Death from the Druid’s Grove by Deb Marlowe

Death from the Druid's Grove (The Keir and Levett Mysteries #2)Barbara’s rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Series: The Kier and Levett Mysteries Series #2
Publication Date: 5/26/23
Period: Victorian London
Number of Pages: 261

This author normally writes historical romance – and does a great job of it – but I think she missed her calling because she does an outstanding job with historical mysteries as well. The author has captured the complexities of the time, the excitement of the Great Exhibition, and the mysticism of a Druidic society along with characters who are so much more than they seem on the outside. Kara is wealthy, independent, artistic, talented, and more than capable of taking care of herself and Niall is handsome, large, brooding, artistic, protective, and filled with secrets he cannot reveal. OMGoodness – what a team they make!

In the first book of the series, we met a number of members of the Order of Druidic Bards. The order studies and preserves the old ways – old manuscripts, old musical instruments, etc. In the opening scene of this book, Kara is inducted into the Order along with one other person, Miss Janet Ottridge. Kara is welcomed into the Order with smiles and open arms, but the other woman – not so much. Kara wonders at the differences in their welcomes and realizes that there is something ‘off’ about the whole thing with Janet. Each new member must perform some ‘task’ that shows their understanding and preservation interests. While Kara’s was creative and lovely, Janet’s was strange and hinted at dire things to come. So, when Janet dies an unnatural death, the police are immediately suspicious of the Order – particularly Magistrate Towland. Kara and Niall know the kindhearted magistrate isn’t guilty and since he was instrumental in helping Kara prove her innocence (in the last book), they’ll do all they can to prove his innocence this time.

I love the way Kara and Niall work together, each playing to their own strengths. They have total respect and trust in each other and work together like a well-oiled machine. Though the victim is not a savory person, Kara and Niall want to find justice for her. When the murderer is revealed, you’ll be surprised, but you’ll also wonder (just a bit) if maybe he/she should have gotten away with it.

During the investigation, we learn a bit more about Niall’s past – not much – just enough to whet our appetites for the third and final book of the series. You are left wondering what in the world could be in his past that causes him so much danger now – especially when he was not the one who did something wrong. I can hardly wait to find out.

The mystery is excellently crafted and delivered as is the subplot involving Niall and his secrets. There are also some lovely poignant scenes between Kara and Niall that make you wonder how the two will ever overcome all of the obstacles in the way of their HEA.

I can definitely recommend this excellently written, nicely paced mystery. I would also like to petition Dragonblade Publishing to extend the contract on this series to include more books. I’d love to have more of Kara and Niall to look forward to.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) 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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