Ask Me No Questions is an excellent start to a new gilded age female amateur detective series.
Philomena Amesbury, Lady Dunbridge, has finally finished the obligatory 18-month mourning period for her husband. The Earl of Dunbridge, was, by all accounts, not a very good husband. Deciding that staying in England as a 26-year-old Dowager Countess doesn’t appeal, she escapes to America. With only her aging butler, Preswick, and Lily, a stowaway she decided to make her ladies’ maid, she arrives in New York City. Philomena sees her childhood friend, Bev, walking toward the gangway to greet her. Before Philomena can reach her, Bev rushes back to her car and finds her husband shot dead. Worse, he is lying in the lap of his mistress. When the police suspect Bev, Philomena decides to try to find the real murderer.
The setting of early 20th century New York is so well described that the reader is transported to a different time. The use of the language of the time period (like thimblerig and cortege) added to the authenticity. Philomena is an exuberant heroine who seems to be both of the time period but also more modern in her thinking. Both Preswick and Lily prove to be excellent sidekicks. The mystery was excellent. I didn’t guess the murderer though looking back there were plenty of clues carefully hidden in the story.
Ask Me No Questions is the first Lady Dunbridge Mystery and I can’t wait for the next. If you like Sherlock Holmes type mysteries with a dash of American spunk, you will love this new series. 4 stars!
Thanks to Forge Books and NetGalley for an advance copy.