March Middleton is a "modern" woman, meaning she doesn't really see the need to keep the social conventions polite English society expects young women to follow. She smokes and drinks, but not in front of her male relatives. March is about to embark on a new stage of her life. Her father has died and she has sold off the estate and is heading to London to live with her godfather, Sidney Grice, a man she know nothing about.
Grice is a private eye extraordinaire, or as he prefers to call himself a "personal detective." He has an excellent reputation and so can pick and choose his cases. He is a gruff know-it-all and a snob - a short, slightly built man with a glass eye. Grice and March are visited by Mrs. Dillinger who wants to hire him to investigate the murder of her daughter, Sarah, whose husband William Ashby has been arrested for the murder. Grice declines the case, but March, feeling sorry for the woman agrees to pay Grice out of her personal funds if he takes the case and lets her tag along. He agrees. At the time of Sarah's murder several unsolved murders of young woman had already taken place in London.
Grice begins March's education into private investigation work. Combined with his maid, Molly; Parker, the morgue worker; Harriet, a woman March met on the train to London, and Inspector Pound of the London police, the investigation gets off to a rocky start. Everyone adds a little bit of information to the clues, but they don't add up.
This is a great book. Filled with quirky characters, the plot line moves quickly through to its conclusion. The humor is borderline snarky, the relationship between all the characters filled with love and exasperation with each other. I will admit that I was surprised by the ending and not in a bad way. This is the first in the Grover Street Detective series and I look forward to more.
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