After the events at Mena House, Egypt, in the first novel of this 1920s-set historical mystery series, our heroine, the widowed American Jane Wunderly, and her (obnoxious) Aunt Millie decide to take up residence at Wedgefield Manor, an estate in the English countryside owned by Lord Hughes, a former and possibly future paramour of Aunt Millie’s. But they aren’t just there for the sake of Aunt Millie’s romantic prospects. Lord Hughes’ adopted daughter, Lillian, is actually Millie’s child, and Millie wants to get to know her now-grown daughter a little better.
While Millie is working on her social life, Jane is taking advantage of the presence of a genuine RAF pilot and his Moth to take flying lessons, much to Millie’s disapproval. But it’s a far more mundane vehicle that causes tragedy for their household, when estate mechanic Simon Marshall goes for a nighttime drive and ends up the victim of a fatal crash. After the police discover that the car’s brakes were cut and that evidence points to Lord Hughes being the culprit, Jane must solve another murder mystery, as her aunt begs her for help in clearing his name and protecting their daughter.
This is a tidy puzzle of a murder mystery with some excellent ace-aro and lesbian representation. And while I did side eye Jane asking the veteran with the West Indies accent if he didn’t want to go “home” after the war, I thought the race and class consciousness throughout were pretty good. The main issue I had with this book is that it drags considerably in the middle third: fortunately, it picks up towards the end, even before I figured out whodunnit and why.
Overall, a decent cozy mystery that does the required job of cleansing my reading palate between books. Not too challenging, but better than half the stuff out there today (and I say that as someone who reads at least one cozy mystery a week.)
Murder At Wedgefield Manor by Erica Ruth Neubauer was published March 30 2021 by Kensington Books and is available from all good booksellers, including
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