Title: Farewell Blues
Author: Maggie Robinson
Series: Lady Adelaide #4
Lady Adelaide Compton had prepared herself to say good-bye forever to Detective Inspector Devenand Hunter. It would be a welcome relief not to get mixed up in any more murders. Not to mention become un-haunted by her late and unlamented husband Rupert, whose post-life duty had been dedicated to detection and her protection. Surely he’d performed the necessary number of good deeds to get out of Addie’s fashionably bobbed hair and gain access to Heaven by now.
But when Addie’s prim and proper mother Constance, the Dowager Marchioness of Broughton is accused of murdering her secret lover, there can’t be enough ghosts and gentlemen detectives on hand to find the truth. The dead Duke of Rufford appeared to lead a blameless life, but appearances can be deceiving. Unless Addie, Dev and Rupert work together, Constance will hang, and Great War flying ace Rupert will never get his celestial wings.
Let’s get this out of the way first: I’m usually not a big fan of cozies where the sleuth investigate because a friend/relative is a murder suspect and they want to clear that person’s name. This has to do with the fact that I can suspend my disbelief and accept that a random person can walk around and ask others about a crime that has recently been committed, especially because (at least in good cozies) the sleuth usually doesn’t just walk in and demands to know everything about the murder but is more subtle about it. I can buy that but can’t quite believe that it would be quite as easy if the person asking if you didn’t also have an argument with the victim is a child/sibling/friend of the current main suspect. Additionally, I often feel the urgency that this set-up should provoke is missing. If someone a character cares about is suspected of a crime and a lengthy prison sentence or even an execution hangs over their head I expect that character to be worried. But often they just treat it like every other case.
This was a very long-winded way of saying that even though I had loved the previous Lady Adelaide novels I was a bit sceptical when I heard that in Farewell Blues Addie’s mother was the main suspect in a murder. But then I was pleasantly surprised when it turned out very differently from what I had feared. Addie being the daughter of the main suspect makes her investigation more difficult. Some people very much don’t want to talk to her. At the same time, it’s difficult for Addie because it’s her mother who’s a suspect and if she fails to find the true killer her mother will likely die. But despite that Farewell Blues is still a mystery novel where the main question is…well whodunit? It manages to find a perfect balance between these two aspects.
(The other question is of course: how long will I be able to read about Addie and Dev yearning for each other without going mad? Let me just say that I was very happy and content after the last page. Very.)