I want to escape right into that picture on the cover.
This second book in the series picks up almost where book one left off. Deanna’s mother and sister are still abroad and her father is busy working so Deanna continues her stay with the Ballards. She goes on calls with “Gran Gwen” and they attend a few parties, keeping her in the eye of eligible bachelors that she really has no interest in. She wants a career as a detective and not many suitors would be happy to have their wives chasing down criminals. They attend a birthday party at the Grantham Estate where Maude Grantham has brought in a entire theatre company to perform. It was quite a night, Deanne even meets one of the actresses, Amabelle Deeks. Deanna is surprised when Amabelle shows up at the Ballard’s door in the middle of the night scared about something and needing a place to stay. Even more surprising is finding a body the next morning in the conservatory. A young actor from the play. When Deanna goes to tell Amabelle she is nowhere to be found. Dee thinks her new friend my have something to do with the murder especially because she ran away. Quickly Deanna, her wonderful maid Elspeth, and Joe Ballard are trying to help their friend Will, a sergeant with the Newport Police solve the case. But just because they are “working with” Will doesn’t mean that aren’t going to do some investigating and get into some trouble on their own.
I really like the characters and their development. We see Gran Gwen and Laurette are more liberal thinkers like Deanna while the Granthams are more conservative. All our very opinionated. Dee was growing more comfortable and trying things like riding a bicycle and joining a bicycle club. Her mother would definitely not approve. She is a strong willed young woman. A subplot dealt with her feelings for Joe and his feelings for her. They do make a good team but can they ever be more than friends. There are also several interesting characters connected to Amabelle and they play.
The story takes come great twists as our protagonist hones in on the guilty party. Secrets come to light and the reveal is filled with action.
Shelley Freydont’s descriptive way of writing brings all the characters to life right along with the “cottages” of Newport and the Fifth Ward. As a reader I felt like I traveling right along with Deanna as she followed all the clues and all the place she would sneak into to get the answers. It was really thrilling and fun.
An excellent addition to this series!