Kate Shackleton has formed a reputation for her detective work in the days after the Great War and in this the fifth book of the series she is summoned by her cousin James, now working in the India Office, to go to investigate a disappearance of Maharajah Narayan who is presently staying at the Devonshire Arms Hotel at Bolton Abbey.
The following day the Prince’s body is found shot through the heart. Whereas most people questioned talk of it as a ‘tragic accident’, Kate realises the body has been placed in the woods afterwards and knows it to have been murder.
The motives are plenty; a jealous lover or wife? A man who saw the Maharajah hunt down the rare white doe or could it have been an old school friend needing money?
Kate is then told about the rivalry between Indian States and, when another Indian man is seen in the area, wonders if it could have been an assassin from one of them.
When a local man is found drowned in the river, Kate has to find whether the deaths are linked. Her amateur detective skills are really put to the test as British and Indian Officials want things sorted out quickly but quietly.
Frances Brody knows how to hold the reader attention and make them continue reading into the small hours of the night. It is wonderful to be able to enjoy these absorbing crime novels which do not indulge in horrific descriptions of death or violence yet which seem believable.
The author is meticulous about her research giving the reader a real experience of time and place. A pleasurable, relaxing read.