Mayfair meets East End London, to solve a double-ax murder in Chelsea. Welcome to Blue Murder by Emma Jameson.
Chief Superintendent Anthony Hetheridge happens to have a title – the Baron of Wellgrave. He’s also 60, unmarried, and faces the possibility of his title passing to a rather obnoxious cousin. He’s been content with that, until he meets Detective Sergeant Kate Wakefield, born and raised in the East End, with a prostitute for a mother and a sister confined to a mental institution. That’s about as far as one can get from DeBrett’s Peerage.
He’s very close to proposing marriage, including toting around an heirloom family ring. Kate is part of his team, as is Detective Sergeant Paul Bhar. As Hetherdige is considering his marital options, he and his team are called to a townhome in Chelsea. What had been something of a Halloween party for university students while the homeowners are out of town has become something else entirely.
A party-trashed home, considerable damage to the contents, and two students dead – both killed with an ax to the head. One victim is a captain of the university rugby team; the other is something of a nondescript character whom everyone knew, nobody liked, and wasn’t invited to the party in the first place. And complicating everything is the house next door – the home of a titled gentleman who had been arrested, tried, and acquitted for killing his father, brother, and the family butler.
As Hetheridge, Wakefield, and Bhar investigate the murders, they find themselves caught up in cases from the past, family problems, and the relationship between Hetheridge and Wakefield erupting into full-blown passion.
In addition to five novels in the Hetheridge series, Jameson has a second series of novels featuring the amateur detective Dr. Benjamin Bones. The series begins in Cornwall during World War II, and it has a companion series called “The Magic of Cornwall.” Jameson is currently working on the third Dr. Bones mystery.
Blue Murder is full of back stories, a raft of suspects (including the next-door neighbor), comic relief with Bhar’s mother’s tribulations as a romantic suspense novelist, and the Hetherridge-Wakefield romance. It’s a fast-paced, fun read, or at least as fun as a double-ax murder can be.
Top photograph: a townhome in Chelsea, London.