John Daniel & Co
Date: March 2004
Reviewed: Advanced Reader Copy
it at Amazon
The Affair of the Incognito Tenant
Mrs. Dodson's employer,
Major Fallowes, passed away two months ago. His Will promises his
staff six more months of employment. The Major also gives each staff
member a small inheritance. Now the Major's solicitor, Mr. Bagshaw,
has delivered a new tenet to Larkbanks. He will be in charge of
Larkbanks until the solicitor finds the Major's missing niece. Mr.
Sigerson, the new tenet, is an odd sort. He's researching bees and
hopes to settle them down in Larkbanks' orchids. He eventually hides
away in the library, but when surveying the house, he questions
Mrs. Dodson's first impression of him, giving her the notion that
he's judging her intelligence.
Rose are the maids, as well as sisters. Violet wanted to go to London
with her inheritance, but her sister didn't agree, so she sits reading
the newspaper, complaining about London's excitement - wild beasts
attacking people, famous MP with an opium habit, famous sleuth threatened
by an arch criminal. She also reads about a vampire stalking a quiet
village near them. Sit still long enough and the excitement is bound
to come to you. Larkbanks is set to experience a heavy dose of excitement
- and a famous visitor.
cozy is told in first person by Mrs. Dodson. The Victorian atmosphere
is convincing, and the dialog clear. In fact, the author has a little
fun with the career of her lead character. Each chapter begins with
an epigraph taken from the 1898 edition of Mrs. Beeton's Book of
Household Management. The insights add up to an informative history
lesson in Victorian housekeeping.
Affair of the Incognito Tenant is a light, entertaining read.
Die-hard Sherlockians may or may not agree with how Mr. Holmes'
character is presented. Speaking for myself, I enjoyed it thoroughly.