British author Caro Peacock started a new historical mystery series back in 2008. And you should read it, and get to know her delightful creation, Liberty Lane, who is not a detective but is motivated by an indomitable sense of justice. I thoroughly enjoyed the first installment in the series, A Foreign Affair, and look forward to the rest of the series of eight.
We first meet Liberty Lane when she arrives in Calais, having come over from England upon the receipt of an anonymous letter informing her that her father has been killed in a duel. Being fully aware of her father’s opinion of duels (he firmly believes that they are foolish affairs), Liberty crosses the Channel to investigate.
Since the year is 1837, the year Victoria became queen, it’s definitely not the done thing for Liberty to be chasing down truth and justice, unchaperoned. So she ends up in a career open to well-educated, independent young women at that time: she becomes a governess. But not in the usual way. A gentleman who knew her father asks her to infiltrate the house of a wealthy Englishman, posing as a governess, both to cast light on breaking political intrigue and to discover what truly happened to her father.
The story is told from Liberty’s point of view, and her voice is original and engaging. It’s also somewhat refreshing to read a Victorian mystery that is set early in the period, and does not mention either Sherlock Holmes or Jack the Ripper.
Caro Peacock has continued with this series; the latest book came out earlier this summer and is called Fool’s Gold. I’ve got the second book, A Dangerous Affair, on my bookshelf, and I can’t wait to read it.