I had the opportunity to read one of the author’s regency era books and loved her writing, the characters, dialogue and suspense so I was eager to give her contemporary detective romantic suspense a try. This Scotland Yard police procedural was a lovely surprise and a fantastic reading experience and I definitely want to keep going with the series.
The story opens with Detective Constable Kathleen Doyle out on a new case with her lead, Detective Chief Inspector Lord Acton. She has been his junior partner and mentoree for the last six months and they’ve done well as a team. He is brilliant and deductive and she is intuitive. His star is already high in the sky and he is highly respected and high profile amongst the powers that be while she is pretty much an Irish upstart. Her fairy gift, as she calls her ability to sort lies and motives, and his genius keep them isolated from others, but share an understanding between them. And it will take all their combined gifts to sort out this latest death and what follows. Doyle discovers that Acton has one big surprise among many up his sleeve that gives her more than their case to keep her busy. Then the case turns dangerously personal and they must work to solve it before the killer gets to them.
When I started reading, I had that sense that I was dropped into the middle of something and it was a little dizzying, but I got my feet under me and caught the rhythm of the writing. Many murder mysteries do that so it wasn’t a huge surprise. I found the murder mystery a nice little challenge though sadly I cottoned to the killer nearly from the moment I encountered the person and figured out the motive not long after. Fortunately, there is much more going on and I was vested in the characters and all the little extras that I had plenty to keep me reading. I could sense that while this was a complete story and the case does get solved, there was also the sense that this was setting up for a series story arc, too.
The main characters are a wonderful tribute to older detective teams including the famous Sherlock Holmes. The author doesn’t shy away from the comparison though I have to say that Doyle is no Watson. She’s intuitive and can be brash in her words, but she is a capable detective who doesn’t miss the clues or their significance. She might be inferior as to class and education, but Acton sees beyond that and treats her with respect. They are not full partners in that he is essentially her boss and he has the lead which she occasionally chafes under, but they don’t get acrimonious about it. They also become romantically involved and that was a source of enjoyment the way the author developed that aspect. Doyle is the predominant narrator and she cracks me up particularly after they become involved. She has a wry wit and a prosaic outlook which stands her well with a personality like Acton’s that intimidates and steamrolls lesser people.
All that being said, I had a wonderful time with this new detective series and I will definitely be going back for more. I would recommend this for those who enjoy romantically involved detective teams and a moderately challenging murder mystery.
I received this book as a giveaway prize, but this did not influence my honest review.