The Secrets of Wishtide by Kate Saunders
The widow, Mrs. Rodd, has assisted her brother, a criminal barrister, solve more than one perplexing problem, and has gained a reputation of some esteem. When Sir James Calderstone calls her to investigate his son's older, suspect love interest, she discovers more than the beautiful Helen wants known. However, when Helen suddenly turns up dead, Mrs. Rodd is sure that Sir James's son is not guilty, although he was arrested for the crime. Proving his innocence necessitates digging up secrets from both the Calderstone family and Helen's histories. As winter sets in, the justice system is rushing a bit to convict Charles before the holidays. Can Mrs. Rodd save the young gentleman before it's too late?
The first in a new series, Saunders has an easy to read writing style, and her period details are right on. Laetitia Rodd is an interesting, intelligent, and likable character, and the clues are teased out in an engaging manner. My only criticism would be that a few times I had to flip back to the previous page, worried I'd skipped a page because there was some choppiness to the story, but always found that I hadn't missed a page, but that there had just been a little jump in the story, which sometimes came at crucial junctures as a clue was coming together. Otherwise, it was a well-formed and enjoyable Victorian murder mystery, and I will definitely read the next in the series, slated for publication in December.