I read cozy and historical mysteries, a bit of Paranormal/UF, and to mix it up, I read science and gardening books on occasion.
I've previously started this book at least 3 times and never gotten past the first page - or even gotten to the first page before being distracted by something else so this time I was determined to get this book read.
It turns out that once I could actually sit down and read more than a handful of words, getting it read wasn't a problem at all. It was a great read! I thoroughly enjoyed it.
The book starts out like it's the middle of an on-going series; it doesn't bother to lay down a bunch of background or drag the reader through Mrs. Rodd's start as a discrete detective. But never as the reader was I confused, or felt left in the dark, or plopped into the middle of things. Small moments here and there fill in quite a few blanks; others just aren't that necessary (or perhaps are being saved for future books?) and there's plenty of mystery to take up the pages; the author doesn't need filler.
The widowed Mrs Rodd works through her brother, a distinguished defence attorney, and is called upon to look into the background of a young window deemed thoroughly unsuitable by the rich father of the young man who wants to marry her. But unbeknownst to them all, there are far bigger problems blossoming for the family, and Mrs. Rodd finds herself in the thick of happenings rather diabolical.
According to the author, readers of David Copperfield will recognise her inspiration for this book (I've not read DC). Whatever her inspiration, the characters and setting were pitch perfect and I just enjoyed every minute I spent with Mrs. Rodd and company. Although I sussed out the plot twist very early on, I was too engrossed in the read to notice or care, and the pace remained brisk from beginning to end.
The only niggle I had is a small one: Mrs. Rodd is the widow of an archbishop, so there's every possibility that the heavily spiritual/religious bent to the narrative is just part of her character. It totally fits and it's never, ever preachy, but it's just dominant enough that it could also be the author using the book as a platform to evangelise and that possibility sours, just a tiny bit, what would have been my complete enthusiasm for the book. Thankfully, Mrs. Rodd remains smart, sensible, non-judgemental and with enough humour for the niggle to remain tiny.
The cover implies this is the first of a new series; if so, I'll eagerly be in line to purchase the next one.
Page count: 332
$$: $6.00 $9.00 - with location multiplier applied