Pippa Darling Mysteries

Follow along with Bright Young Thing Philippa Darling, her cousin Christopher, and Christopher’s cousin Crispin, Viscount St George, as they solve mysteries and sniff out family secrets in 1926 England.


England, late April, 1926

When Henry Astley, Duke of Sutherland, turns up dead in bed at the end of an afternoon spent calling his family on the carpet, everyone assumes that the excitement finished the old boy off. He was quite old and also quite vociferous in his opinions, so it isn’t an unreasonable assumption. 

It isn’t until the next morning, when the duke’s valet and confidant is found shot to death in the hedge maze, that the whole thing takes on a more sinister cast. 

Bright Young Thing Philippa Darling, her best friend Christopher and his brother Francis, as well as their parents, Lord and Lady Herbert, have all been summoned to Sutherland Hall for a dressing down. So has cousin Crispin, the future duke, along with his parents, the Viscount and Viscountess St George. Everyone has a string of small peccadillos they’re trying to hide, along with a few guilty secrets they don’t want anyone to know about. The only question is, which secret was worth killing for?

Pippa isn’t worried on her own behalf. She had no reason to want the duke dead. But when it looks like suspicion might fall on Christopher, she has no choice but to step up. She’ll sacrifice Francis if she has to, and would throw Crispin to the wolves without a second thought, but Scotland Yard will arrest Christopher over her dead body. 

And it might just come to that.


England, May, 1926

After the funerals of the late Duke of Sutherland and his daughter-in-law, Charlotte, (and of course Grimsby, the blackmailing valet), the younger members of the family—Philippa Darling, her cousins Christopher and Francis, and Crispin, Viscount St George—are invited to a weekend party at the Dower House in Dorset by Dowager Lady Peckham’s children, Constance and Gilbert.

Once in Dorset, things go sideways very quickly. Lady Peckham’s ward, the lovely Dutch emigree Johanna de Vos, has been making a dead set at Crispin, and has had him all to herself for the past few days. Constance’s time has been monopolized by Francis, while Pippa wouldn’t throw Crispin a rope if he were going under for the third time. However, the house party also includes the beautiful Lady Laetitia Marsden, a former dalliance of Crispin’s, and she doesn’t take the competition for his affections—or his title and fortune—lying down.

As a result, when the lovely Johanna is found murdered, the suspects are plentiful. Did Lady Laetitia decide to remove her rival? Did Lord Geoffrey, her brother, the handsy one, lose control and strangle the woman he was trying to seduce? Or perhaps Crispin was tired of the relentless pursuit, and took matters into his own hands?

When Lady Peckham also dies, miles away in Wiltshire, the case develops yet one more wrinkle. Now Pippa, with some help from Christopher, must figure out who wanted the two women dead, hopefully before the murderer can consign her to the same fate.


London, early June, 1926

The last Friday of every month, Christopher Astley, in the guise of his alter ego Kitty Dupree, has attended a covert drag ball somewhere in London. In April, the ball was interrupted by a police raid that Christopher escaped by the skin of his teeth, only because he was yanked out of the nightclub before the raid started by someone who knew that it was going to happen.

This month, the gathering has moved from the last Friday of the month to the first Saturday of the next, and the arranger has found a new venue. On the first weekend in June, everyone gathers in the old Rectors Club on Tottenham Court Road for a grand old time.

All this is why Christopher’s cousin Philippa Darling is alone in the flat she shares with Christopher when Christopher’s other cousin, Crispin, Viscount St George, sails through the door three sheets to the wind from celebrating his twenty-third birthday with his usual crowd of extremely fast Bright Young People.

And when a sozzled St George, along with an always-inquisitive Pippa, decide to get dressed up and crash Christopher’s drag ball, the night ends with the dead body of a tabloid reporter on the floor of a Mayfair flat, and enough motives for murder to populate an entire wing of Wormwood Scrubs Prison.

Now Pippa and Christopher must determine who wanted the gossip hound dead badly enough to do something about it, all while trying to keep Crispin’s name out of the press and their own heads above water.   


London, July 1926

Several months ago, in the blackmail notes that Grimsby, the now-dead valet, compiled about everyone in the family, Philippa Darling learned about a young woman with a baby who showed up at Sutherland House in London, looking for the man who got her in the family way.

Crispin Astley, Viscount St George, scion of the Sutherlands, had been using the London house as his base when he was in Town carousing with his set of Bright Young People, so everyone, including Grimsby, assumed that Crispin was the guilty party. Crispin, however, swears that the baby isn’t his.

Pippa never expected to have the opportunity to meet the mother and child herself, but that’s just what happens one day in July. During a weekend party at Beckwith Place to celebrate Cousin Francis’s 30th birthday, there they are: the young woman and the baby with the fair Sutherland hair and Astley blue eyes.

Everyone in the family is present for the celebration. Aunt Roz and Uncle Herbert, Francis and his new fiancée, Constance Peckham. Pippa, Cousin Christopher, and Cousin Crispin. Even Crispin’s father, the recently widowed Harold, Duke of Sutherland, has showed up for his nephew’s combination birthday celebration and engagement party.  

And when the young woman winds up dead on the grounds of Beckwith Place, bashed over the head with a croquet mallet, the field is wide open. One of the men in the family was responsible for getting her with child, and now someone—the same person or someone else—is responsible for taking her away from that child. The only question is who?