I can remember many years ago roaming around my college library and coming up with a copy of Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier. I’ll admit, I was wasting away trying to read George Eliot, and finding this gothic mystery was so much fun. Good stuff.
When I chose to review Rhys Bowen’s latest installment of the Royal Spyness Series I was excited she wrote it in the likeness of Rebecca. If you like mystery in an old English house next to the cliffs (really scary, exceptionally sharp cliffs) I think you’re going to love The Last Mrs. Summers.
An Excerpt from The Last Mrs. Summers
Lady Georgiana Rannoch is just back from her honeymoon with dashing Darcy O’Mara when a friend in need pulls her into a twisted Gothic tale of betrayal, deception and, most definitely, murder. . . .
I am a bit at loose ends at the moment. My cook, Queenie, is making my new role as mistress of Eynsleigh something akin to constant torture as Darcy is off on another one of his top secret jaunts. And Grandad is busy helping wayward youths avoid lives of crime. So when my dearest friend, Belinda, inherits an old cottage in Cornwall and begs me to go with her to inspect the property, I jump at the chance.
After a heart-stopping journey in Belinda’s beast of a motorcar, we arrive at the creaky old cottage called White Sails and quickly realize that it is completely uninhabitable. Just when I’m starting to wonder if I would have been better off trying to get Queenie to cook a roast that hasn’t been burnt beyond all recognition, we meet Rose Summers, a woman Belinda knew as a child when she spent time in Cornwall. Rose invites us to stay at Trewoma Hall, the lovely estate now owned by her husband, Tony…
Our increasingly awkward visit soon turns deadly when a member of the household is found murdered and all clues point to Belinda as the prime suspect. I soon learn that some long buried secrets have come back to haunt those in residence at Trewoma Hall and I’ll need to sift through the ruins of their past so Belinda doesn’t lose her chance at freedom in the present. . . .
In this edition of the Royal Spyness series, Georgie, who is back from her honeymoon, finds herself bored as her husband returns to work. After being nearly run down by Brutus, a car driven by her best friend Belinda, they go to Cornwall to check out a small house her friend has inherited. Belinda was a part of a group of friends in this town that included children of the manor houses as well as children of the domestic workers.
If you liked Rebecca, by Daphne du Maurier, you will find there are some similarities which the author acknowledges at the beginning of the book. Look for brooding housekeepers and a second wife who can’t even come close to filling the role of the first wife. I really liked this mystery, even if Darcy, Georgie’s husband wasn’t a big part of it. Nothing like being stuck in a giant, creepy house with your best friend and a murder mystery to solve.
I was given an advanced reader copy of this book and have left an honest review.