Needing a light, quick, easy read to balance some of my other activities – Kwando training, Iron Palm training, Jurgen Habermas efforts…. I grabbed this first book in Emily Brightwell’s (Cheryl Lanham) long Mrs. Jeffries series. Currently, there are thirty-four novels in the series. The Inspector and Mrs. Jeffries was released in 1993.
This is not a deep read fit for the Vienna Circle. It is a little entertaining novel set in Victorian England. “The Inspector” is tasked with solving a murder in which a neighborhood doctor is found poisoned. The Inspector’s household, led by his head housekeeper, all get into solving the crime behind the scenes.
The whole novelty of the series is that the Inspector is a bit of a daft dolt and his widowed housekeeper, Mrs. Jeffries, is actually the true detective. She prefers to stay in the background and work the cases unbeknownst to the Inspector. Jeffries uses a little deceit and encouragement to get the Inspector to share his thoughts on his cases and to get him to follow up on her investigations.
At the end of the day, the truth is, Mrs. Jeffries is bossy and a bit grating – even if her intentions are good. The Inspector is unbelievably idiotic and for that, quite frustrating. However, these characters are also just endearing enough to make reading them entertaining and worthwhile.
The case in this novel was a murder-by-poison. Blackmail and other deceits were part of the story. A number of characters were set up as possibly having motive and opportunity. But, overall, since the deceased was very much disliked, it was hard to care about the case. It is far more interesting watching Jeffries engage the rest of the household in her investigative capers.
It is a basic easy reader. Nothing more, nothing less.