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.
Whether or not Jem is in, she's in with Merinda and her detective scheme. Though Jem's last name is Watts, she doesn't at all think she compares to Wattson--even though Merinda is determined to be a Sherlock Holmes and refuses to let two mysterious murders go unnoticed in political unrest.
Seriously, who would NOT laugh at the title of this book? It just entices you to the humorous account of two bachelor girls as they get into the detective world. This story had me laughing aloud--and that doesn't usually happen when I read. Yes, there was romance in this book but it was hysterically funny. Going into detail would give spoilers.
I'm not usually a murder mystery reader, but besides the first chapter in which they trailed alongside Jasper Forth--without permission--and saw the first girl's demise, I pretty much forgot that was the "theme" of the book. It did not at all take on a dark setting.
The girls call one of the men a name which is probably not fit to be repeated (in my vocabulary) but other than that, I suppose one would call it clean. If someone cursed, it was mentioned, "He cursed under his breath" and the author did not fill the reader in with which words he said--which I appreciated it.
Two things knock a star off for me:
It is yet another book that seems to have only "partial Christianity" in it. The one mystery that Merinda doesn't care to solve is that of religion. Jem acknowledges God, goes to the church in the end. It mentions Ray meeting weekly with a pastor, but a real relationship with Christ isn't threaded throughout the story.
Secondly, Jem and Merinda really are independent, feministic women. It is tastefully covered in wit, but Jem's parents disowning her for the way she has chosen to live and Merinda's whole outlook in life just doesn't match what I perceive as Biblical womanhood.
A favorite quote:
"Can't you just see the headlines? 'Herringford and Watts stomp out the Morality Squad.'"
Jem threw up her hands. "'Herringford and Watts get thrown in jail!'"
"'Herringford and Watts become Toronto's premiere investigators!'"
"Herrington and Watts better get fed soon or Watts won't be long for their new enterprise."
*I received this book from LitFuse Publicity in exchange for my honest review*
About the Author
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.
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