Series: Ladies' Amateur Sleuth Society #1
Genres: Historical Romance
Published by Avon on 28 February 2006
Lady Amelia Watersfield is so fascinated by the idea of solving mysteries she sets up an amateur detecting club. She and her friends have an opportunity to hone their skills when an Egyptian bust belonging to her father is stolen. Inspector Colin Brindley who bears a strong resemblance to Amelia’s fantasy vision of Sherlock Holmes finds Amelia and her friends intervening repeatedly in his investigation.
Amelia and Colin both irked me. For someone so enamoured of proper investigation Amelia approached her investigation in a very haphazard manner with huge leaps of faith required, ironically the exact opposite of her hero Holmes. Colin was far more pedantic and often lectured me about things such as fingerprints which stifled the romance.
The biggest problem with this novel is that it doesn’t sit neatly in a genre. It isn’t really a mystery novel with a romance as Amelia is fairly dense and the clues are not integrated well. By the same token, it is hard to judge it as a romance novel with a mystery component as the relationship between Amelia and Colin was so tepid. The characters were uniformly stereotypical, the dialogue was often trite and the way the historical aspect was addressed had me grating my teeth. The world was fairly thin because DeHart stopped so often to explain things, clearly catering for those unfamiliar with the era.
I think I had a negative reaction to this novel because I have read hundreds upon hundreds of mysteries by writers who do a bang up job at lacing their books with clues and red herrings. If you take this as a historical romance then you can give DeHart more leeway but you would expect the romance side to be beefed up a little. I wish there had been more depth in both the characters and the dialogue. This books wasn’t for me but you are thinking of giving it a shot, I suggest you borrow it from the library rather than coughing up cash for it.