Thursday, April 26, 2012

THE GILDED SHROUD by Elizabeth Bailey

Publisher: Berkley
Date published: September 6, 2011
ISBN 9780425242896
Historical Mystery
Cozy Mystery
Reviewed by Gina
Obtained Via Publisher

In the early hours of the morning a maid enters the Lady Emily’s room. An odd smell permeates the air, but the servant continues on with her work and leaves without checking further. A short time later Lady Emily’s woman enters and discovers her mistress is not only dead but apparently murdered. Her screams bring all in the house running including the second son, Francis.

Francis soon discovers that his brother, Lord Polbrook, has hastened away in the early hours of the morning leaving no word where he is bound or when he will return. When Francis goes to his mother to relate the events as he knows them of Emily’s demise he meets the Dowager Lady Polbrook’s new companion, Ottilia Draycott.

Ottilia has taken the position as companion to fill what has become the empty days of her life. She didn’t bargain on stumbling into a murder investigation. Nor did she imagine in her wildest imaginings that she would meet the man who could very well steam her heart. Side by side Ottilia and Francis begin to investigate Emily’s murder when another body turns up. Who will be next?

Elizabeth Bailey’s THE GILDED SHROUD is an entertaining mystery. While murder can in no way be deemed “entertaining” Ms. Bailey’s telling of the story holds the reader’s attention from start to finish. With each new character that is introduced you wonder if he or she is the killer. By twists and turns it is not clear until the very end whether or not Randall, Lord Polbrook, is the killer or not.

There are some threads that draw the reader into the story which are akin to inside jokes, particularly around the search for the priceless heirloom fan. Not much attention is paid to the looks of rooms outside of Ottilia’s search of them. As well little is made of food being served, merely that meals are taken. The relationship between Francis and Ottilia moves along at a comfortable pace although I didn’t feel much emotion between them as their attraction grew. It does become evidence that they are concerned about breaking with their class statuses but theirs does evolve into a sweet romance.

I liked each character in and of themselves. They were very individualized, each one with their very definitive personality.

THE GILDED SHROUD is an easy read and looks to be the first of a fun series.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.

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