What do you get when you cross Harry Potter with Sherlock Holmes? You get Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder by T.A. Willberg. And with a name like T.A. Willberg, I would expect no less.
Walking through the new books section of the library I noticed an interesting cover with an interesting title. Picking it up, I opened the novel and started to read… Within the first few sentences I was snatched from the library aisle and into the heart of London, England. I could sense, see and smell the alley I was in. Who was this woman in red? What was she doing here? I had to find out! So, it would seem I had no choice but to borrow the book and keep reading.
The year is 1958 and Marion Lane is a first-year recruit at the very secret and literally underground “Miss Brickett’s Investigations & Inquiries”, a private detective agency that solves unsolvable crimes (or rather crimes Scotland Yard doesn’t deal with or won’t deal with). With their expertise, gadgets and cleverness they are the sluethiest sleuths to ever sleuth. And that’s saying a lot!
The story is interesting straight away with the appearance of the intriguing woman in red. And quickly after that we are witness to the murder of Michelle White, a filing assistant at Miss Brickett’s. The details surrounding her murder all point to an inside job, so to speak. When Marion’s colleague and family friend (the man who recruited her into the academy) becomes the main suspect, Marion has no choice but to find out who the real killer is.
This is a classic murder mystery, with all the twists and turns of plot you’d expect plus strange characters who all seem suspicious and suspect. However, the best part is the atmosphere. The secretive and elusive academy is situated underground through winding tunnels and hidden doorways. There’s a touch of magic to the place. Their gadgets are futuristic, mechanical and somehow magical.
Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder is a fun and whimsical read. The only thing that would have made this book better would have been if the writer spent more time on the academy – the atmosphere of the academy. I found myself transported to the place, and it would have been nice to spend a bit more time and imagination on the surroundings. Hopefully there will be more Marion Lane books to come and we can discover more of this whimsical world and follow Marion where she takes us!
— Shaye R.
Note: we’re excited to share that the sequel, Marion Lane and the Deadly Rose, will be available in February 2022