The Bachelor Girl's Guide to Murder - Rachel McMillan
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.
When I began reading this book I hadn't looked at the synopsis - so imagine my surprise when on page two I read "a lady of your no inconsiderable age (honestly, Jemima, four-and-twenty is hardly the age to be gallivanting about Toronto unwed)". A wake up to the fact that the book is set in 1910 not he 21st century - and how times have changed!
It is the social history side of the book I really enjoyed. Reading about how "ladies" were meant to conduct themselves and if they didn't there was the "morality squad" ready to round them up.
Merinda and Jem are the literary equivalent of Sherlock and Watson but with the restrictions of being two females in the early 20th century. Something the book Merinda is fond of referencing ( "Guide to the Criminal and Commonplace") has no guidance on. For them their sleuthing at times has to be done whilst wearing men's clothing with some amusing consequences.
The characters felt like they were playing at being sleuths to me at first, however, as the book progresses and the sleuths begin to uncover the plot there are some dire consequences for the ladies. Woven in is also a little romance which was well written and again an insight to the social etiquette of the time.
The very ending of the book paints a very sweet picture which I loved. It was the perfect ending to the book and for sequels.......
I'm giving this book 4 out of 5 stars.
My thanks go to Netgalley and Harvest House Publishers for a copy of this book to review.