Title: Murder at the Spring Ball (Lord Edgington Investigates #1)
Author: Benedict Brown
Published on: 14 March 2021
Genre: Cozy Mystery | Historical Mystery
England, 1925: Lord Edgington, a former detective at the Scotland Yard, had shut himself away from the world after the untimely death of his wife. A decade later, he plans a grand ball to celebrate his seventy-fifth birthday.
At the event, he opens a bottle of Champaign that was given to him on his wedding day fifty years ago. The drink is poured into glasses and distributed to his family members. After taking a sip or two, one of his children die. The rest barely escape the same fate. Lord Edgington wonders if someone’s trying to wipe out his entire family. With the help of his sixteen-year old grandson, he decides to investigate and bring the killer to justice.
Murder at the Spring Ball is the first book in Benedict Brown’s Lord Edgington Investigates series. This is a historical cozy mystery and a pretty charming and wonderful start to the series.
The protagonist of the story is Christopher aka Chrissy, a sixteen-year old in whom nobody believes. His elder brother Albert is supposed to be the ‘good one.’ When Lord Edgington chooses Chrissy to help him set up the Ball, the rest of the family members wonder if the old man has gone bonkers. What next? Is he going to leave his Estate to the boy?
This creates tension amongst the family members. They question Chrissy as to ‘what did he did to gain his grandfather’s attention.’ When the celebrations begin and the drink is poured in, one of the family member collapses after taking a sip or two. The police are called in – a Sergeant Blunt from Scotland Yard arrives. When Lord Edgington tells the detective he will solve the case from his side, the detective admonishes him by saying he’s no longer on the police force so he must let the professionals do their job.
Lord Edgington and his side-kick Crissy start to investigate. How was the poison introduced into the bottle that was never opened for the past fifty years? When they almost find a clue through a witness, the witness is killed, right in front of them. The duo soon discover that many members of their family were in debt and were desperately looking for ways to repay it. Was murdering the rest of the clan a way to quickly gain money?
The red herrings were plenty but as more clues fell into place, I had my doubts about the identity of the killer. I must say (ahem, brag) that I was right in identifying them. There are a couple of low star ratings for this book on Goodreads so I must make something clear. The reader must know the protagonist is a sixteen-year old boy. The story and the train of events would be ‘through the eyes of a teenaged boy.’
I admit it took me some time to adjust to the narrative style but I really enjoyed the story, especially the denouement. Not to forget, the manor’s ‘Cook’ has a really wild idea about food – banana and horseradish sandwiches, haddock and honey sandwiches, boiled ham and anchovy soup with a dash of cinnamon…
Overall, Murder at the Spring Ball by Benedict Brown was an enjoyable read. I really loved the concept of grandfather and grandson solving crimes. I am looking forward to reading the next book.