Desert Isle Keeper
Nobody's Sweetheart Now
Set primarily in the English Countryside in the summer of 1924, Nobody’s Sweetheart Now is the first in Maggie Robinson’s new series of Lady Adelaide Mysteries. A forward-thinking woman in the 1920s, a proper but swoon-worthy police inspector, a hint of the paranormal, and the little dog too, makes for the perfect cozy mystery.
Lady Adelaide Compton has been recently widowed. Her husband, Major Rupert Charles Cressleigh Compton, crashed his Hispano Suiza, killing himself along with his French mistress. Now in charge of Rupert’s familial estate, Addie has been making the repairs and renovations necessary to bring the house up to modern standards. She decides to see how well she’s done by inviting guests to a Saturday-Monday (weekend stay) during August. It’s hot, and all of the guests have retired to their rooms for a lie-in to escape the heat, when Rupert appears before Addie. He’s definitely dead, but it seems he’s been sent back from the afterlife to do some good deeds before he can pass on. Before Addie can determine whether or not the heat has truly muddled her brain, a body is discovered on her property – which makes one of her twelve houseguests a murderer. Enter Inspector Devenand Hunter from Scotland Yard, an Anglo-Indian who is not going to let these high society house guests boss him around. He’s indescribably charmed by the lady of the house and enlists her help in his investigation, but begins to question his own judgement – and her sanity – when he catches her talking to herself.
Addie is a really sweet character. She’s very kind – a good friend and good mistress of Compton Chase – and she’s quirky; she needs to wear glasses (though she doesn’t like to), she has a cute little dog named Fitz, and she faints (or really just gracefully lies down) when she’s trying to avoid a conversation she finds uncomfortable. Her attitudes towards her staff, towards fashion, and towards the status of those around her give her a more modern outlook than others in the story – in a highly respectable way, of course. Even without her enjoyable cohorts, a series around Addie is worth reading for any fan of cozies.
It’s a great choice on Robinson’s part to introduce Major Rupert Charles Cressleigh Compton to readers after his untimely demise – because otherwise, we might not have grown to like him so much. Addie’s deceased husband was very, very far from faithful to her and Rupert is a truly remorseful phantom now that he’s stuck in limbo. He also seems inextricably linked to Addie’s immediate surroundings. She wants nothing more than to see him gone as their relationship, fraught with his infidelities, brought her nothing but trouble and anxiety.
In a lovely turn of events, Rupert’s regrets in the afterlife make him a great sidekick for our heroine. Addie is not a detective nor does she have a knack for solving crimes like some other mystery heroines, but she is inquisitive and intelligent and the information given her by her ghostly counterpart gives her the opportunity to help Inspector Hunter with more than her observations.
And if you didn’t already believe that this book is made of the perfect cozy ingredients, allow me to describe Dev Hunter. He’s the perfect Inspector, a principled member of the police force, great at solving crimes, and sympathetic towards our heroine while fighting his attraction to her. Dev is immediately able to eliminate Addie from his suspect list – luckily for him since he’s instantly drawn to her – so he lets her into the investigation as his “inside-man,” which gives him an excuse to get to know her a bit better.
I’m so glad to have caught the Lady Adelaide Mysteries at the release of the first in the series, and can’t wait for more with this charming cast of characters. Despite being a huge fan of cozies, I often find some of the tried and true tropes feel tired in some stories: woman in a small setting stumbles onto a murder; her slight involvement leaves her dead-set on finding out what happened; enter handsome Inspector who is annoyed by her antics but you can tell he’s charmed; add in small and adorable animal. But I found the characters and situations in Nobody’s Sweetheart Now to be perfectly executed, and I would recommend this one to any cozy mystery fan.