Five years ago, Amory Ames probably made the worst mistake of her life when she broke off her engagement to Gil Trent to marry handsome, charming and charismatic Milo. Despite the fact that they are married, Milo has spent his time in Monte Carlo and other exotic locations being photographed with beautiful women while Amory stays at home wondering when her husband might grace her with his presence. When Gil suddenly shows up at her country estate asking for her help, she is surprised. It seems that Gil’s sister, Emmaline, is engaged to an unsavory man named Rupert Howe and Gil wants to stop the engagement. He asks Amory to accompany him on holiday to the Brightwell Hotel where a group of his friends are gathering. Gil thinks that Amory, because of her own seemingly disastrous marriage, might be able to talk some sense into Emmaline.
At first Amory is hesitant but then decides that if Milo is going to travel all over being photographed by gossip columnists, with beautiful women on his arm, then she should have some fun, too. It is after all 1930’s Britain and she is a modern woman. She agrees to accompany Gil, separate rooms of course, and they board the train for the seaside and the Brightwell Hotel.
When they arrive, Amory meets the rest of their colorful group and it isn’t long before there is a murder! When Milo surprises her with his arrival, Gil is accused of the murder, and then another murder occurs. The plot thickens. When it appears that someone might have tried to kill Amory, too, she takes it upon herself to investigate. Soon she is butting heads with a detective who is less than thrilled with her interference. Amory grudgingly allows Milo to work with her on trying to solve the murders and the fun begins.
This book has been compared to The Thin Man series because of the often witty banter between Milo and Amory. Their relationship is complicated and, although she clearly has some unresolved feelings for Gil, Amory wants to believe that her wealthy, playboy husband loves her.
Murder at the Brightwell is the debut novel for this author. It was an enjoyable mystery that had enough red herrings to keep me engaged. I loved the period details, the description of the clothing, the people and the Brightwell Hotel. Readers of Agatha Christie and other light historical mysteries should enjoy this first book in the series. I am looking forward to reading the next book to see what is going to happen with Milo, Amory and their investigations.