Author: Allison Montclair
Genre: Historical Mystery
Release: Minotaur Books | June 4, 2019
First comes love, then comes murder.
In a London slowly recovering from World War II, two very different women join forces to launch a business venture in the heart of Mayfair–The Right Sort Marriage Bureau. Miss Iris Sparks, quick-witted and impulsive, and Mrs. Gwendolyn Bainbridge, practical and widowed with a young son, are determined to achieve some independence and do some good in a rapidly changing world.
But the promising start to their marriage bureau is threatened when their newest client, Tillie La Salle, is found murdered and the man arrested for the crime is the prospective husband they matched her with. While the police are convinced they have their man, Miss Sparks and Mrs. Bainbridge are not. To clear his name–and to rescue their fledging operation’s reputation–Sparks and Bainbridge decide to investigate on their own, using the skills and contacts they’ve each acquired through life and their individual adventures during the recent war.
Little do they know that this will put their very lives at risk.
A lovely and optimistic start to a new series that I’m quite glad to have come across. I don’t know what drew me in, but I thought the cover was cozy and sweet, and with the setting of post war London, I was completely smitten.
While the mystery lies with the murder that involves two clients of the Right Sort Marriage Bureau which our two protagonists own, what I really loved to read about was the London after World War II. The world building was so realistic that I felt like I was watching this as a movie. I could easily picture a city that was trying to regain its composure after the devastation that was the war. People trying to get back their lives, trying to move on after losing loved ones, and generally life trying to continue after so much death. I’m no particular history buff but I enjoyed reading about the historical aspect of this particular story.
What I also loved was the two women who seemed to be opposites of each other. Iris, the mysterious supposed spy that had seen the war firsthand, and Gwen, the kind hearted widow who was left with a child. They both had their strengths, and were intelligent and resourceful in their own ways. I liked the idea that after so much destruction, they came up with a business of ‘rebuilding life’ with a marriage bureau. It was fun and light in the face of everything else.
If you like cozy mysteries that have heart, I think you’d enjoy this one. I highly recommend it. My knowledge is limited considering the historical accuracy of all, but I thoroughly enjoyed my time with these ladies, in a city that I adore and miss wholeheartedly.
I’m adding four spoonfuls of this story into my hodgepodge.