Barbara’s rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Series: None Listed, but I think it is meant to be
Publication Date: 6/12/19
Number of Pages: 210
** Maybe 4.5 **
This was one of the best debut novels I’ve read in a long time. The writing is excellent the plot is complex and well-executed, and the characters are fully-fleshed and very relatable. I was particularly pleased to find that there was both a romance and a mystery and both were really well done. Besides, what could be better than a wonderful story that didn’t have a single aristocrat in it? Well, John might be related to a title of some sort since his family crest was mentioned – but since he’s been disowned, that wouldn’t count even if it were true.
Lucy Wycliffe is a layer-out of the dead, a path she embarked upon after her parents were murdered. Some in her village, Clun, consider her unnatural because of her occupation, but it has supported herself and her sister – barely. It has been ten years and she still feels the guilt for her parent’s deaths – not that she should, it is just survivor’s guilt, but she feels it strongly. Now, she’s beginning to feel a bit desperate with the banker, Fiske, demanding payment of the note on their home by the end of the month or she will be put out in the snow. So, when an offer to act as an assistant to the new constable is made, she quickly accepts.
John Brodie is a haunted man who is filled with secrets. His goal in Clun is forgiveness and redemption. While he’s not sure how that is going to happen, it is still his goal. Many things have happened in John’s life during the last ten years and few, if any, were good. Now, after being a successful detective in London’s police force, he is assigned to this sleepy Victorian village that currently has two vicious murders of beautiful, beloved young women and it is up to John to find the murderer.
As John and Lucy work together, they come to know, respect, and finally, to love each other. Although there was an instant attraction, the love came as respect for each other grew. I loved that John cared for ALL of Lucy – even her chosen profession.
Can John, an outsider, gain the trust of the people of Clun and solve the murders? Not without Lucy’s help. As the investigation continues and the clues to the murderer become more and more perplexing, John and Lucy find themselves in danger as well. Can they find the murderer and save themselves at the same time?
This excellently well-written novel will lead you on a merry chase from beginning to end. The resolution is exciting and may surprise you – or not. While this novel is listed as a standalone, I believe the author means it to be part of a series. There is an excellent set-up for it to be a series and I definitely hope that will be the case. That said, this book was published almost a year ago and I don’t see any mention of further books, so I guess the jury is still out on whether it will be part of a series.