03 January 2015
In Time for Christmas Pudding
Mrs. Jeffries and the Merry Gentlemen, Emily Brightwell
This is a long-running mystery series (this is book 20-something) about the household staff of Inspector Witherspoon, a Scotland Yard detective with an impressive record of solved crimes. What his superiors don't know, of course, is that his housekeeper, the titular Mrs. Jeffries, and the rest of the household staff have formed an investigative team of their own. They go where Witherspoon isn't trusted, among other servants, or to the shopkeepers, and gather clues which they bring back to the clever Mrs. Jeffries, who sits down with her employer each evening and manages to subtly feed him the clues until he comes to the inevitable solution.
In this story, one of the members of an investment club called "the Merry Gentlemen" is murdered, and Witherspoon (and of course his unknown compatriots in service) must find out whodunnit quickly, or his Christmas holidays will be ruined.
The readers of 20-plus books in this series can't be wrong, so I feel a bit guilty about being so diffident about it. It's not a bad book, I just have so many series I like better that I wouldn't involve myself in this one. The characters are appealing and the stories remind one of the plotlines and protagonists in the Pennyfoot Hotel mysteries. If you're looking for a Victorian cozy, this is a good one to try (well, starting at the beginning, anyway).