To Wed an Heiress
Described as ‘a novel of romantic suspense,’ this Regency combines romance and mystery. To rescue the family estate from his late father’s gambling debts, Haro, the Earl of Anglesford, must marry an heiress, though it means breaking an understanding with his cousin Eda. The heiress he finds, however, proves less suitable than he hoped, and he is in the process of breaking off the engagement when her murdered body is found. Unfortunately, he is the chief suspect.
The mystery is satisfying and the behavior of the characters credible, albeit stereotypical: snobbish aristocrats casually assume the privileges of rank; the vulgar, bullying mill owner crudely uses his wealth to further his ambitions by marrying his daughter into the aristocracy; beneath her polished façade the daughter is spiteful to those she can order around; Eda is jealous of her rival. Haro is trying to do the decent thing, and the investigator is shrewd, but the others do not behave well. The author notes that the characters are ‘a light-hearted recasting of the characters from the Norman Conquest period in the world of the British Regency.’ Recommended.