Title: The Mystery of Her by Patricia Catacalos
Genre: Currently #2164 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle Store, Kindle eBooks, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Mystery, Historical
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services, LLC
Publication Date: May 2016
Source: Submitted by author for review
Title and Cover: The Mystery of Her – Cover hints at era
Lady Kiera Everett is pretty darned sure her father was murdered and how it could have been viewed as anything else, even in London in 1888, is beyond me given the nature of the manner in the first of the Zane Brothers Detective Series, “The Mystery of Her” by Patricia Catacalos. I’m a fan of historical fiction, particularly mysteries, and this was not my first rodeo, so perhaps my expectations were a bit high.
The author paints London in all it’s disease-ridden, dark and dank environment, where it would seem the street urchins outnumber the rats. It is a nasty time in history and not unexpected then that coinciding with the Lady’s quandary; the city is being terrorized by not one, but two serial killers in the slums of Whitechapel. She seeks the help of the Zane Brothers Detective Agency as the police have written off the death of her father as age and illness. Lady Everett has ascertained that hers is not the first loved one to die at the hands of the attending nurse and it doesn’t take too long before the bros realize she must be right.
In the meantime, she has been introduced to protagonist Zachary Zane, the oldest of three brothers with whom she has contracted the case under the proviso she is allowed to participate. WELL! Absolutely unheard of! She being a budding spinster and he any spinster’s dream catch are a given in the romance department.
I have to say that Ms. Catacalos certainly weaved a grim picture of London; you could smell the urine; see the rats and the garbage. I wanted to RUN, not walk, and wash my hands after her descriptions. The two younger brothers, Noah and Evan, go about the detecting business while Zachary schemes to make the Lady his wife. (Hmm, I think there’s an old joke there somewhere.) He is harboring a deep, dark secret but it soon becomes apparent that the Lady will be able to dispel the darker side and restore the lighter. Both he and his lady are fleshed out very well, the brothers not so much though they can be amusing. The antagonist never really becomes a viable character.
The dialogue can be a bit stilted at times, but it should be noted that the author has written with what might be late 1888 English sensibilities, vocabulary, and materials, as well as given the street urchins an Irish-cockney brogue. However, without giving away too much detail, the method of the murders of the rich but sickly men was really pushing the disbelief button (and I do not believe injections were commonly used at this time eliminating that as a possible method). If you can swallow that (and I’d seriously doubt it), then you might have a problem with the level of edit errors, the latter of which can easily be remedied. Also easily remedied is the over-abundance of the descriptively used words “angled” and “mimed.” (Mercy!)
Still, the book launches a promising series, a quick read, some gorge-producing scenes of late 19th Century London and a whirlwind Victorian romance (if you’re into that sort of thing). This book was provided by the author in exchange for a review. You might enjoy this as a cozy mystery summer read.
Rosepoint Publishing: Three and one-half of Five Stars
The Author: Patricia Catacalos has written a number of books crossing genres from paranormal to mystery, romance, and several novellas. She graduated from Seton Hill University and holds an MA in Theatre from the University of Denver. While she was still single, she acted in and directed productions in the Philadelphia area. Later, finding sales stifled her creative spirit, she began writing historical romances. She is married to a man of Greek heritage and they live in New Jersey when they are not traveling to both Greece and England. ©2017 Virginia Williams