Author Evelyn Hervey is a pseudonym for HRF Keating.
The master of the house ordered his usual whiskey before bedtime, but someone served him a letter opener through hs throat instead. And whom did a bumbling sergeant from Scotland Yard suspect murdered him? Miss Unwin, the young governess ....
-from the cover
Miss Harriet Unwin is the featured sleuth in this novel, which is the first in a series of three mysteries written by HRF Keating in his guise as Evelyn Hervey. Had I written this novel, I would have disguised my identity as well.
In a nutshell, the story is as follows: Miss Harriet Unwin is a governess in a Victorian home, where three generations of the same family live together. The family name is Thackerton, made wealthy by their invention of a steam process for making hats. Mr. Thackerton senior is soon found stabbed to death in his library, and suspicion falls on the governess. Of course, she's innocent, but threatened with arrest or worse (being turned out of the household to face a life of poverty), she feels that she must clear her name. The police sergeant is a major bumbler, but soon Harriet finds herself out of the loop of suspects. But wait...after a second murder, her fortunes change yet again...but with an entire house filled with suspects, the road to clearing herself is an uphill one.
Sounds good, right? And it really could have been, had it been written well. I have a fondness for Victorian settings as well as governesses, so I was looking forward to this one, but as things progressed, I had to force myself to finish this one. The characters are all flat, the solution is anything but satisfactory, and comes out of nowhere at the end of the novel. I couldn't feel even the slightest amount of pity for the heroine, which is really sad.
Perhaps this one is more for people who enjoy cozy mysteries set in historical time periods, but serious mystery readers might want to skip this one.