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Publisher's Summary

When a murder is committed, a lady's companion finds herself in the role of amateur sleuth...

1789, London: When Emily Fanshawe, Marchioness of Polbrook, is found strangled in her bedchamber, suspicion immediately falls on those residing in the grand house in Hanover Square.  

Emily's husband - Randal Fanshawe, Lord Polbrook - fled in the night and is chief suspect - much to the dismay of his family.  

Ottilia Draycott is brought in as the new lady's companion to Sybilla, Dowager Marchioness, and soon finds herself assisting younger son Lord Francis Fanshawe in his investigations.  

Can Ottilia help clear the family name? Does the killer still reside in the house?  

Or could there be more to the mystery than meets the eye?

©2011 Elizabeth Bailey (P)2019 Tantor

What listeners say about The Gilded Shroud

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Loved it!

Loved it!
Wonderfully crafted imagery of an era gone bye. It held my attention and kept me guessing.

8 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Couldn't come to like Ottilia

I loved the synopsis of this book when I read it and immediately purchased it. I loved the mystery itself, but the rest seemed more like a script for an over-the-top stage play with cardboard characters than it did anything representing real life. The relationships and conversations between servants and upper classes were so far off base that it was more fantasy than reality. Then – the view of the Bow Street Runners – absolutely ridiculous. In that period Bow Street couldn’t touch the peerage in any way, shape, or form – they couldn’t even enter through the front door of the home, they had to go to the servant's entrance and if the peerage didn’t want to allow them in or to talk to them, they didn’t have to. Members of the peerage would be tried before the House of Lords and they almost never, ever convicted each other of anything. So, a peer could, literally, get away with murder – especially against someone who ‘belonged’ to him – such as a wife.

According to Goodreads, this book was first published in 1992, so I’m hoping that it was a ‘learner’ novel for this author and the subsequent books (written over twenty years later) will be much better.

The book opens with the discovery of the murdered body of Lady Emily Fanshawe, Marchioness of Polbrook. Her husband is nowhere to be found and the only family member in residence is his brother Francis. Therefore, it is up to Francis to take charge and one of the most onerous things he has to do is to tell his mother that Emily has been murdered and Randal is missing.

When Francis arrives at his mother’s townhouse to tell her the news, he finds her having breakfast with her new (temporary) companion (Mrs. Ottilia Draycott) that she has only met late the night before. Ottilia offers to withdraw, but Francis invites her to stay since it will soon be all over town anyway. As Francis is telling his mother this distressing news, Ottilia is constantly interrupting with questions that are clearly none of her business. Instead of rebuking her, both the Dowager Marchioness and Francis let her continue, tell her how clever she is, and then she goes with them to the crime scene and she actually examines the scene and the body, etc. in the most intimate way.

Francis immediately gives Ottilia carte blanche to conduct the investigation because she is so smart, intuitive, and clever and he and his mother are just so dumb. Then she does really clever things like determining that someone could have entered the house through one of the doors – duh! She is so clever because – wait for it – she raised her brother’s two sons. Given that criteria, I should be a genius!

Ottilia rocks along with her investigation and ropes Francis into helping with parts of it until the mystery is solved and the murderer is revealed. In the meantime, everyone is constantly telling Ottilia how very clever she is and allowing her to ask the most intimate questions. The servants have the most casual of interchanges and relationships with the Dowager, Francis, and everybody else. It is all just so very period inappropriate.

Then, there is the relationship that develops between Francis and Ottilia. I just didn’t see or feel it. They were like two cardboard characters and I couldn’t see where an attraction would be. There just didn’t seem to be any real passion.

There is also Ottilia’s propensity for giggling and making inappropriate jokes and comments during very serious, emotional, trying times. There were times when I was thinking that someone ought to give her a slap to show her that things were serious.

It is my intention to read another book in this series because the later ones have been released in the last few years and the author has had some time to grow in her craft. I’d like to see a more likable and relatable Ottilia. If Ottilia does have that growth, I’ll look forward to more books in the series.

4 people found this helpful

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Pleasantly surprised!

The plot was engaging without trite cliches. Characters were genuine and interesting. The romance seemed natural and thankfully not ridiculously thwarted forever! Otillia has a brain and observational skills which are exceptional without seeming supernatural or punctuated by lapses of stupidity like some protagonists! The narrator was excellent as well. I can't wait to get the next book!

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A good story.

This is a fun read. The characters pull you in & ate hard to forget.

3 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Fine premise, BIZARRE characters.

Nearly every character is completely lacking in period-appropriate behavior, etiquette, and likability.

The main character is supposed to be some cross between a Mind Reader, Mother Teresa, and Dr. Phil, but has inappropriate bouts of giggles throughout the book for no reason at all.

Bizarre characters in a painfully predictable story.

15 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Old grief

I read video horizon novels to ESCAPE modern " values". Can't read a book anymore without having feminism rammed down our throat! Yes, women 's rights are important. But, please, ENOUGH ALREADY!!!!

d

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Enjoyable new series

Liked the characters and the romance between the protagonists. Good plot. Looking forward to reading another in this series.

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    5 out of 5 stars

Great story

I'm anxious to read the next book. I love the heroine, vocabulary, and the narrator.