Death of an Unsung Hero is a historical mystery by Tessa Arlen. It is the fourth book in her WWI era Lady Montfort mystery series. I have read the first book in the series, so I was excited about the opportunity to read this latest addition.
WWI has brought some changes to the Montforts- their manor house now serves as a rehabilitation center for officers affected by “neurasthenia”, more commonly known as shell-shock. Everyone seems to be making wonderful progress, but then one of the officers is found dead in the garden and all signs point to murder.
There are many in the village who think poorly of the men staying at the house; they believe they are cowards who are shirking their duty, and that diseases of the “nerves” don’t exist. Could one of them have killed the officer? Or perhaps one of the other men staying at the house imagined that he was back in the trenches and lashed out, with deadly consequences. It is up to Lady Montfort and her housekeeper Mrs. Jackson to figure out what happened before the medical board closes down the manor house.
This was a satisfying mystery. The story unfolds from the dual perspectives of our two amateur detectives; this allows them to cover more ground, so to speak, as they interview a wide range of potential witnesses. Slowly but surely, secrets are revealed, but the big reveal surprised me, and I was impressed with the way Arlen put together a seemingly unsolvable crime.
I would recommend Death of an Unsung Hero. I think this book- and the series as a whole- would appeal to fans of Downton Abbey; there are a great deal of similarities in the two series. This book functions fairly well as a standalone; I have surely missed a great deal of backstory in books 2&3, but I did not feel lost at any point in the narrative. Historical mysteries are one of my favorite genres, and the Lady Montfort books are exceptionally well written. They contain a layer of depth and insight that set them apart from other series. I am looking forward to catching up on the books I’ve missed, as well as waiting to see what the future holds for Lady Montfort and Mrs. Jackson.
I received a digital copy of this book from Netgalley/the publisher in exchange for an honest reviews.