Barbara’s rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Series: The Kier and Levett Mystery Series #1
Publication Date: 2/17/23
Period: Victorian London
Number of Pages: 255
What a great story! Has this seasoned historical romance author ventured into writing historical mysteries before this? I don’t know, but she has certainly done an outstanding job of it this time. She has managed to set up the series, introduce all of the series’ characters and make us like them while delivering a mystery that is intriguing. I have seen where this series is only to be three or four books long, but I could easily see this as a scenario and characters that could carry a much longer series should the author choose to go in that direction. Excellently done Deb Marlowe!
Miss Kara Levett and Mr. Niall Kier first meet when they show up at the offices of a sponsor of the Great Exhibition. They are both trying to finagle a spot on the floor of the exhibition to show their creations – but the space is extremely limited. She is a gifted engineer and he is a gifted blacksmith artist whose displays are outstanding. Of course, they win a spot, but sadly, it doesn’t take long for it all to go sour when a man is found murdered on the exhibition grounds. Yes, murdered – with one of the pieces from Kara’s display. Oops! Scotland Yard quickly wants to point the blame at Kara so they can close the case and keep the news from the papers.
If Kara wants to stay out of jail, she’s going to have to prove herself innocent and find the real murderer. Luckily Niall is right there to work alongside her. While Kara appreciates Niall’s help, she is accustomed to doing things on her own and it takes a bit for her to learn to work in tandem. They have to learn to trust each other and depend on each other – and that takes a bit of a leap of faith on both their parts. I admired both of them for the respect they showed each other. Believe it or not – she actually admitted he was right (when he was) and he actually admitted she was right (when she was). Once they got all of those cogs turning in the right direction, the investigation took off. Except – someone is trying to hurt Kara – could she have been the target all along? Surely not – she didn’t even know the man who was murdered.
Some of the stops along the way to solving the mystery provide insights into who our two characters are and the inhabitants of those places are delightful. Kara’s character seems to be pretty straightforward – she is who she is. Niall, on the other hand, is a bit of an enigma that I will love seeing unwound in future books. He has secrets and I can’t wait to find them out!
The series setup and mystery were the main focus of this book, but the groundwork was laid for a romance between Kara and Niall. I loved that there was no insta-lust in this book – just a natural progression of feelings that will, in the end, lead to love I’m sure.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.