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Thursday, September 9, 2021

Review - A Rogue's Company

I have been a fan of this series since its debut.  I enjoy historical mysteries and this is one of my go to series.  Check out my reviews of the prior books and an author post:
#1 The Right Sort of Man (Review here)
#2 A Royal Affair (Review here)
Author Guest Post (Click here)

In Allison Montclair's A Rogue's Company, business becomes personal for the Right Sort Marriage Bureau when a new client, a brutal murder, two kidnappings, and the recently returned from Africa Lord Bainbridge threatens everything that one of the principals holds dear.  Find out how the third book in the series holds up.

Allison Montclair

Copyright: June 2021 (Minotaur Books) 342 pgs

Series: 3rd in Sparks & Bainbridge Mystery series

Sensuality: adult themes

Mystery Sub-genre: historical Suspense, amateur Sleuth

Main Characters: Miss Iris Sparks and Mrs. Gwendolyn Bainbridge of the Right Sort Marriage Bureau 

Setting: 1946 London 

Obtained Through: Netgalley

Blurb: "In London, 1946, the Right Sort Marriage Bureau is getting on its feet and expanding. Miss Iris Sparks and Mrs. Gwendolyn Bainbridge are making a go of it. That is until Lord Bainbridge—the widowed Gwen's father-in-law and legal guardian—returns from a business trip to Africa and threatens to undo everything important to her, even sending her six-year-old son away to a boarding school.

But there's more going on than that. A new client shows up at the agency, one whom Sparks and Bainbridge begin to suspect really has a secret agenda, somehow involving the Bainbridge family. A murder and a subsequent kidnapping sends Sparks to seek help from a dangerous quarter—and now their very survival is at stake."

Iris Sparks who worked for the secret service during the war is still figuring out her complicated love life. Gwen Bainbridge has been fighting to get custody of her son and autonomy over her life since her husband died. That aspect comes to a head when Lord Bainbridge returns home and goes out of his way to make Gwen's life hell on earth.  Lord Bainbridge is a self-centered privileged jerk who proves himself worse than ever.  Lady Carolyne Bainbridge is just as tormented by her husband's terrible temper and foul mood and becomes a semi-ally of Gwen's. Gwen's son Ronnie gets more page time in this outing and he is adorable. Sally, short for Salvatore, is a good friend of Iris from college and through the war. He is a hulk of a big guy and does surveillance and body guard jobs. Even his character is developed more and we understand why he continues to help out the Marriage Bureau.

First there is the murder behind the stuffy entitled gentleman's club where Lord Bainbridge has been spending most of his days and nights, then there is the new client of the Marriage Bureau seeming to keep a watch on Gwen's house, then there is a kidnapping and the danger comes too close to both Gwen and Iris.  I flew through the pages.  The mystery wasn't as defined from the start but as the story developed the mystery invades Gwen's life and Iris won't let Gwen face it alone.  the pages flew by in this character driven story.
I didn't see the major reveal coming, so that was excellent and it had some great twists as the climax unfolded. I was thoroughly entertained. The wrap-up was also well done providing some resolutions to a few of the personal issues for Iris and Gwen.

I loved this addition to the series. The personal lives of Iris and Gwendolyn intertwining in the mystery is very believably done. There is more emphasis on the characters than the mystery, but the last third of the book is thrilling and nail biting with plenty of action and danger.  The series has become known for its witty dialog and that is still the case.  As always I love the support Iris and Gwen give each other through their personal issues. It is so refreshing to see.

Rating:  Excellent - Loved it! Page turner, but best to start with book 1

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