Patricia M. Muhammad
Fiction, Historical, Mystery, Romance
September 27, 2020
Duchess Arabella leaves the House of Wellington for the king's court without notice or permission of her mother and father. Two murders occur in the royal palace. Duke Everett is accused amongst the courtiers. He pursues the duchess to take her hand in marriage. The Crown sequesters all of the king's court to the royal grounds. The duke and duchess fall in love and are the first to be exonerated. They leave for the House of Carrington, only for the Crown to summon Duke Everett to serve as advisor. A third murder happens. The primary witness is Duke Everett's unknown cousin. The duke seeks to advise the crown to finally resolve all the murders so that he and Arabella may be free to wed and remain as honourable members of the king's court.
It is 18thcentury, London England. Duchess Arabella recently has come of age. She leaves the House of Wellington without giving notice to her parents to venture to the king's court. After her arrival, she finds herself amongst more courtiers than expected. On this same day, Duke Everett was party to a land dispute presented to the Crown for resolution. The king and queen ruled against him. However, being an esteemed courtier, he acted with respect and dignity. The other duke is murdered. Several of the ennobled assume Duke Everett killed him. However, he and the duchess, after a brief acquaintance were separate from the others in the court's main chambers. The Crown immediately exonerates them but orders them to be isolated from the rest. All courtiers henceforth are sequestered to the royal grounds until the murders are solved. Duke Everett and Duchess Arabella reside in bedchambers next to one another. The duchess is assigned the maidservant, Victoria and the duke a manservant, Owain. The aristocrats grow in affection for one another. They visit each other through a shared space. On one occasion, they discover a secret passageway which leads to a decaying, unused lower level. Here, they use for their special time away from servants' visits and being presented before the Crown. One night they hear voices and venture along the level's structure. They hear a woman claim that the duke was not qualified to court the duchess. Neither Arabella or Everett hear the voices again. The king and queen decide to release the duke and duchess from the royal grounds. Now, they are betrothed. Duke Everett takes Duchess Arabella to the House of Wellington so she may share her news. She does not intend to return to her mother and father's home. This causes a rift between the duke and her parents. The maiden remains defiant and leaves with her fiancé to reside at her new home, the House of Carrington. They do not spend much time there before a royal guard on horseback visits to issue the king and queen's summons to Duke Everett. There has been a third murder in the king's court. He is to serve as a special advisor. Arabella refuses to stay. Everett reluctantly allows her to accompany him upon his return. The Crown apprises him of the details. He is to interview the primary witness with the royal physician present. The duchess is required to remain in the queen's company until his official capacity is complete. During his interview of Duke Gideon, he reveals that he and Duke Everett are cousins. It appears problematic, except that they are both innocent. When Duke Everett further discusses what he has learned, they all agree that someone is attempting to frame them. The courtier returns to his assigned bedchambers and ventures to the lower level alone. He discovers a few aspects of the area that he and the duchess had not noticed before. The Crown and Duke Everett hatch a scheme to catch the culprits...