Mrs. Laetitia Rodd is a 52-year-old widow with a sharp mind and a subtle manner. Still grieving the loss of her husband, she lives on very limited means in Victorian England. Her wealthy brother, Frederick, is a barrister who sometimes hires her as an investigator on his cases. In this story, he connects her with the unhappy parents of Charles Calderstone, who is determined to wed a woman they refuse to accept. Mrs. Rodd is brought in to investigate this young woman, but in turn she learns many more secrets and finds herself looking into some brutal crimes.
Mrs. Rodd has spent most of her life married to an archdeacon, and her history as the wife of a clergyman informs the way she sees people and the paths they choose. She looks with particular compassion on the women who struggle under the confines of Victorian restrictions, having had some experience of those struggles herself.
The Secrets of Wishtide is a satisfying, good-humored detective story, the first of a planned Laetitia Rodd series. She is a no-nonsense character who is intelligent and intrepid. And she is interesting company. (Bloomsbury)