Summary: While Sarah is delivering a baby she thinks she recognizes a woman who is boarding with the new family. When the woman is discovered dead shortly after she can’t help but get involved in the investigation.
I want to start by saying that I was floored by this book and already ordered next one. This book was very nearly a 5/5 for me though there were a few issues, which I will explain below, that made me -1.
Let me start out with what I loved.
I have tried a few other historical mysteries but this one really captured the era well and the issues with the police department in those times. Sarah is worried that the death will not be explored because police rarely solve crimes without bribes and the murdered woman’s family refuses to post a reward. I also think that the class issues of the time and family concerns about appearance were spot on. I read historical romance and being immersed in this world was very easy. I don’t know how historically accurate it is but it certainly has the feel of other historical fiction for the time period.
Sarah teams up with Malloy (a male detective who she is being set up to have a romance with) to solve the crime. I read cozy mysteries pretty often and I do not think I have come across many where there are two POV characters. I really enjoyed it in this because in some ways it made this book feel more like a mix of cozy and police procedural. The double POV was really fun and I loved it.
I also loved that both Sarah and Malloy were well developed and they clearly are going to have complex stories as the series goes on. We get a glimpse into their personal secrets in this book but it was only a taste. It left me full of so many questions that I can’t wait for next book to answer.
The mystery itself was really good overall. A pregnant rich teenager is murdered and the people who might have information keep dying as well. It was in the actual mystery though that the story lost a star with me.
The mystery is a bit more “gritty” than one would expect from such a novel. This was one of those books that I had to be careful recommending to my friends who enjoy the genre because I worried they would be offended by elements of the big reveal. I wasn’t very bothered by it but the motives for murder were so appalling that I could see many people unable to stomach it. I will be very careful who I recommend this book to.
The grittiness was not why I took off a star however.
Once those responsible for the death are revealed things get kinda frustrating. I understand that from a historical standpoint the elite of the world are hard to prosecute especially with the police corruption of the age. There was no way that the “bad guys” could have reasonably got justice. However, the ending really felt like a let down. The “bad guys” get justice but in a very “act of God” type way. At least, that was how it felt to me.
If you plan to read this series you really need to start here. I don’t feel like this is one of those cozy series that you can read out of order very easily. The character arcs are too important. I actually had seen the most recent release of this series at the library and picked it up first. I got about a quarter of the way in and knew that I needed to start at book one if I really was going to experience the series.
If you like historical settings and mystery I recommend this series so long as you will be comfortable with the grittiness of this book. It really was a very good book and I am excited to read the next one.