The Cruellest Month by Hazel Holt is the second in the Mrs. Malory series. Sheila returns, this time heading to Oxford to do research on her latest article. Yet before Sheila arrives, a woman, Gwen Richmond, took a nasty tumble down the stairs resulting in death. Tony, Sheila's godson, doesn't feel quite right about it and *cue sleuth* tells Sheila his suspicions. Turns out Gwen Richmond was a disagreeable woman who left a lot of misery in her wake, in short a witch and if it had a "b" in front of it, it would stand for blackmail. She loved to blackmail people and hang that power of their head the way clowns like to torment little children until they wake up in a puddle of nightmares. But the problem with blackmailers is eventually someone gets tired of getting blackmailed or thinks s/he's beyond blackmail and strikes back. This is what happens with Gwen. Sheila discovers who she was blackmailing and why it was worth killing.
The author gets the title from T. S. Eliot's "The Waste Land", because the story takes place in April and it's also a triple meaning. First, for the time of the year. Second, for Gwen's actions and death. Third, for what Sheila learns about a fellow from her past with whom she had a relationship.
Holt trades the idyllic countryside for the idyllic college setting. Once again, things aren't what they seem. The story's filled with a lot of charm and romance for Tony (I'm really a sucker for romance). The book drew me in and was a quick read and a series I think worth keeping up.