by Catherine Lloyd
Series: Kurland St. Mary Mystery #1
Publication Date: November 26, 2013
Genre: Fiction, Historical, Mystery
A fast, entertaining read I picked up and finished in one day.
A wounded soldier and a rector’s daughter discover strange goings-on in the sleepy village of Kurland S. Mary in Regency England.
The author has a degree in history so I’m taking on faith that this is a historically accurate cozy mystery tale. Either way I found it to be well-written with both likeable and detestable characters. I’m pretty sure I liked all the characters I was meant to like; Lucy, the MC, and her sister Anna are modelled after Lizzie and Jane in Pride & Prejudice and I suppose arguments could be made for Major Robert Kurland favouring Darcy.
The setting was sketchy; I didn’t get a clear sense of the village at all, although the rectory and Kurland Manor are both well described.
The plot was good; very good. I know many readers feel like a murder mystery should have a dead body appear almost immediately. If you’re the type who is looking for the body to drop, this book isn’t for you; you’re going to be waiting a long time for a corpse to appear. Instead, this is a very well crafted mystery focussed on the disappearance of two young girls and a rash of thefts taking place in the ‘big’ houses of the village. The author takes you where she wants you to go, then slowly starts introducing the clues that make it clear things aren’t as obvious as they seem. I picked up on part of the mystery early, but the bulk of it I didn’t get until Ms. Lloyed wanted me to.
Two things about this book stood out for me, neither of which detracted from my overall enjoyment of the book (much). The first thing is niggling, really rather trivial: the opening two sentences of the book should be reversed. The second, and I’m certain this is historically accurate, is the author doesn’t sugar-coat the complete disregard men have for women in this time; how women are truly nothing more than chattel. It was a rather infuriating theme throughout the story.
I’m under the impression that this is the first in a new series. If so, I’ll gladly read the second; I’d like to see more of Lucy and Robert and I’d like to see more of what the author is capable of in terms of plotting.