Set in the Downton Abbey era of post-WW1 England, Alyssa Maxwell’s latest historical mystery finds sleuthing duo Lady Phoebe Renshaw and her lady’s maid, Eva Huntford, investigating a murder at a house party attended by fashion royalty. This evocative, well-crafted historical series appeals to fans of Rhys Bowen, Deanna Raybourn and Victoria Thompson.
Amid the aftermath of the Great War and its hardships, it’s no wonder that many wish to rediscover life’s pleasures—parties, fashion, dancing. Still, Lady Phoebe and Eva are disconcerted when a small gathering at the home of Phoebe’s sister, Julia, becomes a far larger and more glamorous affair . . . Julia has invited her favorite French fashion designer, Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, and Coco’s current beau, the Earl of Chesterhaven. Coco has brought an entourage of her own, including two models, and intends to use the gardens as a photographic setting for her latest creations. Madame Chanel is as outspoken as she is talented, offering a scathing critique of Phoebe’s fashion sense. There is tense competition between the models as well. When one of the guests is found dead of smoke inhalation, it appears to be a tragic accident. But was a footman really to blame for mistakenly closing the fireplace flue, or is there a more sinister explanation? Phoebe is determined to find out, despite the protestations of her sweetheart, Owen Seabright. Both above and below stairs, Phoebe and Eva uncover myriad motives—career ambition, romantic rivalries, and even deeper betrayals. For despite the surface beauty, there are ugly secrets in the world of Maison Chanel, ones that a killer will risk anything to protect. “Agatha Christie meets Downton Abbey…exemplary.” —Publishers Weekly on A Deadly Endowment