When the Duke of Penrith’s provincial steward dies, Raif Jarrett comes north as the duke’s agent to sort out the tangle of mismanagement and malfeasance on the duke’s estate. Raif’s own military background is some preparation for the assortment of bullies and blackguards that he meets, but when he crosses a powerful man in town, he finds himself thrown in gaol for murder. With the help of the enigmatic Miss Henrietta, Raif manages to extricate himself from accusations and begins his own investigation into the dastardly deeds occurring in the town of Woolbridge.
This book was a slow starter. The prose was dense and there were lots of mysteries surrounding the main character that felt overdone. With that said, the main character himself was a memorable one–a gentleman (possibly the illegitimate son of the duke?), a soldier, an artist, and a fisherman. I also enjoyed several of the minor characters–the friendly poacher, the hunchbacked dowager, the benevolent innkeeper’s wife. The ending did not wrap up cleanly enough for my tastes, but I suppose that one positive of that is that I’m very interested in reading the next book in the series.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. All opnions expressed in this review are my own.