Devourer of books with a preference for fiction. Quite good at competitive reading. Happily hoards books of all kinds. Gets stabby going too long without reading.
Disclaimer! I was granted a copy of this through NetGalley in return for a fair and honest review.
This is one of the novellas Deanna Raybourn wrote about her intrepid heroine Lady Julia Grey, who the reader can follow in five very enjoyable Victorian set mysteries, where she solves murders along with her delightful husband Nicholas Brisbane. While this novella can absolutely be read on its own, you shouldn't deny yourself the pleasure of starting at the beginning, with Silent in the Grave.
The large and very eccentric March family are all gathered at the family estate, Bellmont Abbey to perform the Twelfth Night revels. This is something they do every ten years and Lady Julia's father is directing the rehearsals like a general in the field. Lady Julia and Brisbane are somewhat distracted by the mystery of who abandoned a newborn infant in the helmet they were intending for St. George. Julia's father, the earl, asks them to locate the child's mother (although they mustn't miss rehearsals while they investigate).
As the younger generation of Marches present seem just as peculiar and unusal as Lady Julia and many of her siblings, Julia and Brisbane are aided by their some of their nieces and nephews. The clues seem to suggest the baby may have originated in an abandoned and rumoured to be haunted cottage at the edge of the village. The couple are surprised when they discover who is seeking refuge inside.
It's been several years since I read The Dark Enquiry, the fifth and final full novel about Lady Julia and Brisbane. I had actually forgotten about Ms. Raybourn's books for a while, and was delighted to discover that not only had she published four e-novellas continuing the story about one of my favourite Victorian sleuthing couples, but some of her more recent novels are at least loosely connected to the Lady Julia mysteries, with one of them being about one of her nieces. This is a fairly short novella, but it reminded me how funny these books can be and what an amazing supporting cast the many colourful March siblings make up. I am absolutely going to be reading the remaining three novellas as well, the final of which I suspect sets up the ground work for the more recent books, set in the early 20th Century.