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Saturday, November 25, 2017

Review - Murder Between the Lines

I was excited to read this historical from the endorsement from author of the Maggie Hope series: "Radha Vatsal succeeds once again in fleshing out a strong-willed, ambitious, and thoroughly delightful young heroine, who struggles against the society's restrictions on so-called career women, while solving crime-and writing news stories-with aplomb." - Susan Elia MacNeal.  Read on to find my review of this new-to-me series.

Author: Radha Vatsal

Copyright: May 2017 (Sourcebooks Landmark) 320 pgs

Series: 2nd in Kitty Weeks Mystery series

Sensuality: Mild

Mystery Sub-genre: Historical Cozy

Main Characters: Kitty Weeks, Women's page reporter for the Sentinel

Setting: 1915 New York City, NY

Obtained Through: Publisher for honest review-Edelweiss

From the book cover: "When Kitty's latest assignment for the New York Sentinel Ladies' Page takes her to Westfield Hall, she expects to find an orderly establishment teaching French and dancing-but there's more going on at the school than initially meets the eye.

Tragedy strikes when a student named Elspeth is found frozen to death in Central Park. The doctor's proclaim that the girl's sleepwalking was the cause, but Kitty isn't so sure.

Determined to uncover the truth, Kitty must investigate a more chilling scenario-a murder that may involve Elspeth's scientist father and a new invention by a man named Thomas Edison."

Capability "Kitty" Weeks lives in a penthouse, has servants, and a chaffeur but works half days at the paper. She is smart and very capable.  Her father, Julian Weeks, was a single parent raising her after her mother died shortly after giving birth.  He has always been a distant father.  Helena Busby, Kitty's editor, is typical of a mature woman who struggles with remaining traditional yet provide relevant material for the Women's pages.  Jeannie Williams, Kitty's coworker, lives in a boarding house and they share duties.  Sylvia Lane is Julian's first romantic interest since her mother died, which causes tension. Mr. Mills is a fellow reporter, but works with the men on a separate floor and could be interested in Kitty.  Time will tell.

The time period is rich with the political tensions with WWI Germany and Women's Suffrage movement. Submarians are dependant on batteries and Edison's battery may leak a gas that is explosive in closed quarters of a submarine.  This battery could be what Elzpeth was studying.  All of these bring the lesser written about war into focus as Kitty investigates.  Of course, the proper role of the era for Kitty is every present also.  The girl's school is delightfully atmospheric.

The plot is a solid mystery of accident versus murder and there are plenty of red herrings.  Subplots are Kitty's other writting assignments of President Wilson visiting a Womens Suffrage group (giving Kitty plenty to think on) and covering the shocking Times Square New Year's revelry.  Another subplot is Kitty's father becoming serious in a romance, the first since her mother died after giving birth.  The pacing is generally like the Jacqueling Winspear novels,

I will be honest, I have mixed feelings about the killer confrontation.  It is a confrontation, but satisfaction isn't of the expected or usual kind.  It is a bit realistic in that respect and the resolution isn't cut and dry either.  There was a bit of "save-the-day" which gave the aredrenaline kick.  The wrap up ensures more Kitty adventures in the future.

I liked Kitty, her money allows her freedom of movement, and she is gutsy.  I would like Julius, the father, be developed further.  He could be a great character.  I enjoyed Kitty being challenged by her coverage of the Suffrage group, which seemed realistic for the era. Overall I think this is a solid historical mystery and I will read the next one.

Rating:   Good - A fun read, I really enjoyed it.  Give it a try, particularly if you enjoy Jacqueline Winspear.

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Mystica said...

Interesting read with a slightly old fashioned slant in keeping with the times. I enjoyed this one.

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