Thank you to my Kindle Unlimited subscription for helping me find new-to-me authors and even more books to put into my TBR pile. That’s how I came across this book. I am a sucker for historical fiction and the plot had me interested enough to make it one of my 10 (yes, I almost always have 10 checked out at any given time!). It was an enjoyable read for the most part. The suspense well built up and even though I had half of the mystery figured out just over halfway through, it really didn’t take away from the story at all. Sometimes I just like to have that confirmation of “YES! I was right!” when I’m reading a decent mystery novel.
Detective Stephen Lavender has been called out of London to solve the mystery of the disappearing heiress from her locked room. He and his partner, Constable Woods, travel North find out what has happened to young Helen Carnaby at the behest of her worried uncle. The townspeople are suspicious and ready to blame the gypsies living on the grounds of Linn Hagh. People are pointing to witchcraft and spirits and it’s up to Detective Lavender to find out what happened before it’s too late for both Miss Carnaby and for the town itself. Helen’s siblings (half-siblings) are uncooperative and seem to care about nothing other than the inheritance that Helen was about to come into.
The characters were well-drawn and it was easy to conclude who was on the side of good and who was not. George and Isobel Carnaby make you want to wipe your hands on your pants to get rid of their slimy nature. They were both absolutely vile, unrepentant and irredeemable characters. I enjoyed both Lavender and Woods, they had an easy camaraderie and were well suited as partners. Even the bit characters were well thought out and put together. I wish more time had been spent with the gypsies, but I can appreciate leaving them a bit mysterious because that’s exactly what they were, especially during this time in history.
Being that this is the first in a series featuring Detective Lavender, I can understand inserting other information into the story that will become relevant in subsequent novels. But the storyline between Lavender and Magdalena Morales just seemed out of place. And maybe this was more just personal taste, but I felt like it was more distracting than anything. Maybe if more time had been allowed for it, I don’t know.
Fans of Regency mysteries and historical fiction will appreciate this book and I think that it would also appeal to other lovers of mystery novels.