Hattie Davish stars in A Sense of Entitlement, set in Victorian times in America. Hattie is a working woman, and a knowledgeable one. She works as Sir Arthur’s secretary and does much more than type. Her summer job in Newport, Rhode Island turns out to be much different than expected.
Hattie is sea sick, and can’t wait for the boat ride to Newport to get over. On the deck to get a breath of fresh air, she spies a man tossing something overboard and fears the worst. The moment she arrives in Newport, her employer is called away, and his callous wife all but ignores her. Her employment as a secretary is cut short when her mistress offers her as a social secretary to a Mrs. Mayhew, to earn some social points for herself. Hattie is plunged into a job she never did before, but how tough can it be to coordinate parties and events?
Newport in the 1920s is a melting pot. There are the uber rich people who have everything, and the servants who are poorly paid and ill treated. The telegraph workers are on a strike. The economic climate of America is in a turmoil and many established people are going bankrupt. Hattie steps into all this confusion. We saw a bit of 1920s New York in Redesigning Emma, and some of life in Newport in By The Sea earlier on this blog.
Hattie is amazed at the excess indulged in by the Mayhews and their friends the Whitwells. Harland Whitwell, the well known financier is found dead one day and his son Nick is the top suspect. Nick has been known to drink a lot and is a profligate, and has made several rude passes at Hattie. But when the labor leader is arrested for the murder, Hattie decides to do some sleuthing on her own.
Hattie’s old friends who are gentry arrive in Newport and open some doors for her. Mrs. Mayhew also wants her to find out who the culprit is. Will the truth destroy the elites, and break the Whitwell family?
A Sense of Entitlement is an enjoyable mystery for all book lovers, especially those who like women sleuths and a historical setting. The 1920s social climate is also captured well, adding some more points of interest to the book. Definitely a good read, in my opinion.