Murder At Midnight by Katharine Schellman
The setting is Hertfordshire, 1816. A light dusting of snow is falling on the ground. Widowed socialite, Mrs. Grantham, is hosting her grand holiday ball. Friends near and far arrive, and it is, indeed, the most festive party. Among the guests are Lily Adler (also widowed), Sir John her late husband’s brother, Lady Adler (her well-respected mother-in-law) and other guests including businessmen and investors.
Also in attendance are the Hartleys, their son, Jack and their young daughter, Amelia. But when the Hartley’s arrive, the room goes silent – the other guests stop and stare – and then the whispers – oh, those horrible whispers.
Back then women were held to the highest of standards. Chaperoning was a must. Being alone with a man was frowned upon. Even the most innocent conversations could suddenly become unbearable gossip.
Recently Amelia has been the target of ugly rumors about her relationship with another young man also attending the party. She is quietly shamed and ignored by most of the guests. But when the party is finally wrapping up and folks are ready to leave, they realize they’re facing a massive snowstorm that came out of nowhere!
Roads are treacherous and become impassable, leaving most of the guests snowed-in. The hostess is taking it all in stride. But Lily feels horrible for the way the Hartleys, especially Amelia, were shunned at the party by most of the guests and now they are all snowbound together – indefinitely.
And as if that isn’t bad enough, the next morning there’s a body found lying in the snow – shot – murdered. Accusations fly as other guests accuse Amelia of this terrible crime – not because of any solid proof, but because of her “questionable reputation.”
Sir John is not only one of the guests, but a magistrate. He knows his sister-in-law, Lily Adler has a nose for crime solving and trouble shooting. He quickly enlists her help – and Lily is quick to also enlist Jack’s help. They don’t believe this murder is Amelia’s doing, and there is no time to waste to find the real killer who is roaming freely on the snowbound estate.
Together the three of them discover that some of the guests, with their high and mighty attitude, are hiding behind well-built facades to cover up their own scandalous secrets – and some of them are downright deadly.
This is an intriguing tale filled with avarice, blackmail, questionable investors, missing jewelry and illicit affairs. It was a period in time when things were austere and formal. But there’s nothing prim and proper about straight up murder!
Murder At Midnight is A Lily Adler Mystery by Katharine Schellman. The authenticity of this setting is immaculate. The characters are “A+” true to form. The various lies and deceptions in this story are quietly woven into a mesmerizing blanket of murder. This is a superb mystery perfect for the holiday season or a chilly winter night!
A copy of this book and cover photo was provided by Crooked Lane Books.