Table of Contents
“A winning series.”—
The Paperback Forum
“It’s murder most English all the way!”
The Literary Times
INSPECTOR WITHERSPOON ALWAYS TRIUMPHS . . . HOW DOES HE DO IT?
Even the Inspector himself doesn’t know—because his secret weapon is as ladylike as she is clever. She’s Mrs. Jeffries—the determined, delightful detective who stars in this unique Victorian mystery series. Be sure to read them all.
The Inspector and Mrs. Jeffries
A doctor is found dead in his own office—and Mrs. Jeffries must scour the premises to find the prescription for murder.
Mrs. Jeffries Dusts for Clues
One case is solved and another is opened when the Inspector finds a missing brooch—pinned to a dead woman’s gown. But Mrs. Jeffries never cleans a room without dusting under the bed—and never gives up on a case before every loose end is tightly tied.
The Ghost and Mrs. Jeffries
Death is unpredictable . . . but the murder of Mrs. Hodges was foreseen at a spooky séance. The practical-minded housekeeper may not be able to see the future—but she can look into the past and put things in order to solve this haunting crime.
Mrs. Jeffries Takes Stock
A businessman has been murdered—and it could be because he cheated his stockholders. The housekeeper’s interest is piqued, and when it comes to catching killers, the smart money’s on Mrs. Jeffries.
Mrs. Jeffries On the Ball
A festive Jubilee celebration turns into a fatal affair—and Mrs. Jeffries must find the guilty party.
Mrs. Jeffries on the Trail
Why was Annie Shields out selling flowers late on a foggy night? And more importantly, who killed her while she was doing it? Mrs. Jeffries must sniff out the clues.
Mrs. Jeffries Plays the Cook
Mrs. Jeffries finds herself doing double duty: cooking for the Inspector’s household and trying to cook a killer’s goose.
Mrs. Jeffries and the Missing Alibi
When Inspector Witherspoon becomes the main suspect in a murder, Scotland Yard refuses to let him investigate. But no one said anything about Mrs. Jeffries.
Mrs. Jeffries Stands Corrected
When a local publican is murdered, and Inspector Witherspoon botches the investigation, trouble starts to brew for Mrs. Jeffries.
Mrs. Jeffries Takes the Stage
After a theater critic is murdered, Mrs. Jeffries uncovers the victim’s secret past: a real-life drama more compelling than any stage play.
Mrs. Jeffries Questions the Answer
Hannah Cameron was not well-liked. But were her friends or family the sort to stab her in the back? Mrs. Jeffries must find out.
Mrs. Jeffries Reveals Her Art
Mrs. Jeffries has to work double-time to find a missing model
a killer. And she’ll have to get her whole staff involved—before someone else becomes the next subject.
Mrs. Jeffries Takes the Cake
The evidence was all there: a dead body, two dessert plates, and a gun. As if Mr. Ashbury had been sharing cake with his own killer. Now Mrs. Jeffries will have to dish up some clues.
Mrs. Jeffries Rocks the Boat
Mirabelle had traveled by boat all the way from Australia to visit her sister—only to wind up murdered. Now Mrs. Jeffries must solve the case—and it’s sink or swim.
Mrs. Jeffries Weeds the Plot
Three attempts have been made on Annabeth Gentry’s life. Was it due to her recent inheritance, or was it because her bloodhound dug up the body of a murdered thief? Mrs. Jeffries will have to investigate.
Mrs. Jeffries Pinches the Post
Harrison Nye may have been involved in some dubious business dealings, but no one ever expected him to be murdered. Now, Mrs. Jeffries and her staff must root through the sins of his past to discover which one caught up with him.
Mrs. Jeffries Pleads Her Case
Harlan Westover’s death was deemed a suicide by the magistrate. But Inspector Witherspoon is willing to risk his career to prove otherwise. And it’s up to Mrs. Jeffries to ensure the good inspector remains afloat.
Mrs. Jeffries Sweeps the Chimney
A dead vicar has been found, propped against a church wall, and Inspector Witherspoon’s only prayer is to seek the divinations of Mrs. Jeffries.
Mrs. Jeffries Stalks the Hunter
Puppy love turns to obsession, which leads to murder. Who better to get to the heart of the matter than Inspector Witherspoon’s indomitable companion, Mrs. Jeffries.
Mrs. Jeffries and the Silent Knight
The yuletide murder of an elderly man is complicated by several suspects—none of whom were in the Christmas spirit.
Mrs. Jeffries Appeals the Verdict
Mrs. Jeffries and her belowstairs cohorts have their work cut out for them if they want to save an innocent man from the gallows.
Also available from Prime Crime:
The first three Mrs. Jeffries Mysteries in one volume
Mrs. Jeffries Learns the Trade
Berkley Prime Crime Books by Emily Brightwell
THE INSPECTOR AND MRS. JEFFRIES
MRS. JEFFRIES DUSTS FOR CLUES
THE GHOST AND MRS. JEFFRIES
MRS. JEFFRIES TAKES STOCK
MRS. JEFFRIES ON THE BALL
MRS. JEFFRIES ON THE TRAIL
MRS. JEFFRIES PLAYS THE COOK
MRS. JEFFRIES AND THE MISSING ALIBI
MRS. JEFFRIES STANDS CORRECTED
MRS. JEFFRIES TAKES THE STAGE
MRS. JEFFRIES QUESTIONS THE ANSWER
MRS. JEFFRIES REVEALS HER ART
MRS. JEFFRIES TAKES THE CAKE
MRS. JEFFRIES ROCKS THE BOAT
MRS. JEFFRIES WEEDS THE PLOT
MRS. JEFFRIES PINCHES THE POST
MRS. JEFFRIES PLEADS HER CASE
MRS. JEFFRIES SWEEPS THE CHIMNEY
MRS. JEFFRIES STALKS THE HUNTER
MRS. JEFFRIES AND THE SILENT KNIGHT
MRS. JEFFRIES APPEALS THE VERDICT
MRS. JEFFRIES AND THE BEST LAID PLANS
MRS. JEFFRIES LEARNS THE TRADE
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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.
MRS. JEFFRIES AND THE BEST LAID PLANS
A Berkley Prime Crime Book / published by arrangement with the author
Berkley Prime Crime mass-market edition / May 2007
Copyright © 2007 by Cheryl Arguile.
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For Nanette Caldararo, with love and appreciation
for all the years of inspiration and support.
Thanks, Nanny; you helped me to live my dream.
“I don’t think we’ll ever get this wedding planned.” Betsy sighed and closed the cookbook. “Worrying about all the details has me so muddled that I can’t even think of what to serve at the reception.”
Mrs. Jeffries, the housekeeper for Inspector Gerald Witherspoon, smiled sympathetically at the pretty blonde-haired maid. “You’re doing fine, Betsy. We’ve still almost a month before the big day. That’s plenty of time to decide on the menu.”
“It feels like it’s happening tomorrow and I’m not near ready. I can’t even decide on what kind of dress I want.”
“You’ll get it all done,” said Mrs. Jeffries, glancing at the maid. Betsy was staring morosely at the closed cookbook. The poor girl was going to make herself ill over a few simple wedding plans. This wasn’t at all like her. Betsy was normally a strong, rather decisive young woman who could make the hardest decisions, some of them involving life and death, with the greatest of ease. Yet planning her own wedding had turned her into a nervous Nellie of the worst sort. There was nothing that the housekeeper could say that would allay her fears, either. The girl had to fight these demons on her own.
Betsy was afraid she was going to fail, that she was going to embarrass herself or even worse, her fiancé, Smythe, by doing something wrong on the most important day of their lives. She’d come from a poverty stricken family in the East End of London and she’d ended up as a maid here at Upper Edmonton Gardens by collapsing on their doorstep. She was having a proper wedding and an elegant reception. Unfortunately, she had little confidence in her own social skills, and she was terrified that something would go wrong.
“But I don’t want to inconvenience Luty, and it’s her staff that’s doing all the work,” Betsy cried. “I’m going to make up my mind. Gracious, it’s only a little reception.”
“Take your time, child,” Mrs. Jeffries said kindly. “Luty won’t mind in the least.” Luty Belle Crookshank was an American friend of the household. She had insisted on hosting Betsy’s wedding reception at her elegant home in Knightsbridge. To anyone outside their immediate circle, it might seem an odd state of affairs for a wealthy woman to host a reception for a poor housemaid. But the bonds between the household of Upper Edmonton Garden and Luty Belle Crookshank were special enough to overcome the rigid class structure of socially conscious London.