THE BACHERLOR GIRL'S GUIDE TO MURDER
Beneath the façade of a wealthy aristocrat may beat the black hear of a killer.
In 1910 Toronto, most bachelor girls are perfecting their domestic skills and finding husbands.
But Merinda Herringford and Jem Watts have never been ordinary. As the two detectives launch their business, the deaths of young Irish women lead them deep into the mire of the city's underbelly.
While searching for answers, donning disguises, and sneaking around where no proper ladies would ever go, they pair with Jasper Forth, a police constable, and Ray DeLuca, a reporter in who Jem takes a more than professional interest. Merinda could well become Toronto's premiere consulting detective, and Jem may just find a way to put her bachelor girlhood behind her forever -- if they can stay alive long enough to do so.
If you are a fan of the Canadian television series, Murdoch Mysteries you will want to leap right into the pages of this book. The same quirky ambiance of the TV show can be found in The Bachelor Girl's Guide to Murder. Just as campy. Just as fun. Glimpses into the sordid side of Toronto at the turn of the century and the inner workings of the constabulary provide the perfect backdrop for an intriguing murder mystery.
Merinda and Jem outrageously flaunt propriety by living alone with only a disapproving housekeeper as a chaperone. And then they push society boundaries even further when they open their own detective agency. Where Merinda leads, Jem follows and it's always into trouble. Merinda is almost tyrannical in her pursuit of the killer and I found her lack of empathy off putting at times.
But this is largely Jem's story. At the beginning of the book she seems to be Merinda's unwilling shadow. Not quite as keen or convicted, this is her journey towards finding herself and while she does achieve a personal epiphany, she never quite shakes loose of Merinda's influence which bodes well for future books in the series.
It took me a while to get into the rhythm of the story and that's largely because there's a mix of point of view styles that had me floundering at times. A lot is relayed through a narrator's lens and though the technique fits with the time period, it served to keep me distanced from most of the characters. In addition, the author frequently addresses her readers with witty asides in the form of footnotes which pulled me out of the story as well.
I liked Ray's scenes the best. They were from his point of view and revealed so much about his work, his family, his back story. He just seemed more fleshed out, and therefore alive compared to the other main characters. He cuts quite the dashing figure -- suitably contrary but of noble intent with a penchant for a certain female detective.
I was surprised by the lack of a significant inspirational thread (this is a Harvest House publication, after all). There was lots of potential to dig deeper -- especially in Jem's storyline. I read Christian fiction with the expectation of a solid faith thread. It doesn't have to be preachy or consume a story but I want to come away feeling uplifted and convicted in some way. I know this is a current trend in the Christian publishing industry, but as most of you know, it's not one I'm particularly fond of. :-)
This is Rachel McMillian's debut novel -- the next book in the series is due out in the fall. Her combination of wit and mayhem is perfect for readers who enjoy their cozy mysteries with a bit of an edge.
My thanks to Harvest House Publishers and Litfuse Publicity Group for providing me with a copy of this book.
If you would like an opportunity to win a copy of The Bachelor Girl's Guide to Murder please leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. If you post a comment and add your email address, please use AT and DOT instead of @ and . in the address to protect yourself from spammers. If you enter the draw via email please remember to put the title in the subject line so that it's easy for me to spot your entry. Draw will be held and winner announced on Sunday April 17 2016. Offer open to international readers. Good luck!
In addition to my giveaway, the author is doing her own. Details below. Please follow the link at the bottom of this post in order to enter for Rachel's giveaway.
Rachel is celebrating the release of The Bachelor Girl's Guide to Murder with a Murder Mystery Prize Pack giveaway (details below) and an author chat party on April 28!
One grand prize winner will receive:
One copy of The Bachelor Girl's Guide to Murder
A magnifying glass necklace
A bowler hat
A pocket watch
A $30 Amazon gift card
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on 4/28. The winner will be announced at The Bachelor Girl's Guide to Murder Facebook party. RSVP for a chance to connect with Rachel and other readers, as well as for a chance to win other prizes!
RSVP today and spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway via FACEBOOK, TWITTER, or PINTEREST and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 28th!