Heroine of a series of adventures is Frances Doughty, lady detective in the Victorian era. Frances has established a healthy business even though she is seen by many males as doing a totally unsuitable job for a woman and frequently told that she should be looking for a husband. Hers is an equivocal role which crosses many boundaries. She is asked to undertake a variety of tasks varying from small to large for a cross-section of the local population. Queries about the veracity of information given by prospective employees, husbands, business partners and members of groups are a major part of the work.
The minutiae of Frances' work is interspersed during the investigation of these serious events. She has to visit an asylum and a school for the deaf in the course of her work and deals with a character with serious hearing difficulties of an unusual type. In Sherlockian style Frances uses a group of poor boys as her eyes and ears in some circumstances; she also has a maid who has become a stalwart companion with her sturdy support and her physical skills.
The original case wanders through convoluted routes as Frances attempts to deal with many dead ends but eventually she reaches a solution to the initial mystery.
Reviewer: Jennifer S. Palmer
This is the 5th adventure for Frances Doughty.