Meet heroic maid Pattern in The Last Duchess, the first Silver Service Mystery from Laura Powell, illustrated by Sarah Gibb.
Pattern is only thirteen, but is already rising through the ranks at Mrs Minchin's Academy of Domestic Servitude and seems destined for a life below stairs. But fate intervenes when she is packed off to the small and secretive Duchy of Elffinberg, to serve as lady's maid to the recently orphaned Grand Duchess.
Pattern's young new mistress is excitable and paranoid, yet despite their differences the two girls forge an unlikely friendship that quickly turns into a battle for survival. For picture-perfect Elffinberg hides an extremely dark and deadly secret . . .
Armed only with her trusty sewing basket, a bottle of smelling salts and J. Bulcock's inestimable guide, The Duties of a Lady's Maid, Pattern will need all her wits and resourcefulness when dealing with above-stairs conspiracies and below-stairs intrigue. Darning stockings has never been so dangerous.
Laura Powell, who may or may not be a direct descendant of King Arthur, was born in London, but grew up in the shadow of Carreg Cennen Castle in Wales. Much of her childhood was either spent with her nose firmly in a book, or plotting to escape her boarding school, which she hated. Having studied Classics at university, she now spends her time working for the English National Ballet and writing magical books including The Last Duchess. She lives in Camberwell with her husband and young son. Sarah Gibb is a London-based illustrator. After landing regular spots in the Telegraph and Elle magazine, Sarah has gone on to illustrate Sue Townsend's Adrian Mole series, many children's books including Hilary McKay's Fairy Tales and Laura Powell's Silver Service Mystery series.