The Body in the Garden (Lily Adler Mystery #1) by Katharine Schellman

Lily Adler returns to London society after the death of her beloved husband Freddie, to hang out with her society hostess friend Serena, and be escorted around town by Freddie’s best friend, Captain Jack.

Only at Serena’s first party, a guy is murdered in the garden while Lily is lingering near by, and she discovers she can’t let the unknown victim languish in obscurity. She starts investigating.

This is a light, no real danger, mystery set in Regency England. Entertaining, but I never really fell in love with Lily or Jack. What marks this book, in my opinion, is the realistic set of attitudes her friend Serena holds– prejudice and willingness to sacrifice justice for privilege. This is also where the opportunity to have Lily/Serena interactions be very juicy emotional character depth was left on the table.

Also left on the table, deeper flirtation for Lily/Jack. There is some indication of his feelings, but his parentage is never really successfully developed as a reason for him to hold back as much as he does.

Anyway, it was light, entertaining, touch of West Indies heritage but never fully developed, in my opinion, the implications of the mixed heritage society folks present, which would have been super interesting. Probably a great beach read, not quite what I’m in the mood for in terms of emotion-depth these days.

I probably enjoyed Deanna Raybourn’s Lady Grey, Anna Lee Huber’s Lady Darby, and Jennifer Ashley’s Below Stairs and the Lady Scarlet series by Sherry Thomas a bunch more.