I received a copy of this book from Netgalley/the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Diamonds of Death is the second book in Vivian Conroy’s Lady Alkmene mystery series. I enjoyed reading the first book in the series, so I was looking forward to this book.
Lord Winters was murdered in his manor house. Logic and reason dictate that the perpetrator of this heinous act was the burglar who was found standing over the body, but the man claims that Lord Winters was already dead and the precious gems he came to steal are nowhere to be found.
It just so happens that Lord Winters’ late wife was Lady Alkmene’s aunt, and the burglar is a friend of Lady Alkmene’s friend Jake Dubois. This is a little too much of a coincidence, but this provides Alkmene and Jake with the opportunity to go to the manor house to visit her cousins. Alkmene plans to offer her condolences to these cousins she has never met, and Jake will pose as her chauffeur.
Their primary concern is proving Mac the burglar’s innocence, but Alkmene and Jake quickly realize that the House of Winters is thoroughly dysfunctional. Her three cousins range from suspicious to guarded to outright hostile. There’s clearly a lot going on that extends far beyond the death of Lord Winters.
This is a satisfying mystery. Having the characters confined to a gloomy manor house for most of the story helps to build tension and suspense. Alkmene’s cousins have unique personalities that have been shaped by the events in their life. They are just as suspicious of her and her sudden arrival as she is of their potential motivations for wanting their father dead.
If there was one disappointment, it was that Alkmene and Jake didn’t get to spend as much time together as they did in the first book. This is due to the nature of their ruse; as her chauffeur, Jake is supposed to confine himself to the servants’ quarters. Alkmene and Jake do have the opportunity to share their findings and suspicions, but part of the appeal of the first book was their rapport.
I would recommend Diamonds of Death. This functions well as a standalone book, so you don’t have to read the first book in the series before this one. Alkmene is an empathetic and insightful narrator, and this helps her in her mystery-solving efforts. I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series!