Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)
It isn’t the most usual or socially acceptable situation, for two single young women in 1910 Toronto to be exercising their investigative powers on behalf of the city’s downtrodden. But Merinda Herringford and Jem Watts haven’t much time to worry about feminine propriety when two other young women are found dead in The Bachelor Girl’s Guide to Murder, a novel by author Rachel McMillan.
This is the second of the Herringford and Watts mysteries I’ve read. I’ll confess I likely won’t form a habit of reading an abundance of murder mysteries, at least not ones that seem to, well, make light or sport of the subject of murder. But I went on to read this novel because in the novella I read before it, A Singular and Whimsical Problem, I noticed the author’s way of making room for comedy in a story without trivializing a serious issue.
And here, in the official Book One of the series, it was a particular pulse running through the entertaining story that tugged at me the most. The pulse of social concerns, prejudice and poverty, and the need for societal reform, as relevant today as in this novel’s early twentieth century setting.
But Merinda, Jem, and their male constable and reporter sidekicks didn’t go bashing me over the head with reformation sermons or anything, as again, this is quite an entertaining work of fiction. It’s got humor, intrigue, romance, a dash of faith, and an upbeat pace.
Sure, the pace seemed to border on being rushed at times, and I had to stop and think now and then, “Wait—how exactly did she end up here, and what is she doing, again?” But, hey, there’s nothing wrong with a story that requires the reader to keep up and pay attention. And while the mystery didn’t throw me for the most surprising loops, it was still fun to go along with the winning cast of characters on the journey.
I’ll definitely be continuing this series.
Here’s my review of the next Herringford and Watts mystery, Of Dubious and Questionable Memory.