Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman is the first book in Tessa Arlen’s Lady Montfort mystery series.
Lady Montfort loves planning her annual summer party. She is happy to have her son home from Oxford, as well as his childhood friends. However, things take a nasty turn when her nephew Teddy is found dead- gruesomely murdered, it seems. Lady Montfort saw her son arguing with Teddy and even shoving him. She knows that her son is not capable of such a heinous crime, but she is also afraid that the investigation will lead back to him.
Lady Montfort works with her trusted housekeeper Mrs. Jackson. Together, they interview the party guests and household servants and reconvene to discuss their findings. Teddy was a troublemaker, and the truth is that any number of people at the party may have wanted him dead. But who among them was angry enough to follow through with their rage?
The story is set in the Edwardian age, so comparisons to Downton Abbey are inevitable. There is quite a disparity between the denizens of the “upstairs” and the “downstairs” servants, and it’s fascinating that they inhabit the same sphere. It appears that many people have secrets, all of which are revealed over the course of the book. The mystery was quite satisfying; I was second guessing all the way up to the big reveal.
I would recommend Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman. The setting is lush, and I loved the inclusion of multiple points of view to showcase different perspectives and reactions to Teddy’s murder. Arlen has created a fascinating world, and I am looking forward to reading the next books in the Lady Montfort series!