Wednesday, December 21, 2022

ARC Review: The Secret of the Lost Pearls by Darcie Wilde

The Secret of the Lost Pearls

Darcie Wilde
Series: A Useful Woman Mystery
Publication: Kensington (December 27, 2022)

Description: Beyond the glittering ballrooms and elegant parties of Regency London lurk all manner of unexpected dangers. In Darcie Wilde’s captivating mystery series inspired by the novels of Jane Austen and written with the wit of “Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s cheeky asides in Fleabag” (Bookpage), no one is better equipped to help ladies who find themselves wronged than “useful woman” Rosalind Thorne…

Rosalind Thorne may not have a grand fortune of her own, but she possesses virtues almost as prized by the haut ton: discretion, and a web of connections that enable her to discover just about anything about anyone. Known as a “most useful woman,” Rosalind helps society ladies in need—for a modest fee, of course—and her client roster is steadily increasing. Mrs. Gerald Douglas, née Bethany Hodgeson, presents Rosalind with a particularly delicate predicament. A valuable pearl necklace has gone missing, and Bethany’s husband believes the thief is Nora, Bethany’s disgraced sister. Nora made a scandalous elopement at age sixteen and returned three years later, telling the family that her husband was dead. But as Rosalind begins her investigations, under cover of helping the daughters of the house prepare for their first London season, she realizes that the family harbors even more secrets than scandals. The intrigue swirling around the Douglases includes fraud, forgery, blackmail, and soon, murder. And it will fall to Rosalind, aided by charming Bow Street officer Adam Harkness, to untangle the shocking truth and discover who is a thief—and who is a killer.

My Thoughts: This is the sixth Rosalind Thorne mystery. Miss Thorne has excellent breeding, a wide circle of useful acquaintances, and very little money. She makes her living as a "useful woman" who can be hired discreetly to solve problems in the haut ton.

When she is contacted by old school friend Bethany, who is now Mrs. Geral Douglas, to find a very valuable pearl necklace which his gone missing, Rosalind doesn't seem to think this will be a diffucult job. But when she moves into the house and discovers the Bethany also lives with her hypochondriac mother, her lazy and drunken father, her sister Nora who has returned after a scandalous elopement with an unsuitable man, her sister Mariah, and her sister-in-law Penelope, Rosalind finds that the pool of suspects and secrets in the household both multiply.

When Nora's supposedly death "husband" Bryan Cantrell resurfaces and wants something from Nora, things get even more complicated. And the complications aren't resolved when someone murders him.

Rosalind has taken on her toughest challenge in this episode. I enjoyed the setting of this story. I also liked the way Rosalind was taking control of her own life. I liked her relationship with Adam Harkness and her maid Amelia. 

This was an engaging and entertaining story which makes me want to read earlier episodes in the series. 

Favorite Quote:
"Well..." Mrs. Hare glanced over her shoulder. "In the middle of all this, Gilpin comes running down, saying her missus is in hysterics, and Mrs. Douglas, she goes up to see what she cand o to help, and Mr. Douglas, he shuts himself up in his room, and somewhere in the night, the pearls is away with the fairies."
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

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