Saturday, October 8, 2016

ARC Review: Death Among Rubies by R. J. Koreto

Death Among Rubies
Author: R. J. Koreto
Series: A Lady Frances Ffolkes Mystery (Book 2)
Publication: Crooked Lane Books; Reprint edition (October 11, 2016)

Description: Lady Frances Ffolkes is incensed when she finds out that her dear friends Gwendolyn and Thomasina have been subject to vicious threats. Promising to uncover their attacker, she travels with them to Kestrel's Eyrie, the fabled estate belonging to Gwen's family. But soon Frances faces an even greater problem, when Gwen’s father, a powerful diplomat, is stabbed to death with his prized ruby dagger.

Frances, with her loyal maid June Mallow at her side, jumps right into interrogating the estate's numbered guests: a charming Turkish diplomat with a habit of sneaking off into the night, a brash American heiress with lofty dreams of becoming mistress of the Eyrie, two gossiping widows with their own scandalous secrets, and Gwen's own aunt tasked with keeping the affairs of the estate in order among the chaos of the investigation. But as the case unfolds, Frances's righteous conviction might just be the very thing that leads danger--and even more death--to her own doorstep.

Old sins do indeed cast long shadows in Death Among Rubies, a delightful closed-room mystery in the vein of Agatha Christie and the second in R.J. Koreto's effortlessly charming historical series.

My Thoughts: Lady Frances Ffolkes and her loyal maid Mallow are off on another adventure. This time Lady Frances is going to a house party with her friends Gwendolyn and Thomasina. The party is being held at Gwendolyn's father's estate. He is a noted diplomat and among the guests are the French Ambassador and his wife, a Turkish man named Mr. Mehmet, and an American father and daughter, along with a variety of notable locals.

When Gwendolyn's father is found stabbed to death with a Turkish dagger from his collection, the mystery begins. Who wanted him dead? Lady Frances is also dealing with some rumors that say that Gwendolyn and Thomasina have an improper relationship which could be damaging to their reputations if if spread. Lady Frances has to deal with the rumor while trying to solve the mystery. She is up against the mores of the day which say that a woman should not even be interested in that sort of thing. She has to battle a local police inspector who wants to blame the crime on a roving gang of strangers but who is led to suspecting Thomasina.

Lady Frances calls in a policeman from the Special Branch in London who worked with her on her first case but who doesn't really have jurisdiction until the local police call him in. The local police have no desire to do that. Lady Frances also calls in her boyfriend who is a noted London lawyer to protect Gwen's interests.

Soon another couple of murders happen and Lady Frances has a more difficult case to solve. She has quite a number of suspects and a wide variety of motives to sort through too. But Lady Frances is up to the task. Assisted by her loyal maid Mallow she sorts through all the possibilities and brings the culprit to justice - sort of.

This historical mystery is firmly set in the Victoria era where women's' rights are just a hope for the future and where class distinctions are just beginning to blur. This was an engaging story and an enjoyable read.

Favorite Quote:
"You also deeply insulted the inspector, Lady Frances. You publicly embarrassed him."

Frances took a breath. "I am also sorry for losing my temper and calling the inspector an imbecile and coward." She paused. "It was rude of me to publicize those facts."
I got this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

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