The Wellington Mysteries, Vol 1: Adventures of a Lesbian Victorian Detective
- Daring Duplicity
Solving mysteries is her business. Finding love is her dream. Will combining the two get her killed?
Victorian Era England. Stetson revels in being unconventional. So when society shies away from her independent nature, the bold woman creates an imaginary boss and opens her own detective agency. And her keen observational skills, convincing disguises, and Holmesian methods quickly bring in a string of tough-to-crack cases.
Struggling to squeeze a personal life in around a series of hazardous investigations, Stetson worries she'll never find a woman of like-passions. But with her heart set on true love despite the risk, she carries on hunting for the perfect relationship.
Will her clever escapades lead to death… or delight?
Daring Duplicity: The Wellington Mysteries, Vol. 1, Adventures of a Lesbian Victorian Detective is a collection of five sequential novellas, each encompassing its own exciting mystery while furthering the story of Stetson’s life in London. If you enjoy crime dramas, Victorian era fiction, or a sweet lesbian romance, then you’ll love award-winning author Edale Lane’s Daring Duplicity. Order yours today!
Jewel gripped her own gloved hands and scanned the room anxiously. "It is a matter of the utmost discretion," she began in a tone much more demanding than she had intended. "It is of a personal nature, you see," she continued more gently and forced a polite smile. "May I speak with Mr. Wellington in private?"
Miss Goody responded with a pleasant smile of her own. "I'm afraid that will not be possible. Mr. X is extremely successful in foiling criminals because of his anonymity. In fact, no one has ever seen him but me. All correspondence between the investigator and the clients goes through his assistant—me. So how this works is, you tell me the specifics, I talk to him, and he gives me a list of questions to ask, and so forth. I assure you, anything you say to me will be kept in the strictest of confidence, just as if you were conversing with the detective himself."READ MORE
"I see." The assistant paused for a moment before continuing and her attention fell on Miss Goody for the first time, being specifically drawn to ample breasts squeezed into her buttoned waist coat. It required conscious effort for Jewel to raise her gaze, but doing so she became captivated by two warm, caring cognac eyes. "Very well, then. I am being blackmailed, and the nature of the information being held over me makes it impossible to go to Scotland Yard, or a constable, or even my father, for the money. I receive an allowance, not enough to meet the foul villain's demands, but sufficient to cover your agency's fees and expenses I'm sure."
"I see," she replied with a soft expression of compassion. "Was the man you were seen with married, or simply from the wrong side of the tracks?"
"Well," Jewel stammered, cleared her throat, and fixed her gaze on a painting on the wall. "Not exactly. And he has a photograph."
Miss Goody sighed and leaned forward, her palms on the desk top. "Now, Lady Jewel Ashton, if we are to find this blackmailer and save your reputation, you cannot hold anything back. How can Mr. Wellington help you if you won't tell us the whole story?"
"It is not my reputation I am concerned with," she admitted, a hint of real fear trembling in her voice. "My whole family could be ruined, utterly ruined, and destroy my father's political career. We would be forced to retreat to our estate in the countryside. I cannot allow shame to come upon my family for one moment's indiscretion."
Miss Goody met her eyes. "I assure you if you provide Mr. X all the information he needs, he can find this scoundrel, take back the photo and the plates, and give him every reason to keep his deceitful mouth closed on the matter."
Jewel held her gaze for a long moment, and believing her sincerity, made a decision—the only one she could really make. She opened her reticule and withdrew a tan envelope. "Someone left this in my carriage while I was shopping. My driver said he didn't see or hear a thing." She placed the parcel on the desk within Miss Goody's reach and held her breath.
Stetson opened the envelope and spilled its contents out onto the desk. Inside was a note and a photograph, not of Jewel kissing a married man, but another young woman! For an instant, time stood still. A flush rose in Jewel's cheeks while Stetson's mouth absently fell agape as she stared dumbfounded at the image. Stetson's mind raced almost as fast as her heart. Could it be that this beautiful gem who walked in this morning has the same inclination as myself? Could there actually be other women who love women, that I am not a singular oddity? She not only had these thoughts, but acted on them! She had never met another like-minded woman—not to mention one whose looks could stop a locomotive in its tracks like Jewel Ashton.
She was roused from her musings when she heard a desperate voice from across the desk. "So now you see the urgency and delicacy of the matter."
She quickly shoved the note and the photograph back into the envelope and replied with sincerity. "Do not be distressed, Lady Jewel Ashton. We will take care of this with great expediency. I shall show these to the detective and he will know just what to do. Wait here. I'll return anon."
Stetson stepped into the room behind her, leaned against the closed door, and let out a deep sigh. With eyes shut and hugging herself, she took a moment to process the warm thrill that rose from her loins. Reveling in the euphoric rush, she wanted to believe the impossible–that maybe her dreams could come true. Mayhap there was a chance, ever so slight, that she, too, could act on her passions. Her breathing became ragged as she imagined kissing Jewel, and being kissed in return. Her heart pounded in excitement. Until reality stuck its ugly head into her dream reminding her there was a case to solve. Stetson moaned softly in aggravation and opened her eyes to glance around her inner sanctum.
Within the confines of Mr. Wellington's lair were all the implements one would need to be a successful private investigator. On the wall to the left was an array of weapons, including both an umbrella and walking cane hiding swords in their handles, an umbrella with a singleshot rifle barrel and a trigger in the handle, several knives, guns, and gadgets. A glass-doored cabinet contained other curiosities such as a wristwatch that concealed a tiny explosive, a unique copper and brass miniature camera with flash attachment, a mirror attached to a long folding pole for seeing around corners or over walls, telescopic opera glasses, and a voice recording device. There was a table holding an array of wigs in vast colors and styles for both men and women, false beards and moustaches, along with an exhaustive selection of hats. Hanging from hooks on another wall were various costumes for the well-to-do business people, and the poor, male and female alike. There was a large vanity with a mirror and cases of cosmetics and face powder as one might see backstage of a theatre. Yes, the windowless room had all the trappings to outfit a man of mystery save one—there was no Xavier Wellington… only Stetson.COLLAPSE
Emmy on Goodreads wrote:
“Daring Duplicity” is a volume of five short stories that brings an adventurous and smart lady, Stetson Goody, to the page. It’s a time where women still struggle with independence and having the freedom to be themselves.
“The Blackmailed Female”
Jewel Ashton, the well to do daughter of Lord Cecil Ashton of Parliament, has been caught in a moment of indiscretion. She seeks the help from the elusive PI, Xavier Wellington. She meets with Wellingtons assistant, Stetson Goody, who get’s the case in motion. Sparks also start to fly between Stetson and Jewel.
“The Bludgeoned Ballerina”
Even with heart break, Stetson Goody, continues with her business and handles the potential clients that arrive at the office. Sophie Evans a ballerina with much potential has become a victim of murder. Evelyn Merritt, pianist, and close friend to Sophie Evans has great concerns about the case being looked into. Her attempts at finding an investigator leads her to Wellington. Stetson is taken with the case as it involves the love she has of theatre and hopefully a special connection with Evelyn.
“The Wayward Wife”
Archibald Godwin, half owner of Godwin and Gordon Shipping Lines, brings a sensitive case to Wellington. Stetson has no choice but to have Wellington address Godwin in- person. Seems that Godwin want’s his young wife, Catherine, of the Cadburys, followed. Stetson get’s the case rolling and photos are even provided as evidence. But Stetson feels guilty when Catherine becomes victim of murder. Stetson tries not to let the business of murder get in the way of the gradual friendship with Evelyn.
“The Lost Night”
Reverend Calvin Fenimore has a loving family. He finds his life in peril and could lose everything. He’s woken up beside a dead woman and has no memory of what took place. Once again, Stetson takes the case to Wellington and they find themselves in a horrid situation of human trafficking. It will take more than Wellington to try and solve the case.
“The Perilous Train Ride”
A close friend of Wellingtons, Lord Eldon Galdstone seeks out Wellington to investigate the murder of his Uncle Thomas at the estate in Warwickshire. Wellington not being available to travel offers to send his nephew Jonathon McGrath. Stetson has decided to invite Evelyn on this short vacation to Warwickshire. On the train, Stetsons past has crept up on her and she fears what may take place. She’s also kept an eye on two suspicious men. One case turns into two with a train robbery and a murder at the estate to be solved.
Edale Lane brings five well written, Victorian, short stories from England. The adventures will take the readers into the Rookeries, workhouses, docks along the Thames and many other places. There’s mystery, murder, adventure, action, various emotions, humor and romance. There’s an abundance of tools, weapons, camera and film developing, and all types of gadgets from the era. There’s all one needs to create any colorful disguise that’s required. “Daring Duplicity” introduces all types of characters: PI Xavier Wellington; ballerina, Clara Pedersen, Albert Smith, Officer Tyler Tidwell, Widow Winters, Dr. Wells and Jonathan McGrath.
Most of all we will hear of the fascinating, shy but brave character of Stetson Goody. She’s a woman before her time in trying to make a way for herself in a mans world. Her life of growing up in the theatre and how she got the name of Stetson is romantic in a cute way. Her story will also take us to the theatre with Evelyn Merritt and the music and burlesque performances of the era.
Two other characters that are an outstanding addition to the story are: Andrew, Stetson’s brother, who will always keep her secret and be by her side anytime she needs him. And Scotland Yard, Inspector Rueben Perry, he doesn’t know the secret but whenever Xavier Wellington puts out the call Perry will be there. I have to mention the adorable Sebastian!
“Daring Duplicity” is outstanding, it has something for everyone and I was impressed and entertained with this first time read for me by Edale Lane. It was a wonderful surprise! I wonder what interesting adventures the author has planned for Stetson Goody next! The cover art by Enggar Adirasa gives the novel just the right touch of mystery.
Kris Walls on Amazon wrote:
This book is an absolute delight! Our very own lesbian Sherlock Holmes. The story is a continuous narrative arranged in several vignettes where each vignette presents a new mystery to solve. The format is a wonderful homage to the serial publishing style popular during the Victorian era, in which the story is set. The characters are as engaging as each new mystery and the action and adventure of following along as each vignette plays out makes for a fast paced, sweet, and fun read. I recommend this book highly.
Edale Lane has created another amazing historical fiction series with Daring Duplicity. This collection of 5 consecutive short stories following Stetson/Wellington as she solves mysteries and follows her passions is stunning. Each story enthralls and together they make a marvelous first step into the Wellington Mysteries series.
The mysteries are entertaining and nicely developed. I enjoyed following Stetson as she used all of her tricks, skills, and smarts to get the job done. I loved how each story felt unique and how seamlessly they fit together.
The characters are well crafted and engaging. Especially Stetson who I could not get enough of. Smart, crafty, clever, determined, romantic, versatile Stetson is a master of disguise, a skilled and accomplished detective, and a hopeless romantic. The characters of this story both major and minor are so well rounded. From Stetson and her love interests to the thwarted criminals, these characters are marvelous.
The romance is sweet and slow. Stetson is an extremely observant and intelligent woman with no gaydar whatsoever (hilarious). She starts out believing she will never be able to find the love she craves because she is only attracted to women. There are two romantic interests and I really enjoyed how Lane handled and developed both of them.
This Holmes inspired historical fiction is thoroughly entertaining. I loved every exciting mystery and every tenderly romantic moment. Well paced, fantastically written, with a story that will suck you in and hold you tight, Daring Duplicity is a superb collection that will satisfy yet leave you wanting more.