|The Bachelor Girl's Guide to Murder (Harvest House, April 2016)|
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In 1910 Toronto, while other bachelor girls perfect their domestic skills and find husbands, two friends perfect their sleuthing skills and find a murderer.
Inspired by their fascination with all things Sherlock Holmes, best friends and flatmates Merinda and Jem launch a consulting detective business. The deaths of young Irish women lead Merinda and Jem deeper into the mire of the city's underbelly, where the high hopes of those dreaming to make a new life in Canada are met with prejudice and squalor.
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 whom Jem takes a more than professional interest. Merinda could well be 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.
I wasn't quite sure what to expect from The Bachelor Girl's Guide to Murder, but I thought it looked like fun ... and it certainly was! The novel feels old-timey—in a good way! Merinda and Jem do bear a resemblance to Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, and I loved seeing all the parallels. Also, the book just reads like an older mystery—like something Agatha Christie or Dorothy L. Sayers would have written.
While the mystery—surrounding two murdered girls and government corruption—was interesting, I didn't care as much about the "whodunit" as I did about getting to know Jem and Merinda. Much of the novel is told through Jem's eyes, and I appreciated that perspective. Jem is clearly Merinda's sidekick, and usually the sidekick is a supporting character, but not here. I loved Jem dearly, while I felt like Merinda was just "there." Hopefully Merinda will become equally fleshed out in future novels!
Throughout the novel, author Rachel McMillan includes two things that you may be tempted to skip over (these are things I generally skip): excerpt quotes at the beginning of each chapter and footnotes scattered throughout. The footnotes are fabulous! They are so funny and provide extra information that's helpful to know. And the excerpt quotes? They go with each chapter, but what you really want to pay attention to is the attribution. So great!
I thoroughly enjoyed this first encounter with Herringford and Watts, and I look forward to their future adventures! 4 stars.
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Rachel McMillan is a keen history enthusiast and a lifelong bibliophile. When not writing or reading, she can most often be found drinking tea and watching British miniseries. Rachel lives in bustling Toronto, where she works in educational publishing and pursues her passion for art, literature, music, and theater.
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