For today’s Thursday Creation Review, I’m back to tackling a book review – I missed writing a proper post last week, although the excuses were forthcoming.
Anyway, back to today’s review (which I started last week).
I had been reading just samples as books I planned to start next were due to arrive. They did, but one sample had so hooked me that I had to discover more about it first.
The Case of the Black Tulips (Caster & Fleet Mysteries, #1)
Paula Harmon (Goodreads Author),
Liz Hedgecock (Goodreads Author)
There’s a new detective duo in Victorian London…
When Katherine Demeray opens an unsigned letter addressed to her missing father, she is drawn into a quest to find the terrified letter-writer and learn the secret of the black tulips.
Struggling to support herself after her father’s disappearance, Katherine has neither time nor money to solve the mystery alone. She has no choice but to seek help from a woman she has only just met; awkward socialite Connie Swift.
As the letters become increasingly frantic, this unlikely team of amateur detectives must learn to work together, while struggling to navigate the rigid rules of Victorian propriety, their families’ expectations, and the complicating interference of men.
Confronting danger as they venture into new and frightening territory, Katherine and Connie risk arrest, exposure, and even their reputations to solve the Case of the Black Tulips. Can they solve the mystery before someone gets killed….or they kill each other?
The Case of the Black Tulips is the first book in the Caster & Fleet mystery series, set in 1890s London.
Review 4.1 stars
When typist Katherine Demeray and her new friend socialite Connie Swift attempted to solve a mystery letter to Katherine’s father, I was drawn into their dangerous venture as they struggled to navigate Victorian society and the darker side of London.
The mystery of the letter writer and the clue of black tulips created a plot that worked through to the end, and the ending set up future cases for the endearing – or should that be spirited – lady detectives. (The second mystery is also out, and another is in the pipeline.)
I found that the main protagonists of Katherine and Connie were distinct and worked as a team, along with some memorable key supporting characters. I wondered if each of the authors had taken on a protagonist as the voices were so distinct – and that proved to be the case, with fascinating and effective results. What better way to write two protagonists than have two writers – or a split-personality. This clever approach led to some intriguing cliff-hangers for readers – and it seemed for writers/protagonists in the dark.
Some of that darkness is Victorian London with minimal lighting. This setting felt familiar as an ex-Londoner and yet this London was different with its carriages, rural outskirts (now, houses), plus the ever-present smoke that would soon become smog.
The story, the characters, their situations and the settings felt realistic. Whether this was historically accurate, I’m not sure, but the authors seem to have done plenty of research, and that gives a sense of authenticity that worked for me.
I enjoyed the read and I will buy the sequels. Not five stars but a recommended four plus.
Story – four stars
Setting/World-building – four stars
Authenticity – four stars
Characters – four stars
Structure – four stars
Readability – five stars
Editing – four stars