NATIONAL BESTSELLER • “A delightful cocktail that mixes elements of the Bridgerton series, Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice and Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple mysteries . . . The payoff is a wealth of wit, hilarity and suspense.”—People (Book of the Week) When a wealthy bachelor drops dead at a ball, a young lady takes on the decidedly improper role of detective in this action-packed debut comedy of manners and murder. A PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR Feisty, passionate Beatrice Steele has never fit the definition of a true lady, according to the strict code of conduct that reigns in Swampshire, her small English township: She is terrible at needlework, has absolutely no musical ability, and her artwork is so bad it frightens people. Nevertheless, she lives a perfectly agreeable life. But she harbors a dark secret: She is obsessed with true crime. If anyone in her etiquette-obsessed community found out, she’d be deemed a morbid creep and banished from respectable society forever. For her family’s sake, she’s vowed to put her obsession behind her. Eligible bachelor Edmund Croaksworth is set to attend the approaching autumnal ball, and the Steele family hopes that younger daughter Louisa will steal his heart. So Beatrice must be on her best behavior—a difficult challenge when a disgraced yet alluring detective inexplicably shows up to the ball. Beatrice is just holding things together when Croaksworth drops dead in the middle of a minuet. As a storm rages outside, the evening descends into a frenzy of panic, fear, and betrayal as it becomes clear that the guests are trapped with a killer. Contending with competitive card games, tricky tonics, and Swampshire’s infamous squelch holes, Beatrice must rise above decorum and decency to pursue justice and her own desires—before anyone else is murdered.