Title: Lord James Harrington and the Spring Mystery
Author: Lynn Florkiewicz
Series: Lord James Harrington Mysteries
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services
Reviewed by: DelAnne Frazee
It is 1958 and Lord James Harrington stands in the doorway watching as his wife Beth and the staff put the finishing touches on the new color scheme of the Harington Bed and Breakfast dining room. He walks out onto the new patio were diners can eat alfresco and watches as workmen put the finishing touches on the rides for the upcoming May Day fete. All in all James decides it is all coming together nicely and it should be a grand time for young and old alike.
He is about to go over the special menu that Chef Didler prepared for the guest wishing to dine in comfort rather than partake of the fair’s offerings when Anne, the Reverend’s wife, tells him of a caller wishing to speak with him on the phone. He is surprised to when Miss Delphine Brooks-Hunter asks if he might pick her up in his Austen so that she might attend the festivities. Delphine, a seventy year old woman who rarely leaves her home, is delighted when James tells her he will be there in ten minutes to pick her.
When Beth and Bert go to get the stocks out of the old stables for the games they discuss what would be required to redo the stables and bring them up to their heyday standards. As Bert and two other hands go to put the stocks in place Beth checks out the condition of the stalls and is surprised that the interior is in such good condition. As she turns to leave she hears a moan, following the sound she finds a homeless man lying in one of the stalls. She has Bert go ask the kitchen staff for some tea and food and ask Jim as he tells her he is called, about how he came to be sleeping in the stables. He explains he does not know his past all he has is his last ten years and the name “Gentleman Jim” given to him by the people at the mission.
When James arrives Jim tells him how he was hitching a ride back to the mission when he saw Harrington House it was the first thing that has ever looked familiar to him from the time before he came to the mission. He tells how he had even known where the stables were and they could not be seen from the road. James intrigued agrees with Beth about setting him up with a room at the B & B for a few days. James is looking forward to the mystery of the obviously well educated young man’s past. Little does he realize an even bigger mystery is on the horizon.
The entrance of the May Day Queen opens the fete. Laughter, chatter and squeels of glee can be heard throughout the fairgrounds. After a a luxerious lunch James takes Dephine around some of the stalls the takes her down to try her hand at fly fishing. Continuing on his own he has stopped at the brew stall to try a local ale when Mrs. Jepson, who was playing the fortune teller for the day stops in and tells how Delphine had told her that something bad was going to happen to her when Mrs. J told her that her fortune was she would have a wonderful time and that she would have a great life. James thinks it odd and goes in search of Delphine to check on her. As he heads toward the river where ahe had been he finds he on the round curled into a ball barely conscience. She whispers to him the tree did it, the leaves, the green face. James thinks she may be disoriented and doesn’t think about it.
The doctor comes after being fetched by a passer-by and tells James and Beth, who had walked up while he was checking out Delphine, that he is sorry but Delphine is dead. As the doctor takes care of getting an ambulance James and Beth come across Jack Hedges stumbling through the woods. Helping him sit down Jack tells them he was attacked and someone stole his costume. Beth informs him he is wearing his costume and Jack tells them someone took the costume he was wearing over this one, his green man costume was taken. Suddenly James realizes what Delphine was trying to tell him, she had been attacked by someone wearing the costume of the May Day green man. Beth tells him to stay out of it. The last mystery he had got involved in had nearly got them killed. James promises her he was only going to listen and he would leave everything to George and the local police. After all he says Beth has her mystery man to figure out the least she can do is let him have his own mystery. Beth asks him to please be careful.
What connection did Delphine have with the Jacob brothers, the fairground owners who had looked at Delphine so loathingly earlier in the day? Why did Delphine tell Mrs. Jepson something bad would be happening to her today? Why did Delphine decide to come to the May Day celebration this year when she hadn’t been in years? Was it only a co-incidence that Delphine came the year the Jacobs brother were used instead of the Lamb people that usually set up the fair each May Day festival before? Is there a connection between Beth’s mystery man and Delphine? Will Beth figure out his true past?
Lynn Florkiewicz calls them a rosy-colored no brainer mystery but I disagree they are more. They are light and funny with interesting characters that could be found in any small village in America or England. The accents and speech patterns make you feel you are really in rural west Sussex. It is spring and you can smell the fairground aromas of baked apple pie, relishes, chips and listen to the music and laughing children at play. Go back to a simpler time and childhood memories, Lynn Florkiewicz has brought them back to life for you. I have enjoyed Winter and Spring and am looking forward to the Summer and Fall Mysteries yet to come.