I read cozy and historical mysteries, a bit of Paranormal/UF, and to mix it up, I read science and gardening books on occasion.
Anna Katherine Green was an American novelist at the turn of the 20th century and is considered by many to be the mother of the detective novel. I first read a short story of hers last year, featuring Violet Strange, and immediately wanted to read more. I couldn't find a collection of her Strange stories, but I did find a beautiful, first edition copy of this book for 15 bucks and I didn't think twice.
It was worth every penny. I only dinged it 1/2 star because there was a massive clue the protagonist 'forgot' she saw early in the book that I didn't forget reading about. Of course this clue was the thing that the mystery's couple in peril needed to secure their HEA (although it didn't matter to the mystery itself).
Miss Saunders is working for an employment agency of some sort - it's never explained, although it's obviously not your average job placement firm - when she is hired by the Mayor to be a companion to his wife, with the secondary task of discovering what event happened two weeks previously that substantially altered the Mayor's wife's personality.
Not only is the book very well written, but it has a little bit of everything fun and suspenseful in a vintage mystery: tales of hauntings, cryptic codes, unexplainable occurrences, dodgy butlers, and crazy old ladies staring out of attic windows. The pacing is quick and even; I had a really hard time putting it down last night and it was the first thing I picked up this morning (thank goodness for school holidays!). I did not see the ending coming, although it wasn't altogether shocking.
I'll definitely be looking out for more of Green's work!