When Bertie, a browbeaten son of Britain's upper crust, wants to marry Mai, the feminist who lives in the mansion down the road, his mother, Augusta, the ultra-snobby Langham matriarch, opposes their union. Tides turn, however, with the introduction of Zhenia Dashkova, the mysterious Russian princess in possession of the Dashkov family emeralds. Beautiful and charming, Zhenia catches the Langhams' eyes at once. But what they don't know can hurt them amidst an elaborate web of fabricated identity and stolen jewels. Combining Jane Austen's wit with Sherlock Holmes's story line, Elizabeth Palmer's The Distaff Side brings historical intrigue to new heists.