Frances Wynn, Countess of Harleigh, endures a year of mourning for an unfaithful husband. When the mourning ends, she throws off her black clothing and heads for London, shedding not only the clothes of mourning, but also the crumbling mansion that now belongs to the second son, Graham and his wife Delia. With her young daughter Rose, Frances takes a long-term lease on a house in Belgravia, part of London.
As a mystery lover and a cozy mystery lover to boot, I enjoy discovering new authors as well as relying on my long-time favorites. In a recent article, I read about Dianne Freeman whose new series stars an amateur sleuth, Frances Wynn, Countess of Harleigh. The first book is A Lady’s Guide to Etiquette and Murder, published in 2018 and the second book is A Lady’s Guide to Gossip and Murder, published in 2019.
Frances is a bit taken aback when she discovers George Hazelton, brother to her best friend Fiona, is her next-door neighbor. She and George and Alicia Stoke-Whitney share a dark secret they wish to keep in the dark.
Frances Wynn, Countess of Harleigh, endures a year of mourning for an unfaithful husband. When the mourning ends, she throws off her black clothing and heads for London, shedding not only the clothes of mourning, but also the crumbling mansion that now belongs to the second son, Graham and his wife Delia. Frances is enjoying her freedom in London when she discovers her mother in America is sending Frances’s younger sister Lily and their aunt Hetty to live with Frances so that Frances can sponsor Lily for the season. The story heats up when Inspector Delaney visits Frances and tells her that her husband’s death is being investigated as a possible murder. Frances is certain he died of a heart attack, but is that accurate? To make matters worse, Graham is suing Frances to keep the money Frances’s father bestowed upon her when she married Reggie, Graham’s older brother. The suit freezes Frances’s bank account, at least temporarily. Could the plot worsen? read A Lady’s Guide to Etiquette and Murder to discover the whole story.
Frances is herself an American. Her upwardly climbing and wealthy mother sought a title for her daughter so she herself would have bragging rights. She and Frances knew little about Reggie Wynn when the marriage was arranged. Frances soon found herself having to pretend she knew nothing of Reggie’s unfaithful ways. When her daughter Rose is born, Frances focuses on the child. Now, Lily is coming to London to marry another titled Englishman.
Frances vows to help Lily make a better choice than she herself made in marrying Reggie. Other complications will take part of her concentration, however.
Dianne Freeman has written compelling characters who command attention and the plot is complicated enough to remain interesting without being over the top.
Freeman’s blog, https://difreeman.com/, provides readers with a brief biography and an introduction to the books as well as a readers’ guide. For her blog, Freeman interviews other authors and she gives insight into some of her minor characters as well.