Barbara’s rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Series: New Scotland Yard/Doyle and Acton #8
Publication Date: 9/16/18
Anne Cleeland writes marvelously quirky characters in very intelligent and well-crafted books. Acton and Doyle’s relationship is highly improbable while also being delightfully entertaining and intriguing. Acton is absolutely obsessed with the fey Doyle and the ensuing story is always delightful. Lessons learned from reading this series: (1) Ghosts immediately lose their ability to speak in straightforward, linear language as soon as they cross over. They speak in hints, riddles, and ambiguity. (2) Acton will always be up to something he shouldn’t be and will always try to keep it hidden from Doyle. (3) Doyle will always find out what Acton is up to and will get herself into trouble trying to stop it.
Just as an FYI, this series is best read in order from the beginning because each story builds upon the last. You can certainly read this book as a stand-alone and still enjoy the mystery, but you’ll miss out on who the people are and their relationships.
In the last book, Murder in Misdirection, Acton, Doyle, and crew brought down a huge sex-trafficking ring that reached into some of the highest levels of London’s Metropolitan Police Force. The aftermath has left the Met very shorthanded and the remaining crooks trying to cover their tracks. Also, at the end of the last book, Doyle gave birth to Edward.
This book begins with Acton taking Doyle and Edward (and their entourage) to Dublin to visit Doyle’s childhood haunts. He wants her away from London and all that is going on there. He wants her to rest and enjoy being a mother after her narrow escape from a rooftop. Doyle is sure that Acton has an ulterior motive for getting her out of London, but if it gets him away too, then that is good with her. Then, Edward and his nanny are almost pushed from the train. Doyle takes it as an accident, but Acton is on high alert from that point on. He immediately changes all of their pre-booked travel plans and assures that Doyle and Edward are always accompanied wherever they go.
As soon as they arrive, Acton is summoned to the local Garda (police) station. They had a dead body turn up right on the Garda’s entry steps and the victim had come to the station the day before wanting to get in contact with Acton. The Irish Garda is immediately suspicious of Acton. Acton is immediately up to something – covering up what has happened, but Doyle doesn’t have a clue why. Then, they learn of a bishop’s murder in London. Are the two murders related?
Poor Doyle has to figure out what is going on with the murders, figure out what Acton is up to and deal with two ghosts who are haunting her dreams and leaving her with very ambiguous clues to what is going on.
Cleeland’s stories always have a lot going on and this one is no exception. The personal lives of their entourage also keep Doyle and Acton busy, so that relaxing and happy vacation just never quite materializes. We also meet someone new that I think will be a continuing character. She is a young Pakistani intern, Nazy, at the local Garda station. I liked her and it will be interesting to see how she fits into future stories.
I certainly recommend this entire series and I can’t wait for the next adventure.
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“I requested and received this e-book at no cost to me and volunteered to read it; my review is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.”