REMEMBER WHEN BAXTER LEFT THE PENNYFOOT?
This story begins several months following the conclusion of the previous novel, “Paint by Murder.” It opens with Martin, the butler, who has lost his glasses somehow and four redheaded GIs who have lost their lives, in four separate incidents, as a result of ingesting toxic berries. What do Martin’s glasses have to do with the dead GIs? Not a thing, but they are both mysteries that Lady Elizabeth needs to solve before anyone can rest easy at the Manor House again.
As Lady Elizabeth and Major Earl Monroe work to solve the mystery behind who killed the GIs and why, Kingsbury uses that investigation to explore several major issues. First, Kingsbury explores the devastation wrecked upon British girls and their families when pregnancies occur and the American GIs involved refuse to accept responsibility. And secondly, Kingsbury explores the problem of the married GI and the unmarried British lass.
While this is the situation that Lady Elizabeth and Earl Monroe find themselves in, Kingsbury also brings to the story a situation with a pair who are much younger and of much lesser rank than Elizabeth and Earl. Thus, the author creates yet another opportunity to explore honor and morality versus the desire to live in the moment, all colored by the fear that the GI may be dead the next day.
But it is the ongoing situation – spanning into the 6th book now – between Polly, Lady Elizabeth’s assistant, and Sam Cutter, an American flyboy, that Kingsbury uses to illustrate the emotional toll taken on British women when their Yank boyfriends are ordered back to America. And just when you think that situation, which you have seen coming for the last two books, has played out, Kingsbury jerks you up and twists you in the wind.
So, beware. The end of this tale is not pretty. It is realistic, but it is not pretty.
Cover Art from Goodreads