Author: J. New
Published: July 2020 by Phantom Press
Category: Historical Fiction, Vintage Cosy Mystery, Book Review
Autumn, 1936. Ella Bridges, Scotland Yard’s only female consultant is shocked to find a baby abandoned in Kensington Palace Gardens. With no adult in sight and a deadly storm brewing she has no choice but to take him home. The child is swiftly reunited with his parents and Ella believes that’s the end of the matter, but the next day a body is found under the Serpentine Bridge.
Ella Bridges is in London, staying with her brother and his wife for a few weeks. Out for a walk in Kensington Park gardens one day, Ella hears a strange mewling noise emanating from the bushes surrounding the statue of Peter Pan. Thinking it could be a kitten, she’s shocked beyond measure when she discovers an abandoned baby in a pram. Unable to locate the nanny or anyone else in the vicinity, Ella decides the best course of action would be to take the baby to her brother’s house and phone the authorities.
With the help of Sergeant Baxter, her good friend and Scotland Yard colleague, the parents are found and reunited with their baby. The nanny’s disappearance remains a mystery until the following day when a body is discovered trapped under a bridge. A strange note is found tucked into the lining of a handbag which sets in motion a spiralling series of events.
The look on his face told me it wasn’t happy news. “Sit down and have a cup of coffee and tell me what happened. I can tell the news isn’t good. Is it the nanny? Have you found her?”
“We’ve found a body, Miss Bridges. Female. To early to say whether it’s definitely Josephine Brown, but it’s probable under the circumstances.”
Once again Ella and Baxter are involved in a baffling murder case. Ella is worried about Baxter, he doesn’t seem his usual self but her spirits are lifted when she discovers her aunt Margaret is coming to stay for a while. She and her aunt had worked together on a couple of cases and Ella is certain Margaret’s input will be invaluable, although she could never have envisaged where the investigation would take them, much less what they would discover.
I’ve enjoyed each book in this vintage cosy mystery series. Well drawn and likeable characters, well crafted, skilfully put together plots and in this episode we get to know more about aunt Margaret’s very unconventional and secretive back story. One which comes in extremely handy in the present investigation.
Phantom and the paranormal aspect is less in evidence, making just a couple of fleeting appearances. As always, the era is brought to life with lifestyles, prose and descriptive writing. Very enjoyable reading. I hope the series continues.
J. New is the British author of The Yellow Cottage Vintage Mystery series, dubbed ‘Miss Marple meets The Ghost Whisperer.’ Set on the fictitious island of Linhay in the south of England during the 1930’s. And The Finch & Fischer Mysteries, contemporary, British cozies featuring mobile librarian Penny Finch and her rescue puppy Fischer.