Peacock, Caro - 'Keeping Bad Company'
It is London 1840 and Liberty Lane, private investigator, is sipping champagne at a diplomatic gathering. But Liberty is not there in a purely social sense, but to carry out an assignment on behalf of Mr Disraeli. All is going according to plan until the appearance of her brother Tom Fraternity Lane.
Tom works for the East India Company and has returned to England unexpectedly, as he has been called to give evidence in the enquiry into the murder of a wealthy merchant's assistant, whose throat was cut on route to Bombay carrying a consignment of jewels. Tom disapproves of Liberty's career as a private investigator and seeks either to take her back to India or marry her-off to a socially acceptable man. When another murder takes place, against his better judgement, Tom finds himself embroiled in Liberty's determination to seek the truth of the situation. There is much political intrigue and dubious dealings and in the course of her investigations Liberty finds herself crossing swords with an old and most unpleasant enemy.
I liked Liberty enormously, also her prickly independent friend and assistant Tabby. I found the methods employed by a lady of her social standing to extract information, fascinating. Like all good mysteries no-one is quite what they seem, and there is an unexpected twist at the end. This is the fifth in the series featuring Liberty Lane, and I will now make a point of reading the earlier books.
Lizzie Hayes, England