Lord & Lady Hetheridge – A Mystery Trilogy
Dramatically Summer has ended, and Autumn has begun. It is time to report on “what I read last Summer.” With the aid of Book Bub (a daily offering of e-books on types you select) this Summer I discovered Emma Jameson’s series of detective novels. They were perfect reads for the hot, muggy summer that spread across the country this year.
Set in present day London the mystery action centres around Lord Anthony Hetheridge, ninth baron of Wellegrave and chief superintendent for New Scotland Yard, and his team, Kate Wakefield and Paul Bhar. Chief Superintendent Hetheridge is a classic, hands-on, detective.
Kate has risen through police ranks and is an insightful and persistent investigator. During her off times she cares for her developmentally handicapped older brother and her young nephew, members of her socially challenged British family. Paul also comes from a disrupted, Anglo- English, family and lives with his doting mother, a torrid romance author.
What results from the detective work of these divergent characters are mystery novels in a contemporary “Upstairs-Downstairs/Downton Abbey”style. (Lord Hetheridge even has a clever and dramatically inclined butler, Harvey.)
The novels do not have the Galbraith/Rowling’s intricate plots based on extensive research, nor the historical, cultural and psychological backgrounds of Jacqueline Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs novels. Nor do they have the African or Scottish flavours of McCall Smith’s Mama Makutsi’s No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency or Isabel Dalhousie’s philosophical workings.
They are, however, carefully crafted, suspense filled stories that examine contemporary English life and the crimes committed by colourful characters to equally interesting victims.
The first three novels follow the characters in a continuous time line. Ice Blue (2011) introduces the characters and focuses on the murder of a wealthy entrepreneur. Hetheridge is personally involved in the background of this mystery. As he and his team learn to work together, they also discover much about each other as well as abut corporate crime.
In Blue Murder, 2012, the murder of two university students deepens the team’s relationship, but also their awareness of each’s backgrounds and personalities. The world of drug dealing and corporate bankruptcy forms the background for this novel.
Something Blue (2013) involves environmental crimes as well as several more personally motivated murders. In the midst of this investigation each character of the team comes to a much deeper appreciation of the other members.
The detective work in each novel serves as a “page turning incentive”. The development of the relationship between the three detectives adds interest and humour to the plots. The results are amusing and thought-provoking mysteries. Jameson has written two more novels with the same characters, and four other detective novels.