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.
My first introduction to the mystery genre was Nancy Drew by Carolyn Keene. I used to ride my bike both ways to the library at least twice a week to check out books and return books. I enjoy mysteries that are reminiscent of the earlier, simple days in our society back in the early twentieth century to the middle of the century when blood and gore wasn't required to sell a novel. With Rachel McMillan's first full length novel The Bachelor Girl's Guide to Murder, I was taken back to my childhood with the interesting and unique novel.
It is hard talking about McMillan's story without first discussing her heroine's. Just like the famous detective Sherlock Holmes, McMillan has two women characters that are popular opposite, yet can't imagine living without the other one in their life. Merinda is a determined woman who wants to solve these murders. Dressing up like a man and dragging poor Jem along for the adventure is nothing new to her. She really doesn't waste her time doing womanly things like cleaning her house. McMillan even created a housekeeper like Sherlock Holmes and Watson had. She brought up tea and kept the ladies' clothes clean. On the other hand, Jem, a woman who grew up with money, but doesn't have it anymore, has to learn to clean and work for a living. Jem brings the romance to the table.
Speaking of romance, McMillan writes the romance between Jem and Ray DeLuca, the reporter. It isn't gushy and swoon worthy. It felt just right for me for the subject matter. I enjoyed watching Ray save her over and over again. It was sweet that he was always at the right place when Jem needed him.
The plot with the murders kept me spellbound. I truly enjoyed how the writing reminded me of Doyle's masterpiece, Sherlock Holmes. Nothing gory. Good deduction skills with simple to easy follow writing. Nothing too flowery from McMillan. I really lost myself for a couple of hours in Toronto, Canada, wanting to find out what happens with the mystery.
With classic mystery form, Rachel McMillan's debut novel, The Bachelor Girl's Guide to Murder, grabbed my attention with quirky characters who made me smile and a mystery that kept me glued to my chair. Fans of Nancy Drew, Encyclopedia Brown, and of course, Sherlock Holmes should check out this book.
P.S. Even the cover design reminds of my leatherbound edition of The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Barnes and Nobles.
I received a complimentary copy of The Bachelor Girl's Guide to Murder by Harvest House Publishing and the opinions stated are all my own.
My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
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