“Death Among Rubies” by R. J. Koreto is set in Edwardian England and spotlights Frances Ffolkes, the sister of a Marquis. She is very active in civic organizations and a suffragette, which dismays her brother tremendously. She is very independent and lives in a hotel for ladies instead of the family home. Her dutiful lady’s maid, June Mallow is her constant companion and fellow sleuth.
In this novel, the second featuring Lady Frances Ffolkes, we are invited to Kestrel Eyrie, a fabled estate belonging to one of Frances’ friends. This friend, Gwen, is a sweet, unassuming young woman who is a special friend to Tommie. These three women are active in a woman’s suffragette movement which is frowned upon by most of the men of this era. This special relationship between Gwen and Tommie is not looked upon with favor and the two are the recipients of some threatening notes and confrontations. In working to solve the mystery of who is behind these threats, while they are staying at Gwen’s ancestral home with her family, Gwen’s father is stabbed with a jeweled dagger. There is much intrigue and speculation among the important government figures who are at the house and also among the staff and other visitors.
Lady Frances, along with Mallow, her maid, insinuate themselves in many situations which are dangerous, not to mention unladylike. Lady Frances’ brother is a member of Parliament and is not happy with his sister’s nose if everyone else’s business.
I enjoyed this book as much as I did the first in the series, “Death on the Sapphire”. I most enjoy reading about the people and historical times of this series.
Lady Frances Ffolkes is incensed when she finds out that her dear friends Gwendolyn and Thomasina have been subject to vicious threats. Promising to uncover their attacker, she travels with them to Kestrel's Eyrie, the fabled estate belonging to Gwen's family. But soon Frances faces an even greater problem, when Gwen’s father, a powerful diplomat, is stabbed to death with his prized ruby dagger.
Frances, with her loyal maid June Mallow at her side, jumps right into interrogating the estate's numbered guests: a charming Turkish diplomat with a habit of sneaking off into the night, a brash American heiress with lofty dreams of becoming mistress of the Eyrie, two gossiping widows with their own scandalous secrets, and Gwen's own aunt tasked with keeping the affairs of the estate in order among the chaos of the investigation. But as the case unfolds, Frances's righteous conviction might just be the very thing that leads danger--and even more death--to her own doorstep.
Old sins do indeed cast long shadows in Death Among Rubies, a delightful closed-room mystery in the vein of Agatha Christie and the second in R.J. Koreto's effortlessly charming historical series.