Emily Brightwell has written 26 of these novels and each one is still a delight. Mrs. Jeffries keeps house for Inspector Witherspoon and though he does not know it, she and her household staff are part of the reason he has such a wonderful record for solving crimes.
When the inspector gets a case, the household goes into action. They may have friends in low places, but it is the people who serve in the great houses who have all the gossip and news that offers many a clue when there appears to be none to the police.
This episode takes place near Christmas when every member of the household is busy with Yuletide preparations. There also is a long-awaited wedding between two of the staff coming up as well.The cook is doing more baking and cooking than usual in honor of the upcoming festivities, but she like the rest of the staff takes time to do some sleuthing in between chores.
The characters are well – developed and you feel like you can identify with many of their own personal problems and quirks even though this takes place in Victorian times.
The plots are thoughtful and intriguing, but these are still English mysteries in the manner of Miss Marple. They have earned the ‘cozy mystery’ designation and will be enjoyed without all the detail focusing on the grizzly part of the crimes. You will instead be charmed by the interaction between staff and friends that love their Inspector and the means they use to discern the clues.
I highly recommend these for light reading and a beginning crime book for young people.