Chapter OneRead more of the extract here.
Monday, 23rd September 1805
My dear Eliza,
I must begin another letter to you, although it is not six hours since I sent my last. I have some news to communicate which I think will surprise you not a little.
Miss Dido Kent hesitated, her pen suspended over the page. All her education and almost thirty years’ experience of writing letters had not quite prepared her for this situation. As well as she could recall, the rules of etiquette said nothing about the correct way in which to convey the news that she now had to impart. However, her governess had once told her that the very best style of writing was that which gave information simply and clearly without any excess of sensibility.
She dipped her pen into the ink and continued.
There has been a woman found dead here – in the shrubbery – this evening.
She read what she had written, thought for a little while, then added:
It was the under-gardener who found her.
Her sister would wish to be reassured that it was not a member of the family, or one of their guests, who had made the horrible discovery.