Death Comes to Kurland Hall is a classic mystery. Lately, I have read some really good mysteries from the British Crime Classics, and some like Death in the Dales, A Beautiful Blue Death and so on. What would this one offer, I wondered.
Kurland Hall is the country seat of a newly minted baronet, an injured soldier who is crippled for life. Nothing serious, he just walks with a limp, but he feels sensitive about it. Miss Harrington, the rector’s daughter has been taking care of the Major and they spar. Oh boy, do they spar. She is of a certain age and headstrong. Both are past the first flush of youth. But they call a truce and decide to give their friends a fancy wedding at the Hall.
Guests descend on the Hall and some are put up at the rectory. The old rector is wooed by a widow he used to have a crush on. Miss Harrington is aghast at this and wonders what her future will be. A nasty woman is trying to rile up the wedding party, threatening to reveal long buried secrets. As expected, she is soon found dead. Did someone kill her, or was it an accident? Miss Harrington consoles the grief stricken daughters and tries to get to the bottom of the truth.
As the guests are thrown in turmoil, there is more devastation coming. The Major’s right hand man comes into an inheritance and leaves. Miss Harrington decides to visit him and steps from the fire into the frying pan. Just when I thought this mystery was deep, the author thrilled me by introducing a new setting and more mystery.
Set in the Regency era, this is the time of Jane Austen. But you see a world that is neither Austen nor scandalous Regency Romance. The characterization is perfect. The proud, duty bound ex army officer in Major Kurland, the efficient and slightly overbearing Miss Harrington, the desperate single girl trying to ensnare a man, the profligate family relative, all come to life in Death Comes to Kurland Hall.