Death on the Sapphire

Lady Frances Ffolkes is an independent woman in Edwardian England. Indignant that women are so patronized and ignored by men, she has flouted society by moving out of the home of her brother, the Marquess of Seaforth, and has begun attending suffragist meetings and volunteering at an East End soup kitchen.

When Major Colcombe, a friend of the Marquess, dies under mysterious circumstances, the manuscript he'd been writing about his experiences in the Boer War vanishes. Rumor has it that the manuscript could be damaging to the reputations of some very lofty government officials, and several people advise Lady Frances to leave matters alone. Now on her mettle, Lady Frances begins to investigate the manuscript's disappearance with the reluctant assistance of her reliable maid, Miss Mallow.

As she digs into Major Colcombe's past, the winsome Lady Frances tangles with both Scotland Yard and the Secret Branch, discovers some shocking secrets, and finds herself being courted by two very different men.

Rather adorably redoubtable, Lady Frances is a charming heroine, and Miss Mallow a plucky sidekick. Lady Frances's logical methodology and intelligent inquiries will remind readers of Jacqueline Winspear's Maisie Dobbs. R.J. Koreto's first novel, Death on the Sapphire is perfectly paced, mixing delightful personal details about Lady Frances and Miss Mallow with details of life in a bygone era and the tragic aftermath of the bloody Boer War. The authentic setting and enjoyable characters are sure to appeal to lovers of mystery and historical fiction alike. --Jessica Howard, blogger at Quirky Bookworm

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