Death Comes to London is the follow up to Death Comes to the Village, featuring the detective skills of amateur sleuths Major Robert Kurland and Miss Lucy Harrington. In this second installment Lucy has been able to make her way to London for the season that she’s always wanted. She hopes to find a husband and finally gain independence from her family. Unfortunately, murder trumps husband hunting. Such is life.
The Major also finds himself in London, albeit reluctantly, after being summoned by the Prince Regent to be given a baronetcy. Kurland is none to happy that it is Miss Harrington who is responsible for bringing him to the attention of the Prince, and he’s ready to give her a piece of his mind, until murder forces him to consider more important matters.
When the dowager Countess of Broughton drops dead at a ball, Kurland and Miss Harrington suspect murder, and the more questions they ask the more they are convinced that a family member is the culprit. But is it the unhappy and unstable younger son or someone else entirely?
The second installment in this series is another fun, quaint mystery. I had enjoyed the tone of the first book, Death Comes to the Village, and was quite happy to check out book two. The mystery was standard and I had fun guessing “whodunit”, but it was the fun interactions between Kurland and Lucy that stood out for me.
“Actually, I didn’t come to tell you about my meeting with the prince. I wanted your opinion on another matter.”
“You wanted my opinion?”
“Yes, Miss Harrington. You might be a little forthright at times, but there is no one I know with better sense.”
“I think that’s the nicest thing you’ve ever said to me.”
These two continually argue with each other, but when it counts, they’re a good team. Not only do they both have access to very different social realms, but they also respect each others opinion (for the most part) even when they disagree. This respect is most especially important to Lucy, who generally seems to be discounted and taken for granted. I do find it interesting that the Major seems to assume that everyone else values Lucy like he does, and I find myself hoping that he soon realizes that Lucy is and feels like he is under appreciated. Perhaps the Major could do something about this? Which leads me to the romance…
My biggest complaint about book one was the lack of romance. In book two, I was really hoping that there would be more of the development of the relationship between Robert and Lucy, and I have to admit that, yet again, I was disappointed. There are hints at a possible relationship between the two, and everyone around them seems to think they are headed in that direction, but neither Robert or Lucy seem that way inclined. I really would have liked to get more exploration of their perceptions of each other; I think this might make the romance element stronger. As it is, I feel that the mystery takes centre stage, and I don’t want it to be at the expense of the relationship developing between Robert and Lucy.
All-in-all I thought this was another nice addition to a series. Death Comes to London is not a graphic or violent mystery, so I think it will appeal to fans of cozy mysteries. The Regency setting also allows for some great crossover appeal to historical romance fans that enjoy a heavier dose of mystery. I’ll be back for book three, I just have to know if what adventure these two are going to get into next.
*Review copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley.
If you enjoyed the bickering between Kurland and Lucy, checking out Amanda Quick’s historical romances is a good choice. While there is a stronger romance element in Quick’s novels, many of her historicals feature a strong mystery element. Often her mysteries also feature an extremely practical heroine, which will also appeal to fans of Lucy. For a similar dynamic betwen the leads, try The Mystery Woman.
For another mystery series, I recommend Anna Lee Huber’s Lady Darby series; of which I cannot get enough of (I feel like I’m always recommending it). The romance dynamic here is great and the setting is very evocative of the period. Start with The Anatomist’s Wife.
And lastly, I also recommend Tracey Devlyn’s Night Storm. It’s also the start of a series, and while the mystery is the major element of the book, there is no skimping on the romance here. While it’s not as cozy as Death Comes to London, I still think readers will enjoy it. See my full thoughts on it here.