Mystery novelist and amateur sleuth Lady Amy Lovell is back in The Mystery of Albert E. Finch, the latest installment in Callie Hutton’s Victorian Book Club Mystery series.
The novel kicks off with Amy’s wedding to Lord William Wethington, a fellow member of the Mystery Book Club of Bath. During the celebratory wedding breakfast, Amy’s cousin, Alice Finch, is poisoned and collapses face-first into her meal. There’s no reviving Mrs. Finch, and soon the Wethington wedding reception is declared a crime scene.
Local detectives charge Mrs. Finch’s husband, Albert, with her murder, but Amy isn’t sure that he’s guilty. With their honeymoon on hold, Amy and William put their sleuthing skills to the test and begin their own investigation. When a second body turns up, the newlyweds must race to figure out who is poisoning their wedding guests—and why.
Hutton’s Victorian-era Bath is a delightful setting, even given the murders taking place in its streets. And it’s easy to root for the newlywed sleuths, whose relationship is clearly rooted in friendship and respect. Though the story takes a humorous turn when several of Amy’s relatives unexpectedly move into the couple’s home, The Mystery of Albert E. Finch also addresses issues like misogyny and classism with grace and heart.
There’s a running joke about William’s disappointment in his delayed honeymoon that goes on for a bit too long and loses steam, but overall, Hutton’s writing is sharp and witty. Amy and William are in top form, and readers will enjoy reuniting with them and the rest of the Mystery Book Club in this consistently pleasurable cozy mystery.