What a great mystery! The author has certainly done her research and many of the places and events within the story actually happened. Each book contains more than one mystery because it covers the cases on which the ladies are currently working. In this book, the perpetrator seemed pretty obvious to me, but what was not obvious was the background and circumstances of the murder. The other case had a lovely twist that you didn’t really see coming and it was pretty cool.
The Smoke and Cracked Mirrors detective agency is commissioned by the lawyer for Anthony Gill who has been accused of murdering his colleague at the Castle Museum in York. As they begin their investigation and meet all of the involved characters, they are sure many of those people are not being straightforward with them. As the case progresses, it morphs into something so much bigger- and nastier than the original murder. Many people are in danger – including Bobbie and Tom (Jemma’s step-nephew).
The second case they are working on was brought to them by Mr. King of King’s Private Inquiry Agency based in Leeds. Whenever Mr. King takes on a case that includes anything in York, he contracts with the York Ladies’ Detective Agency to investigate any clues in their area. This case involves a Baron who is married to a famous actress – and he wants to divorce the actress. Baron Stokesley, a wealthy aristocrat, wants the detectives to gather evidence that he can use in court to prove his wife is being unfaithful. However, it turns out that Jodie, his wife, is one very sharp lady who knows exactly what the Baron is up to and thwarts the detectives at every turn. Is she actually having an affair? If so, with whom? Can they catch them together? The possible paramours keep getting eliminated – maybe she isn’t cheating.
This was a lively story filled with characters you love, hate, feel sorry for, identify with, or who break your heart. The only reason I didn’t give the book a 5-star rating is on the personal side of the story – not the mystery side. As with any series, we learn more and more about the recurring characters as we move from book to book. I’d become personally invested in one of the strong, handsome, patriotic, loving, caring male characters – all of those great attributes you’d want in a person. However, it appears his outcome is NOT going to be a good one unless the author creates some miracle. I don’t care for where things seem to be heading for him, his wife, and their relationship. I’ll read the next book to see where it goes, but if the turmoil persists, I’ll probably quit reading the series. I read to escape real-world things, and this situation is much too real-world to suit me. I also get tired of Jemma and her ‘stomach fluttering’ when a certain male character is around. Jemma is married and shouldn’t even be considering or thinking about other men given her personal situation/relationship. Ah – I guess we’ll see where it goes.
I definitely recommend this book and this series for the mystery. If you choose to read it, I hope you’ll enjoy it.