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Mrs. Jeffries Speaks Her Mind by Emily Brightwell
Cover Artist: Jeff Walker
Review by Mel Jacob
Berkley Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780425235249
Date: 01 June 2010 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

Emily Brightwell's 27th mystery novel, Mrs. Jeffries Speaks Her Mind, features Mrs. Jefferies and Inspector Gerald Witherspoon as they focus on the murder of a well-to-do spinster, Olive Kettering. Brightwell writes Victorian mysteries following the efforts of Witherspoon's servants and a few friends who aid him to solve crimes without his knowledge.

Daily, Mrs. Jefferies encourages Inspector Witherspoon during his investigations with subtle hints and praise for his efforts. She also tells his partner Constable Barnes about information the servants and friends learn that the Inspector should investigate. The group enjoys finding information related to the victim and the crime that aids the Inspector. They relish seeing criminals brought to justice. It gives their lives more meaning.

The group covers all levels of society and excels at ferreting out information and gossip unknown by the Inspector. Mrs. Jefferies puts it all together and arrives at the solution not seen by the others including the Inspector.

The current case may be a murder for money, hate, or revenge. A religious sect met at Miss Kettering's home on a regular basis. The preacher's wife believes Miss Kettering is in love with her husband. The sect has been involved in questionable bequests in the past.

Miss Kettering is estranged from her only relatives and threatened to disinherit them. Her niece needs funds to take her invalid husband to a warmer, drier climate and quarreled with Miss Kettering shortly before her death. Her cousin holds a different religious view from Miss Kettering and they also quarreled.

Reminiscent of Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers, Brightwell keeps the investigation moving and provides sufficient information for astute readers to identify the villain. Good manners and language prevail. Overall, an enjoyable read and a nice change from some gritty modern mysteries.

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