An illustration by Clarence F. Underwood
for a 1907 edition of Beau Brocade
by the Baroness Orczy.
Of course, the prolific Baroness is most famous for her novel featuring the inane public fop and clever secret agent and adventurer, Sir Percy Blakeney, aka The Scarlet Pimpernel.
I'm not sure that Orczy began the tradition of the lordly detective; but certainly, Allingham's Albert Campion and Dorothy Sayers' Lord Peter Wimsey follow it in fine and socially nuanced style.
These idle connections made me wonder if there are current mystery novels out there with a modern aristrocrat or prince of the blood with a clandestine interest in solving murders and such.
Prince Charles's public personna would make a fine foil for this kind of furtive hobby, don't you think? (Of course, by mentioning him at all - considering certain public attitudes -- I risk derailing any discussion into comments about his character, Diana, etc.!)
However, there are enough other lords and ladies out there not so closely contained by the paparazzi to give credence to the basic plot. Unfortunately, class-levelling has removed much of the deliciously voyeuristic charm of this sort of novel and made the writer's job much more difficult because they can't as easily depend on the reader's perception of attitudes and motivations based on class structure. Pity.
I want to thank Vesper (http://chickwithaquill.blogspot.com/) for her encouragement to get back at it.
While my wellspring of creativity is still dry, I did haul up a short story from my files and managed to edit and expand the story to a length that might make it acceptable to some unsuspecting and uncritical publisher.
As you must know, one of my writing faults is brevity. I am too curt with my characters and too terse with my inferences.