Review of Book 1 of the Lady Fan-mysteries series "The gilded shroud" by Elizabeth Bailey
Earlier this week I read part 3 in the Lady Fan -mysteries series as an ARC. That novel was that good I decided to purchase the earlier instalments as well. This novel is the first one in the series. Because I read a later book I know who Ottilia is going to marry and that at least a few people are innocent but the mystery was not spoiled by reading a book later in the series. In this first novel Lord Francis and his mother are better described than in book three probably because the writer assumes we know by then how he looks like. In this first novel the sexual attraction he oozes is a lot more evident. I understand the writer wrote romance novels for ages. I would suggest to keep the tasty dish aspect of Lord Francis more like this first novel than the more background one is the later versions.
So what is this first novel all about?
A young widow has just become the companion of a dowager when the daughter in law of that dowager is murdered. Ottilia and the second son try to solve the mystery. There are many possible suspects and family secrets to unearth.
A good detective story with a nice romantic subplot. I also liked the moments of humour like when two old gossips are questioned.
There was however one thing that made me wonder: how can Ottilia and Francis know the countess had intercourse when she has been in her bed for hours afterwards? Now they have rapekits for that but with hours passing and wrapped in sheets the conclusion that the murdered could see while she was in that bed that she had just been f...ed and not just sleeping evaded me. Smell I could have comprehended but view? Covered by a duvet?
Talking about smell. The novel is nowhere explicit in either sexual things or violence but it is explained quite well that you can smell that someone died due to the loss of bowel control. The first one walking into the scene is oblivious to that due to a headcold that blocked her nose.