"The Secret Life of Violet Grant" by Beatriz Williams is a “hard to stop reading book.” Aunt Violet Grant is a relative unknown to Vivian Schuyler until she receives a suitcase in the mail. Through a series of investigations, Vivian, accompanied by her boyfriend, Dr. Paul, discover that Great Aunt Violet was a brilliant scientist, an adulteress and a suspected murderess.
Vivian learns that Violet had been an outstanding student of Dr. Walter Grant’s at Oxford. Violet and Dr. Grant marry and transfer to Kaiser Wilhelm Institut in Berlin where they're introduced to Lionel Richardson who is handsome and debonair. Violet falls in love him and at a party they meet Jane Comtesse de Saint Honore and her son, Henry Mortimer.
During this time, Archduke Ferdinand is murdered and the promise of war is eminent. Lionel, Jane and Henry are secret agents, involved in espionage; along with Violet they are forced to flee Berlin for Switzerland. Lionel and Henry get into a fight and Henry is knocked unconscious. Lionel then steals Henry's identification before pushing his body into a river, drowning him.
Vivian uncovers even more secrets about her Aunt Violet in this very readable book with elements of intrigue and subtle suspense that looks at life in Europe in 1914, at the start of World War I.