Publishing year: 2016
This is just a 20-page-long novella that starts a new series.
Even though the story is short, I did warm up to the characters. The main character is Cecily Sinclair, whose husband has just died. In his deathbed, James Sinclair asked his friend and employee, Hugh Baxter, to look after his wife, and that is what Baxter apparently intends to do. James Sinclair was the owner of a hotel, The Pennyfoot Hotel, and now that he is dead, Cecily will run it as her two sons have no interest in it. The hotel has run up debts, so she expects to be able to save her husband’s legacy from bankruptcy.
When she gets to the hotel, we meet the different characters. Apart from Baxter, who is the manager, there is Mrs Chubb, the housekeeper and pastry chef, Gertie, Ethel, and Ivy, maids, and Michel, the chef. When Cecily arrives, she is told that there is an intruder in the hotel, and it is finally Cecily, who discovers who the intruder is. It is a hotel inspector, who she finds hidden behind some curtains. The man, Andrew McAllister, tells her that he was simply inspecting the hotel at the king’s request, and he had demanded confidentiality and discretion. So that was why Mr McAllister had resorted to this method.
The mystery is quite simple, but it is a good introduction to the characters, and I’ll definitely be reading more books of the series.