This is book five of the historical mystery series starring Iris Sparks (with a possible dangerous past) and Mrs. Gwendolyn Bainbridge (an aristocratic war widow with a young son who is fighting for her rights in Lunacy Court!). Together they run the Right Sort Marriage Bureau in post WWII London, but they simultaneously seem to be in just the right place to solve murders, much to the chagrin (and eventual admiration) of the local police.
While this is book five in the series, it’s book one for me. I was able to keep up just fine but I do feel a lot must have happened in the previous books. I can’t tell how much progress was made in the personal situations for both women before this story — may be better to start at book one!
In this book, they get an unusual client. A woman dying of cancer comes in to line up a wife for her husband after her passing. Unfortunately, that passing happens more quickly than expected. Simultaneously, the very conservator who has been holding Mrs. Bainbridge hostage during her fight with the Lunacy Court has also turned up dead. The body count steadily increasing only seems to stimulate the interest of the two women.
The plot kept my interest, and I enjoyed learning about various procedures / processes in that (still rather unfriendly to women) time period. The writing was a little stilted for my taste, but overall I enjoyed it.
Thank you to Minotaur Books and NetGalley for providing an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. The book will be published on July 25th, 2023