Edinburgh, 1911: When Maud McIntyre and her lady’s maid, Daisy, form a detective agency, they never dream their first case will take place at a glamorous house in the Scottish Highlands. But when the Duchess of Duddingston, concerned that a notorious jewellery thief will target her lavish weekend party, employs Maud to go undercover as a guest to find the culprit, the agency has its first case to solve…
Undercover with Daisy as her maid, Maud follows a trail of clues across the Duddingston House estate. And as she meets the weekend guests, she hopes one of them will reveal themselves as the jewellery thief. But when one of the house guests is discovered dead, Maud and Daisy realise they’re not only hunting precious gems, but a murderer…
As Maud and Daisy investigate, they realise that a connection in Edinburgh might hold a vital clue that will help them solve the case. Travelling back to the city, Maud hopes that what she and Daisy uncover will help them piece together the murder mystery at Duddingston House…
But when Maud receives a telephone call from the Duchess requesting urgent assistance, she realises that the murderer didn’t have just one victim in mind. Speeding down the drive to Duddingston House, Maud and Daisy hear gunshots ring out across the estate. Will they reach the Duchess in time to save her? And will they catch the murderer in the act?
The Scottish Ladies’ Detective Agency (Amazon) (US Audiobook) (UK Audiobook)
The Scottish Ladies’ Detective Agency is a new cozy mystery series by Lydia Travers. Set in 1910, just months after King George V takes the throne, I found it an unexplored timeframe for a period book. The suffragists are clamoring for women’s right to vote, and Maud McIntyre is right there with them, along with her assistant, Daisy. They form a detective agency in Edinburgh and anxiously await their first case.
There’s been a rash of jewel thefts at country parties, and the Duchess of Duddington hires the agency to be on hand at her weekend soiree to make sure a theft doesn’t happen, and hopefully catch whomever is targeting Scotland’s elite society.
Daisy and Maud work on the case for about 30% of the book, dealing with the theft of some jewels despite their best efforts, and a murder to boot. They compile the clues and find the culprit amongst the guests. I was surprised to see that their case was finished, but as the reader finds out, and as Maud surmises, there’s more to the case than what one sees at first glance.
Several other cases are handled by the McIntyre Agency, and it turns out that some of the cases intersect with others. Maud and Daisy go undercover in several cases, and the descriptions of their costumes are so vivid, I could just see them as male members of the clergy or as a flower salesgirl. Indeed, the descriptions of the settings and what people are eating or wearing help add to the depth of the novel.
This is a promising start to a cozy mystery series and I’m glad I was asked on the Book Tour for The Scottish Ladies’ Detective Agency. Stay tuned next month when I review volume 2 in the series. Highly recommend!
I received a copy of this book from NetGalley and Bookouture in exchange for an honest review; all opinions expressed are my own.
Lydia Travers was born in London. She moved progressively north until settling with her husband in a village on the edge of the Scottish Highlands. She has raised children, bred dogs and kept chickens; and for as long as she can remember has written for pleasure. A former legal academic and practitioner with a PhD in criminology, she now runs self-catering holiday accommodation, sings in a local choir and is walked daily by the family dog.
Lydia also writes as Linda Tyler and her first novel under that name, Revenge of the Spanish Princess, won a 2018 Romance Writers of America competition for the beginning of an historical romance. Her second novel The Laird’s Secret was Commended in the 2021 Scottish Association of Writers’ Pitlochry Quaich competition for the beginning of a romantic novel. Mischief in Midlothian won the 2022 Scottish Association of Writers’ Constable Silver Stag trophy. She has had a number of short stories published in magazines, journals and anthologies in the UK, the USA and Australia.
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