Bellfield Hall is a murder mystery but although there is a murder in the book, it's the other mysteries that keep Dido Kent busy during her visit to the country house. Why does Lady Montague need that alarming concoction from the pharmacy? Why does Sophia Harris play the pianoforte so badly in company when she plays so well when alone? Who is the father of the gatekeeper's child? And why did Richard Montague suddenly break off his engagement with Dido's niece, Catherine and disappear.
It is the last that brings Aunt Dido to Bellfield in response to a pleading letter from Catherine. At the ball during which her engagement to Richard Montague was announced a tall man with red hair walked up to Richard and said nothing, just stared him in the eye. Richard went pale, took Catherine out to the terrace, told her he was penniless, and entreated her to announce the engagement was over and leave immediately. The next morning he was gone.
Catherine wouldn't have it. Instead she wrote Aunt Dido for help. A spinster aunt is always expected to be available to help in any way. Fortunately, Dido is a born detective, a sort of proto-Sherlock Holmes. She can make deductions from very small bits of information. But it's all on the up and up. The reader sees everything she sees and with a little care can figure out what's going on.
A delightful, five-star mystery.
2012 No 102