I have praised this series to the heavens with each new installment and I have said so much about each intricate bit because I love the depth and quality to these stories. I held my breath after All Lessons Learned just hoping that it wouldn’t be the end and thankfully the author has seen fit to give me more. This particular story ended up being poignant for the simple fact that it dips back in time before the events of the last few books to happier, simpler times. I loved that Orlando and Jonty are out sleuthing in the company of the incomparable Stewarts.
I suppose in theory some of these books can be read out of order, but seriously, if you have the choice, don’t. Some suspense series have mild series story arcs that run through them. In my opinion, this one isn’t one of those. These tell a romance story and develop the characters along the way. Even some of the cases have connections and there are references to previous cases laced throughout. It would be like spending time with a group of people with you being the only one who is new. Haha, yes, my fan-dom is showing. Sorry- okay, I’m not.
The story opens when Jonty and Orlando finish the term with their students at university and are invited to join Jonty’s parents to spend time at the country estate of Helena Steward’s godmother. Jonty and Orlando figure out quickly that this is no innocent country house party and that they have been hooked in to solve what might be a murder. Both enjoy amateur detecting so willingly go along, but then another suspicious death lands in their laps and the host family are reluctant to have the tidy suicide of a friend teased at. Detective fever is high, but that doesn’t stop Orlando from getting jealous of the handsome footman, Jonty from ‘fessing up to a little project he started on Orlando’s behalf, or the very real fun of the two spending time with Jonty’s eccentric parents.
The mystery is an interesting one that kept me guessing a little though I figured out some of it. It was one that left a bad taste in my mouth as it did the two fellows. Interesting shades of gray solution. I enjoy that side of the plot of course, but what is always my favorite is just spending time with the two lovers. The witty dialogue and heartwarming passion that is consistent with the historical times and setting are the heart of the story. The tie to suicide is particularly hard on Orlando because of his own father’s death in that manner and Jonty is as sensitive to this as Orlando himself. They also mull around the possibility of solving the remaining mystery of Orlando’s roots though Jonty is fearful that opening that can of worms might send Orlando off the deep end again.
All in all, it was a pleasure to return to a favorite series and spend time on the detecting trail with two engaging guys in this Edwardian era romantic suspense. Any one who enjoys the idea of m/m, historical fiction and romantic suspense all blended together into something good should try the series.
My thanks to Riptide Publishing for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review.
Romance Roundabout #146 LGBT
Historical Fiction #16
Historical Romance #38
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