Monday, July 9, 2018

Rachel McMillan: Murder at the Flamingo

By Kelly Bridgewater
“Maybe it was time to land straight in the middle of the adventure…”

Hamish DeLuca has spent most of his life trying to hide the anxiety that appears at the most inopportune times -- including during his first real court case as a new lawyer. Determined to rise above his father’s expectations, Hamish runs away to Boston where his cousin, Luca Valari, is opening a fashionable nightclub in Scollay Square.  When he meets his cousin's “right hand man” Reggie, Hamish wonders if his dreams for a more normal life might be at hand. 

Regina “Reggie” Van Buren, heir to a New Haven fortune, has fled fine china, small talk, and the man her parents expect her to marry. Determined to make a life as the self-sufficient city girl she’s seen in her favorite Jean Arthur and Katharine Hepburn pictures, Reggie runs away to Boston, where she finds an easy secretarial job with the suave Luca Valari. But as she and Hamish work together in 

Luca’s glittering world, they discover a darker side to the smashing Flamingo night club.
When a corpse is discovered at the Flamingo, Reggie and Hamish quickly learn there is a vast chasm between the haves and the have-nots in 1937 Boston—and that there’s an underworld that feeds on them both. As Hamish is forced to choose between his conscience and loyalty to his beloved cousin, the unlikely sleuthing duo work to expose a murder before the darkness destroys everything they’ve worked to build. 

From Amazon

My Thoughts:

Rachel McMillan and I adore Sherlock Holmes. That was our connection, so of course, when I heard she was writing a series on women like Sherlock Holmes characters I jumped at the chance to read them. Boy, am I glad that I did. It was a great introduction to the 1910's Toronto. So now, I am familiar with McMillan's writing, so I knew what I would be expecting. A mystery to drag the plot along with characters who come to life as much for me as they have done for McMillan. With the introduction to her new series Murder at the Flamingo, I dived right into the world of 1930's Boston with Hamish and Reggie.

One of my favorite aspects of the novel was McMillan's ability to bring Boston to life. As soon as Hamish jumped off the transportation into Boston, McMillan allowed me to see Boston through Hamish's eyes. It reminded me of J. K. Rowling's introduction to the world of magic through Harry Potter's eyes. A trait of an awesome writer. McMillan allowed me to see the towering buildings and smell the world of Boston.

As for Hamish and Reggie, I really liked Hamish. McMillan stayed true to his flaws and allowed him to see the better in others, including his cousin, Lucas. Hamish definitely had the seek for justice gene from his parents, who are part of the main couple in the Herringford and Watts Mysteries series. Similarly, Reggie is a character who left her cushy wealthy life and decided to seek her own independence. I enjoyed how she didn't go crawling back to her parents after a couple of days and kept a journal of things she accomplished on her own.

The plot. The number one reason I enjoy a story. With McMillan's previous three novels and three novellas, she had the mystery element occurred right away, which most mysteries and suspense do, BUT McMillan does not do that in Murder at the Flamingo. The story was half over before we found the dead body. I don't know why it took so long to get to the mystery element. I believe McMillan could have had the murder occur right after Hamish arrived in Boston, and I could have observed Hamish and Reggie as they tried to help Lucas open the Flamingo night club. Even though the mystery took awhile to rev up, I did enjoy the story and really enjoyed watching Hamish and Reggie solve who killed the person.

Overall, a Murder at the Flamingo is a fascinating view of Boston's nightlife in the 1930's. It matches what I know about the history of the time period. Hamish and Reggie are a wonderful pair of people to work together to solve the mystery. I still wish the dead body appeared much earlier in the novel.

With family loyalty, betrayal, and trying to climb the ladder of success, A Murder at the Flamingo by Rachel McMillan is a wonderful deeply layered historical novel that will entrance fans of McMillan's previous writings or fans of historical mysteries. I can't wait to read the second installment in this series.

I received a complimentary copy of Murder at the Flamingo by Rachel McMillan from Thomas Nelson Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own. 

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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