Writing historical fiction is always a challenge. The author does extensive research but has to be careful not to let the details she has lovingly gathered become so numerous as to slow down the pace of the book. Rhys Bowen is one who has been very successful in this mystery genre. Aside from stand alone works of historical fiction, she also is currently maintaining two historical mystery series: the Royal Spyness Series about a minor Royal in 1930’s Britain, and the Molly Murphy series about an Irish immigrant in early 1900’s New York City. This novel is in that series. Molly works as a private detective while trying to find a suitable man to marry, which is difficult given her high standards. This book is well-plotted, and, while the historical detail seems authentic, it is never intrusive. We learn only what we need to know. If you like historical mysteries, give Bowen a try.
Peter Granger, LANE: A Case for Willows and Lane
Willows is middle-aged, widowed, wealthy and bored. Lane is a former Detective Inspector invalided out of the police after an explosive career of both brilliance and violence. When Lane moves next door to Willows and gets involved in saving her from some bad guys, they form an unlikely partnership. Both of the books in this series are more thriller than police procedural, but they are extremely well-written as is everything that Granger produces. Lane is a character you won’t quickly forget, and I hope there will be many more in this series.
This novel introduces DCI Sophie Allen and her team in a case where they find a woman who has been stabbed through the heart on a city street on the same night that her mother was strangled in her home. As they delve into these crimes, the team discovers that the twisted mind of one individual is at work, and this person plans to kill again and again to accomplish his aims.
I have read a number of books in this British police procedural series, and they have been uniformly good. Allen is intelligent and well-educated, but she also has the cool street smarts to make her a convincing detective. Her team manifests the usual personal problems and allows the author to engage in some social commentary. A few may find Allen’s family life a bit too precious, but this is a small quibble in what is an excellent-so-far-six book series. I would recommend taking a look.