I finished the 32nd book for the book challenge. It was Blue Murder by Emma Jameson.
Lord Anthony Hetheridge, DS Kate Wakefield, and DS Paul Bahr are called to the home of the socialite Wardles where young Emmaline Wardle has had a Halloween party and two murders have taken place. Clive French has been found with an axe in his skull in the back garden while Trevor Parsons, Emmaline’s boyfriend, collapsed at her feet with an axe in his skull. Lord Hetheridge interviews Emmaline who is quite hostile and when she threatens him, he has her arrested. DS Bahr interview three young men and takes them to New Scotland Yard to continue the interview process. DS Wakefield interviews the best friend of Emmaline, Kyla Sloane, at the Wardle house. She proves to be a better witness and tells them that Clive French was an uninvited guest at the party, that he sold school papers and that people owed him money which was why he carried so much money on him, and that drugs where used at the party. Trevor was also breaking up with Emmaline that night.
The next day, Lord Hetheridge and DS Paul go to interview Emmaline at a home where she and her parents are staying. Her parents are mostly concerned with the destruction of a valuable amphora Greek vase that they claim the police damaged than they are about the two murders. Lord Hetheridge and DS Bahr want information about the fact that accused murderer and neighbor Sir Duncan Godington was seen at the Wardle home at the party with Kyla Sloane. Emmaline and Kyla had a falling out that night. They also learn that Emmaline had a fight with a girl called Phoebe who is pregnant. One of the boys whom DS Bahr interviewed the night before arrives and who will now become captain of the rugby team that Trevor is dead and Emmaline’s new boyfriend. He is obnoxious, but the detectives don’t seriously think he is the murderer.
The detectives view CCTV camera footage and find Kyla Sloane talking to Sir Duncan Godington in the back garden. There is evidence that Clive French’s body was moved from where he was originally killed to where he was found and where he was killed, a small bonfire had been set. The presence of Sir Duncan raises memories in DS Bahr of the case in which Sir Duncan was accused of murdering his father, brother, and valet and DS Bahr was involved with Sir Duncan’s girlfriend Tessa Chilcott. Tessa told Sir Duncan everything that DS Bahr had told her about the case. Later Tessa had killed a random woman and had been committed to a hospital for the mentally ill, the same hospital that Kate Wakefield’s sister is committed to. Kate and Paul visit the hospital to Tessa and Maureen to see what they can learn about Sir Duncan, because Tessa was on a home visit the night of the party. They do not really learn anything except that Kyla Sloane is Tessa’s sister.
DS Bahr and Lord Hetheridge visit the pregnant Phoebe and Jeremy Bentham, one of the young men he interviewed the first night. Jeremy plans to marry Phoebe, even though the baby is not his but Trevor’s. Phoebe confronted Trevor the night of the party. She didn’t need his money since she is to get a large trust fund. They later visit Kyla Sloane and learn that Jeremy Bentham is a major cocaine dealer and had associations with Clive French and Trevor Parsons. They go to visit Clive French’s mother and are in Clive’s bedroom with his mother when they see a box of lip balm balls, which are used to store the cocaine. Jeremy Bentham arrives and they put everything together. Jeremy has killed Clive and Trevor over the cocaine and now he plunges a pocket knife into the neck of DS Bahr and backs out the bedroom door with DS Bahr as hostage. But DS Wakefield is coming up the stairs with a cricket bat and clubs Bentham over the head with it and saves DS Bahr.
The other ongoing theme is relationship between Lord Hetheridge and DS Wakefield. Lord Hetheridge is in love with Kate and she with him. He has offered her his family heirloom ring and asked her to marry him, but she has refused. She loves him but feels that he would be giving up too much. At the end of the book, however, he tells her that he is willing to give up the barony if she will marry him, that they will work out the problem with New Scotland Yard somehow. She tells him, yes she will marry him and to keep the barony and not to give it to his cousin Roddy of foxhound fame. In the next book, to be released in Spring 2013, Kate and Tony tie the knot.