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?