Saturday, October 20, 2012

An Unmourned Death, by Audrey Peterson

An Unmourned Death
By Audrey Peterson
2002

There are certain sub-genres of mystery that I can't pass up and country house mysteries are right at the top of the list. So when I ran across An Unmourned Death at my local library I snapped it right up.

This one is not exactly like the country mysteries most of us are probably used to. It takes place a bit earlier than one typically would expect, in the late nineteenth century, and the protagonist is one Jasmine Malloy, a young widow who works for a detective agency on cases that require a woman's touch.

In the latest such case Malloy is sent to Renstone Hall to investigate the disappearance of Lord and Lady Renstone's daughter, Phoebe. The Lord is not about to take home any awards for winning friends and influencing people and he makes it clear to Malloy from the outset that he wants nothing to do with her investigation. Fortunately the rest of the residents of the Hall are more helpful.

Some rather dark and disturbing things are afoot here and as Malloy begins to make some progress on the missing persons case, murder breaks out, as it so often does in these books. With a little help from a few interested parties Malloy proceeds in a rather methodical fashion to get to the bottom of things. Though I thought I had this one all sorted out, the culprit in this case actually came pretty much from way out in left field, though not so much so that you could accuse the author of not playing fair.

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