Lady Julia is a recently widowed amateur detective who solves murder cases along with a private inquiry agent, Nicholas Brisbane. Lady Julia is vacationing with her two brothers, Plum and Lysander. Lysander, who just got married without his father's permission, is immediately summoned to the Bellmont Abbey for Christmas. Lady Julia who had spent past few months investigating her husband, Lord Edward murder with a private inquiry agent, Nicholas Brisbane is glad to go home at last. Lady Julia had felt a special connection with Nicholas and was disappointed when he did not contact her again but she wore his pendent upon her person as a reminder of their singular adventure. On her way back she does not realize that a murder and Nicholas Brisbane await her at the Abbey. Upon her arrival she realizes the Abbey has many guests this year including two distant cousins, Lucy and Emma, an aunt, Aunt Dorcas, and Sir Cedric, Lucy's fiancé and his assistant, Henry Ludlow. When her meddlesome father, Lord March introduces her to Nicholas Brisbane and his fiancé, Mrs. King, she gets a shock. She recovers quickly by diverting her attention to her travel companion Alessendro. They are visited upon by Uncle Fly and his protégé Snow. Their party gets very interesting when Snow is murdered and Lucy confesses to killing Mr. Snow. Lord March employs Brisbane and Lady Julia to investigate the murder. On examination Brisbane concludes that Snow was not killed with a blow to the head as Lucy claimed instead he was strangled to death by a man who preferred his left hand.
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Meanwhile Lucy and Emma are poisoned with laudanum but are saved by Lady Julia and Brisbane at the last moment. Aunt Dorcas goes missing and some household things are found by Lady Julia in Snows possession. Lady Julia realizes that a new ghost haunts the Abbey and it seems to know its way around her home. Brisbane and Lady Julia start investigating and have difficulty lining up suspects. The more the investigate the more they realize people are not what they seem. Mrs. King is a thief, who has stolen a royal treasure and Brisbane will become a viscount if he manages to capture her red handed. Mrs. King also steals Lady Julia's Grey Pearls while roaming around the Abbey under the disguise of a ghost and Brisbane gets very angry when Lady Julia spoils his surveillance of Mrs. King's activities. Brisbane then explains to Lady Julia how he had been working hard to make Mrs. King entrust him with her secret and that Lady Julia had spoiled all his work.
After a lot of detective work they finally manage to make the killer confess but during this journey they try not to be attracted to each other but fail miserably. Henry Ludlow had killed Mr. Snow as he was blackmailing Emma with some love letters from her past. As Henry Ludlow loved Emma dearly she was able to manipulate him into killing Mr. Snow. Unfortunately Lucy had stumbled upon the scene. Sir Cedric decided to marry her but treated her like a slave. Aunt Dorcas returns and it is revealed that she had long suspected Emma of killing her sister and that she had been the one who had attempted to poison the sisters. Brisbane had whisked her away to a nearby gypsy camp when she thought Emma might try to get back at her. Lady Julia tells Brisbane that they can only be together if he treats her like an equal. She also helps him by finding the Jewel Mrs. King stole in a Christmas pudding. Brisbane leaves to capture Mrs. King and does not try to communicate with Lady Julia. Lady Julia is alarmed to hear that Sir Cedric drowned during his journey to India (she suspects Emma may have pushed him over board to free her sister, Lucy, from a disastrous marriage)and that Lucy had inherited all his money. The sisters had decided to make India their new home. Later Brisbane writes a letter to Portia, Lady Julia's sister, in which he asks her to help him decorate his new home and to not tell Lady Julia anything about him and his new home. Lady Julia finds the letter and decides to accompany her sister and to settle the matter between them once and for all.
Best part of story, including ending:
I liked the way author introduced so many characters and still managed to pack the story up nicely.
Best scene in story:
I really enjoyed the scene where Lady Julia is following a ghost only to realize she was being followed by Brisbane and her father and that she had managed to destroy the cover he had built so precariously.
Opinion about the main character:
I liked Lady Julia's persistence and that she follows her on lead even when Brisbane hides most of the stuff from her,