A Malevolent Connection by Lynn Messina

A Malevolent Connection (Beatrice Hyde-Clare Mysteries #9)Barbara’s rating: 3.7 of 5 Stars
Series: Beatrice Hyde-Clare #9
Publication Date: 11/11/21
Period: Regency London
Number of Pages: 261

Although Beatrice (Bea) Hyde-Clare, still hasn’t managed to deal with her chef putting pineapple into everything she eats, she’s nicely settled into her month-long marriage to Damien Matlock, the sixth Duke of Kesgrave. The pineapple fiasco is her own fault though – and she knows it – and she’ll deal with it – just not today. She loves being married to a man she adores and who treats her as an equal partner – until she feels he doesn’t treat her that way. Oops.

When Bea’s archnemesis tries to weasel her way into Bea’s good graces by telling Bea about a plot on her life, Bea doesn’t know whether to believe the woman or not. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time Mrs. Norton had born tales designed to hurt Bea in some way. This tale though, if true, will have major repercussions on both Bea and Damien. The plot, you see, is that Damien’s uncle, Lord Myles Matlock, is hiring a thug to murder Bea. That would allow his son, Mortimer, to become the duke’s heir.

Although Bea agrees to allow Damien to handle the situation, she manages to parse her agreement so she feels she can still investigate on her own. What does she find? She finds Damien, with a bloody silver candlestick in his hand, standing over the dead body of his uncle. Oops – again. Beatrice knows Damien didn’t murder his uncle – but who did? Their investigations lead them through many suspects from barristers to criminal kingpins and everything in between. It seems his uncle was a very unsavory character.

The only other book I’ve read in the series is A Sinister Establishment, and I did not enjoy this one as much as I did that one. The crime, the victim, the suspects, nor the motive intrigued me and I found the investigation to be slow and a bit plodding. I do love the wit and banter between Damien and Bea, but I’m not sure I like Bea much at all. In this book, she expects Damien to check with her and get her approval for every little thing he does. I expected to see a place where he asked if he had her permission to go to the restroom. Everything was about her expectations of him – and evidently, he wasn’t allowed to have expectations of her. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for female rights, but Bea’s version seems to be that the female is the only one with rights. She chastises, thwarts, and dissembles all the time and I just find it difficult to believe that Damien could love that about her.

I did mostly enjoy the story and may try another one to see if this version of Bea is repeated. If so, I probably won’t continue with the series. However, if they BOTH become equal partners in the relationship, then I believe I would happily continue with the series.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Avid reader/reviewer of historical romance and historical mysteries.

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