In the wake of her elderly husband’s death, Lady Philomena Dunbridge is determined to make a new life across the Atlantic. But just as she arrives in Manhattan, her best friend Bev’s husband is murdered. To make matters worse, Bev is a prime suspect in the case. Unless the matter is solved, Phil(omena) will never be able to get out into American society and make her mark.
For a lady of Philomena’s spirit, this will not do at all. Aided by her loyal butler Preswick and exotic lady’s maid Lily, Phil dives straight into the investigation, exploring the shady world of horse racing, gambling, and racketeering. Along the way, she encounters the handsome Detective Atkins, a suave Austrian diplomat, and the mysterious Mr. X. A few tips from a Sherlock Holmes story point her in the right direction, and will Phil’s wits and vivacity be enough to foil a villainous plot and put the right people in jail?
This book is the first of a new series that has been compared by some reviewers to Downton Abbey. The breezy style took a while to capture my attention, but the lives of the dissolute upper class did have a certain air of D.A. about it. Lady Dunbridge, her butler, and her lady’s maid all had dozens of hints dropped about their backstories that were never fully fleshed out, which made me wonder if I was in fact in a later book of a series, not the first one. About two-thirds of the way through, the story picked up steam, and I found myself racing to the end to find the solution to the mystery, and hoping even more fervently, to find out the identity of the mysterious Mr. X. While not extremely deep in character development nor overwhelmingly suspenseful with its clues, this book was a fun read, and I would happily read more titles in this series.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.