Julia Stuart returns in her follow-up to the bestsellingThe Tower, the Zoo and the Tortoisewith this clever murder mystery set in Victorian England, brimming with her signature charm and fabulous characters.
When Indian Princess Alexandrina is left penniless by the sudden death of her father, the Maharaja of Brindor, Queen Victoria grants her a grace-and-favor home in Hampton Court Palace. Though rumored to be haunted, Alexandrina and her lady's maid, Pooki, have no choice but to take the Queen up on her offer.
Aside from the ghost sightings, Hampton Court doesn't seem so bad. The princess is soon befriended by three eccentric widows who invite her to a picnic with all the palace's inhabitants, for which Pooki bakes a pigeon pie. But when General-Major Bagshot dies after eating said pie, and the coroner finds traces of arsenic in his body, Pooki becomes the #1 suspect in a murder investigation.
Princess Alexandrina isn't about to let her faithful servant hang.
Near the outset of Stuart's zany first mystery, a late Victorian historical, Princess Alexandrina of Prindur (aka Mink), the daughter of an Indian maharajah, faces eviction from her father's London house after her debt-ridden parent's death. Mink staves off the creditors for a year until getting a reprieve from the queen, who offers her a "grace-and-favour residence" on the grounds of Hampton Court Palace. Over the reservations of her maid, Pooki, who believes the palace to be haunted, Mink accepts, only to find herself in the midst of a murder inquiry in which she has a personal investment. During a picnic at the palace's Pond Gardens, a guest expires after eating an arsenic-laced pigeon pie that Pooki prepared. Fans of Stuart's novel The Tower, the Zoo, and the Tortoise will find the same wit on display. A noblewoman, for example, praises H.G. Wells's Martians for sparing Hampton Court "as any right-thinking monsters would." Agent: Grainne Fox, Fletcher & Company. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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August 06, 2012
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