Original Title: The Bachelor Girl’s Guide to Murder
Year Published: 2016
Published by: Harvest House (an arc was kindly provided via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review)
Number of Pages: 289
First Sentence: “Jemma, Your father and I have decided that, after giving you several appointments to prove you are pursuing proper a proper course for a lady of your station and background, we can no longer financially support your endeavours.”
Goodreads Rating: 4/5
In 1910 Toronto, while other bachelor girls perfect their domestic skills and find husbands, two friends perfect their sleuthing skills and find a murderer.
Inspired by their fascination with all things Sherlock Holmes, best friends and flatmates Merinda and Jem launch a consulting detective business. The deaths of young Irish women lead Merinda and Jem deeper into the mire of the city’s underbelly, where the high hopes of those dreaming to make a new life in Canada are met with prejudice and squalor.
While searching for answers, donning disguises, and sneaking around where no proper ladies would ever go, they pair with Jasper Forth, a police constable, and Ray DeLuca, a reporter in whom Jem takes a more than professional interest. Merinda could well be Toronto’s premiere consulting detective, and Jem may just find a way to put her bachelor girlhood behind her forever–if they can stay alive long enough to do so.
I really enjoyed this book. It was a fun story obviously inspired by the stories of Sherlock Holmes (who is mentioned in this book as well) but instead of starring two gentlemen it stars to ladies.
I was happily surprised when I realized this book was set in Canada. I was expecting either London or somewhere in the US as that’s where books are usually set (or so it seems). Anytime a book is set somewhere else I get a little giddy. It was wonderful to read a historical book set in Toronto and having the author explore some of the issues that were plaguing even Canada in the early 1900’s. We have women being treated as very inferior, immigrants being very badly treated and severe differences between the classes (ok, this could have been set this year).
Merinda and Jemima were absolutely wonderful characters. Just like Holmes and Watson, they balance each other perfectly. One is the wild one with a brilliant mind and the other more grounded but still very clever. Just like the Sherlock books, this is written from Jemima (or Watson’s) p.o.v, with small sections being written from other characters point of view. There is some romance in this book as well, but it never overshadows the plot or implies that the girls need a man to be successful. Well done, McMillan, well done.
The plot was really well written and I for one could not correctly guess the murderer until the big reveal in the book.There were several twists and turns that were so interesting and kept the mysterious air of the plot.
Do I recommend it?
Yes, I really do.