Narfna has stolen my first line for this review, which is: I love everything about this. Seeing as how I’m 90% certain I put this on hold because of her recommendation, I suppose it’s only fair.
So, yes. This was everything. I had this outstanding on my Kindle for ages, constantly pushing it off because I didn’t think I was in the mood for whatever it was. I think I had this vibe of like, cozy mystery x aristocrats, and considering that cozy mystery is a genre that has never quite grabbed me it’s no wonder that it took me ages to pick up the first one here.
BOY WAS I WRONG.
This is not a cozy mystery–there are fights, and knives, and espionage, and post-war PTSD. This is not a generic ‘aristocrats’ book wherein we’re supposed to just paper over the fact that most (all) aristocratic classes over the years (until today) are propped up by an unjust economic system that prioritizes the few over the many because it’s fun to read about Lord Thistledown and Lady Thisorthat and their corsets and silks and heaving bosom.
This is…a post-war book, yes, but one which handles the topic deftly and with the perfect amount of scene setting without dragging down the plot into a more serious Meditation on the generation that came back from the Great War. The mystery that he’s thrust into sort of makes sense, and there is a minimum of characters doing dumb things for the sake of creating more plot tension.
The repartee is EXCELLENT. The humor is on point. Will and Kim have a realistic relationship. When Will realizes that Kim has lied to him (for good reason!) he reacts unhappily, and even though I just want them to
kiss and make up I appreciated the realism of the relationship hurt.
Phoebe is just the absolute best character. Having read the rest of the books, I can assure you that she continues to feature in a large way, and that’s great.
I liked this book so much I basically threw the rest of my TBR into disarray in my haste to read the rest of the series.