"A Most Intriguing Lady" | Reviewed by Susan Ferguson
“A Most Intriguing Lady,” by Sarah Ferguson is a historical fiction novel of the Victorian Era in England. It is the story of Lady Mary Montagu Douglas Scott, the youngest of three daughters of the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch, Queen Victoria’s close friends. The back of the book contains some historical notes that will help readers distinguish fact from fiction.
Lady Mary went unnoticed for most of her childhood, allowing her to quietly blend into the background. This also allowed Lady Mary to become a keen observer. Lady Mary wants more out of life than to be a wife and mother, she wants to make a difference, to be helpful, to be a detective of sorts.
Lady Mary is able to put her talents to work at her parent’s shooting party, held at their stately Scottish home, Drumlanrig Castle. One of the guests is Mrs. Fitzherbert-Smythe, whose brooch (a family heirloom) has gone missing. She thinks a member of the staff has stolen it and accuses her.
Lady Mary is determined to solve the mystery and clear the employee’s name. Another guest, Colonel Walter Trefusis befriends Lady Mary and together they work to solve the crime and to right the wrongs.
Colonel Trefusis ,”Tre”, has returned from the Crimean War and is suffering from a condition, now known as PTSD. He is at the party to meet with the Duke in hopes of establishing an Intelligence Service. Embarrassed by his condition, Tre leaves the weekend party soon after helping Mary solve the crime. Their paths don’t cross again for years, but the attraction is still there.
Once again Lady Mary and Tre are attending the same party, this time hosted by Sir George Wombwell and his wife. Sir George has asked Lady Mary to resolve the matter of some missing money, embezzlement of one of his charities. Once again Tre teams up to help her right the wrongs.
As the story continues Lady Mary and Tre continue to solve crimes together. Tre and Lady Mary’s characters continue to grow as they develop a deep understanding of one another. This understanding not only helps them to become the best version of themselves but also ends with a growing romance.
Although their romance takes a back burner to their crime solving in this story, the gentle romance still works. Lady Mary and Tre are very likable characters. Readers will find themselves rooting for the couple’s success in both crime solving and romance. This quick read is very entertaining.