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13 August 2015

Caroline Dunford's A Death In The Highlands

It's August 1910 and Euphemia is back for her second story (you can read my ramble about the first one here). The first book was a quick and enjoyable read and the second proved to carry suit.

As the back cover says, she's still working for the Stapleford's and has been temporarily promoted to help oversee the ongoings during a hunting trip to Scotland. It was fun to see Effie and the others again and to be reminded who innocent and proper she is -- especially when it comes to dealings with the opposite sex.

The unconventional relationship between Bertram and Effie was one of the highlights of the first book for me and continued to be so in the second. With her being a maid and him being a master of the house it is unusual for them to have had a friendship much less one that sometimes seems to be bordering on more. (Of course, readers know that her social standing would actually be higher than his if her grandfather un-disowned her mother.) Sometimes Bertram treats her as a friend and confidant ... sometimes he treats her as he would any other member of the staff. Really, it causes me much consternation at times, too. For the most part, though, even when he is on one of his "Euphemia is just a maid" kicks he still treats her well -- especially when his brother and sister do not. He even offered her the chance to clean up in his personal wash room after she had to repeatedly clean muddy stairs thanks to his sister.

One doesn't always think of the little differences 105 years can make -- like Effie never having had a shower before! Well, one might ... but I didn't until this happened.

Rory, the new butler, also paid more attention to Euphemia than may have been considered proper which confused the poor girl even more. Really. As if she didn't have enough on her mind with concealing her true identity AND supporting her mother and brother AND solving murders all while trying to figure out how to properly manage a household? Now she has TWO men to try and figure out?

I can't wait to see how much more rattled she gets in the next book!

Oh, yeah. The mystery plot of it all. It's a nice change to have a mystery where I honestly had no idea "whodunnit" until the big reveal. Of course, it's all told in the first person by Euphemia so the reader really couldn't know until she did. But, still. It's fun watching it all unfold from the first person with only as many clues as they've been given. Watching her blunder her way through the rest of her life while dealing it was still more fun, though.

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