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The Counterfeit Heiress: A Lady Emily Mystery    by Tasha Alexander order for
Counterfeit Heiress
by Tasha Alexander
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2015 (2015)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Though I'd heard good things of this series, The Counterfeit Heiress is the first episode I have read, so I picked up this Lady Emily mystery with great interest - and was not disappointed.

At this stage in the series (the ninth episode, no less) Lady Emily is happily married to dashing Colin Hargreaves. The story opens on a fancy dress ball at Devonshire House in 1897 London. Lady Emily, costumed as the goddess Artemis, is mistaken for someone else, also dressed as Artemis. In fact that other lady was pretending to be eccentric heiress (and world traveler) Estella Lamar, a childhood friend of Emily's close friend CÚcile. This false Estella, a midwife and wannabe actress, is later found murdered.

Lady Emily's subsequent investigation - into the death and also the missing Estella Lamar - is aided by her husband, CÚcile, and her own childhood friend, Jeremy Sheffield. It takes them across the channel to Paris and its Catacombs. Interspersed with their progress, readers are given glimpses into the unusual life of the real Estella Lamar, a rather odd and reclusive young woman with a strange attachment to her dolls. What happens to her after she meets and is kidnapped by a softhearted con artist is even stranger.

Enjoy this unusual historical mystery and don't miss the Author's Note at the end, that tells us that the episode was inspired by the true story of heiress Huguette Clark. It also give a nod to Barbara Mertz, who wrote the wonderful Amelia Peabody series as Elizabeth Peters and sadly passed away as this book was being written.

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