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Sunday, May 8, 2016

Review - The Conspiring Woman

I reviewed the debut novel in this new series, The Vanishing Thief (click here),  the second book The Counterfeit Lady (click here), thrid book The Royal Assassin (click here), and was so fortunate to get an author interview (click here) as well.  In this book Georgia faces a killer determined to stop her.

Author: Kate Parker

Copyright: Nov 2015 (JDP Press) 302 pgs

Series: 5th in Victorian Bookshop Mystery series

Sensuality: Mild

Mystery Sub-genre: Historical Amateur Sleuth, Private Investigator

Main Character: Georgia Fenchurch, bookshop owner and member of Archivist Society

Setting: Victorian era - after 1851, London

Obtained Through: Personal purchase

"When Georgia Fenchurch of the Archivist Society is called in to find Sir Edward Hale's missing son, she's soon embroiled in multiple mysteries. After discovering young Teddy's been taken by his mother, her worry lessens. But further investigation reveals other well-to-do women have disappeared. Have they been kidnapped? Killed? Or is there something even more sinister going on? To muddle the mix further, the Duke of Blackford has asked to speak to Georgia when he returns to England. It's almost enough to distract any woman.
Once Lady Hale is found dead, Georgia knows the Archivist Society must focus their efforts on finding the truth behind her disappearance and rescuing her son. But then a villain from Georgia's own past resurfaces..."
Georgia is a favorite character, in a time period where your social class determines your fate in life, she is unapologetic of her working class status - even if it means she can't be with the Duke.  She must face the ultimate dilemma of doing what the law says is right when she believes it may not be the ethically right thing to do.  If possible, Georgia takes more risks than ever before in this investigation.  She is also feeling very alone as Emma is honeymooning, Lady Phylidia has moved out, and Duke Blackford is traveling in the United States checking business concerns.  Duke of Blackford arrives in the story later and Georgia's life may never be the same.  Lady Imogene is a scandalous women who is intricately involved in the disappearance of the women.  Count Farkas, the man who murdered Georgia's parents, makes an appearance in search of his treasure again. 

The fog of London was used several times to great effect. The time period is a critical part of the setting and plot, as much revolves around how difficult it was for women of that time to escape an abusive husband with any money, let alone their children.  The dangers for women in precarious situations was vivid.  The plot begins simply enough but quickly develops layers and complications masterfully managed.  The pacing was steady and I hated putting it down. 

The killer confrontation is a good nail biting scene--kudos.  The wrap-up is bitter-sweet and promises that no matter the changes in Georgia's life she will continue her investigations.

This fifth outing for Georgia shows the author comfortable with the characters and mastering the rich layering of the plot to accentuate the characters and the suspense while raising personal stakes ever higher.  Bravo.

Rating:  Near Perfect - Couldn't Put it down. Buy two copies, one for you and one for a friend. 

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