With her wedding to Viscount “Lyndy” Lyndhurst just days away, the strong-willed American ex-pat Stella Kendrick talks about Edwardian society – and the focus of a deadly mystery – in Clara McKenna’s third historical mystery titled Murder at Keyhaven Castle in England’s New Forest region at the beginning of the 20th century.
Miss Stella Kendrick and Viscount “Lyndy” Lyndhurst are almost at the altar. From the beginning, their courtship has been plagued by chaos and murder.
The couple met Murder in Morrington Hall, Morrington Hall is Lyndy’s family home. Stella is a motherless American from Kentucky. Elijah Kendrick, her bombastic, controlling father, is a very wealthy horse breeder. Unbeknownst to Stella, he negotiated an alliance for her in England. She’s a American Dollar Princess: Elias dollars “bought” the title of a poor aristocratic family. Luckily, Lyndy and Stella are horse-ridden. It served as a bridge as they gradually dismantled the stereotypes of their courtship.
Lyndy’s grandfather was a well-known breeder in his day – it’s Lyndy’s father who has wasted the family’s money on expensive archeological excavations across the globe. Lyndy knows he must restore the family fortune through marriage – he has as little choice in the matter as Stella – but he is pleasantly surprised by the sincere and intelligent Miss Kendrick. Lyndy’s shock at Elijah Kendrick’s cruelty evokes his innate protective ability, and Stella is happy to be with someone who touches her “without bad intentions.”
They become formally engaged in Murder by Blackwater Bend, while solving another murder. The local constructor, led by Inspector Brown, respects their detective chops: “Besides, Brown had thrown up any kind of standard protocol when these two helped him with his last murder case. They had caught the killer, right? ”
Stella’s wedding to Lyndy is only three days away. Attended by her seamstress, she can not contain her enthusiasm and her worries.
The sweeping dress of white silk muslin plated with cascades of silky, delicate Chantilly lace caressed her figure like a glove. It was the most beautiful dress Stella had ever seen.
What a stark contrast to the man who spared nothing to acquire it for her.
It was not that Stella was not grateful. She was, despite his lack of love, his fault for everything she did, his occasional outburst of temper. Really. He had given her everything: this dress, a lovely home, a beloved horse, an enormous fortune, and a secure future. After all, he was her father. She owed him his very existence. But as her wedding day approached, and with it a promise of a fresh start, Stella counted the days her father went back to Kentucky.
Was it possible to love someone and still wish they would walk away?
Elijah Kendrick is obsessed with Stella’s wedding gifts and assesses the giver’s worthiness according to the price of the gift. He carelessly opens a late-arrived gift. There’s no card inside, and he throws it aside and says, “If you’re ever going to give such a good-for-nothing wedding gift,” he advised the wise sister, “you should have decency to own up to it. ”After leaving, Stella falls in love with the exquisite souvenir:“ Its handle of two intertwined vines was topped by a carving of two connected hearts that framed the resemblance of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. ”A personal note is attached: “May this complete your collection. May you find love that completes you. “But how did the anonymous donor know” of her love of souvenir spoons “or that she has a huge” collection that collects dust back home in Kentucky? ” How very mysterious. Murder at Keyhaven Castle explores Stella’s childhood and family in surprising ways.
Stella’s father insists that she accompany him to the nearby Southampton quay because he wants to show the future viscountess to the Swenson family, who have just started from America. Stella will soon fix their rear motif.
The Swenson family was not here to oblige Stella’s father or to help her celebrate the joyous occasion. When Stella was able to make the necessary introductions at the wedding, they hoped to find an aristocrat to marry Penny.
Although Penny’s legacy was almost as large as Stella’s, Penny’s disposition would be the stumbling block. Stella lamented the unsuspecting nobleman Penny.
Stella’s gaze is captured by an escaped dog, a resurrection at “a colorful fruit market” and an escaped “team of horses”. Adding to the confusion, a hansom cab enters the fight and furiously tries to avoid a collision: “Then suddenly a man stumbled into their path.” Nothing could save him. Inspector Brown is being asked to participate in the investigation into the trampled man’s death. The man must be identified immediately.
“Because several witnesses before his death overheard our victim threatening to kill someone, and we have only a clue about this man’s identity. Here, Inspector, is where you come in. ”
“What is it like?”
Clark handed out a crumpled, dirty newspaper clipping that had been torn out by hand. Brown took the fragment and read it. He hesitated for a moment before sending it to his constable to read. Constable Waterman whistled his surprise.
Do not keep us in suspense. Inspector Brown interviews Lyndy and Stella – can they explain the split clip?
It was the announcement of their wedding that had run in Courier-Journal in Louisville. The same Uncle Jed had mentioned. “We found it on the trampled man.”
“So the man has a copy of our wedding notice,” Lyndy said, handing it back to the inspector.
A copy from a Kentucky newspaper? That and a “pack of matches” were the only items found on the dead man’s body. There are too many events, such as the arrival of the anonymous souvenir, and strange coincidences – a dead man with knowledge of their impending wedding – to be ignored. There’s another murder, this time someone close to the couple. Stella and Lyndy run to find out who is trying to prevent their wedding. Nothing will stand in the way of their long-awaited union that combines the best of the old and new worlds.
Man trampled to death: why did he get a clip about Stella and Lyndy’s wedding?
American relatives show up. Father’s lady friend / journalist heads her over. Stella feels like a commodity. Father is as big a bully as ever. Stella is loyal to Lyndy’s family, she is sick of her father’s cruelty.
Another death. Should the wedding be postponed again? The betrothed sleuths to the rescue. Inspector Brown welcomes their assistance.
More: Read our review of Murder by Blackwater Bend by Clara McKenna
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