A Study In Murder by Callie Hutton
In the late Victorian era, murder mystery novels were all the rage. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s were the most popular of all, and it was considered quite the thing among the fashionable set to belong to a book club discussing the latest publication.
Lady Amy Lovell is a member of one such book club in Bath, but she has a secret; under a pen name, she actually writes murder mysteries. Reality hits hard when she discovers her ex-fiance stabbed to death in her own home and she is the police’s primary suspect, though, and she quickly realises that if she doesn’t investigate and find the real murderer, she’ll end up convicted of the crime. Accompanied by loyal friend William, Lord Wethington, Amy sets out to apply her theoretical investigative skills to the real world, with stakes that couldn’t be higher.
This is an intriguing story with a lot of twists, turns and red herrings explored along the way. With the opium trade under the spotlight, it’s clear to see that human nature hasn’t changed all that much in the last hundred and thirty years; people in the grip of drug addiction are desperate and will go to unthinkable extremes to get their next fix.
I liked both Amy and William and found myself quite invested in the quiet little romance they slowly built up; it’s very much a sub-plot but felt quite believable. The only thing that did bother me was that the timeframe of the books seemed weirdly elongated; there kept being these week-long time skips where nothing at all happened. I get the desire of the author not to have everything happen all in the space of a couple days, but there’s no need to have entire weeks pass by when nothing happens, not when there was an urgency for Amy to solve the case.
A good read with an engaging plot and likable main characters, but I did have a few quibbles, so I’m going to give this one four stars.
Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this title via NetGalley.