Lady Georgina Rannoch really doesn't want to spend Christmas at the family Castle in the wilds of northern Scotland, but there isn't much choice. She'd taken pity on her sister-in-law Fig, who hadn't been well after baby Adelaide arrived (moving Georgie one step further down the line of succession to the throne of England) and gone to keep her company at the Castle. But then Fig's unpleasant mother arrived, and made Georgie feel superfluous. And then, Fig's equally unpleasant sister and niece arrived and made Georgie feel unhinged.
The holiday season is approaching, and Georgie really doesn't want to spend it in drafty Castle Rannoch with her awful in-laws. But Fig absolutely refuses to open up the London house for her, saying it's too expensive. Georgie is beginning to think that she'll have to suck it up (not her words), when she spots an ad in a society magazine for a
young woman of impeccable background to assist hostess with the social duties of large Christmas house party.Intrigued and hopeful, Georgie responds immediately, and soon finds herself at the home of Lady Camilla Hawse-Gorzely near the village of Tiddleton-under-Lovey in Devonshire. But when she arrives, the household is in an uproar because the police are investigating the death of their neighbour.
One death is bad enough, but there's another the next day, and the next. Georgie believes that they can't all be accidents, despite the villagers' insistence on blaming a local curse, and manages to convince the handsome and mysterious Darcy O'Mara (who just happens to be related to the Hawse-Gorzleys) to help her investigate.
Rhys Bowen is at her best here, describing Georgian-era English Society with affection and humour.
This light cozy mystery is a quick enjoyable read, especially if one is familiar with Georgie.
As a bonus, a chapter on how to have an old-fashioned English Christmas closes the book.
FTC full disclosure: Many thanks to the publisher for a review copy of the book.