historical fiction fans.