Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman is a country house mystery set just prior to WWI. Lady Clementine Montford has been planning her annual summer ball with the aid Mrs. Jackson, her capable housekeeper.
When Teddy Mallory, the dissolute and corrupt nephew of her husband is murdered, Lady Montford fears that her own son may be implicated. Joining forces with Mrs. Jackson (definitely beyond the social boundaries of the time), Lady Montford steps beyond gender boundaries as well. While certainly not in favor of the methods of the suffragettes, she does consider herself as capable of being more than a wife and mother, and she will do her best to find the guilty party.
Edwardian details--social, political, and cultural--abound in the novel. And although both Mrs. Jackson and Lady Montford venture outside of their comfort zones, they remain products of their times and circumstances.
I found it interesting to see the prominent views of the time clearly articulated by even the protagonists; neither Mrs. Jackson nor Lady Montford are rebelling or fighting for women's rights. Both are truly uncomfortable with the roles they feel forced to play.
This is a debut novel by Arlen, and it will be interesting to see how the lady of the manor and the housekeeper develop in future novels.
NetGalley/St. Martin's Press/Minotaur Books
Historical Mystery. Jan. 6, 2015. Print version: 321 pages.