Are you looking for a historical mystery series to lose yourself in? A series that already has a few books out with strong, smart and sassy female characters, top-notch banter and a mystery that is twisty enough to keep you guessing? If so, let me introduce you to the Sparks and Bainbridge series by Allison Montclair.
The Right Sort of Man is the first book in this historical mystery series set in post-WWII London and it blew me away. The story focuses on Iris Sparks and Gwen Bainbridge, two women with differing personalities, social statuses, and life experiences who decide to go into a business together and create The Right Sort of Marriage Bureau where they play matchmaker to eligible men and women. When one of their clients is murdered and another charged with the crime, they find their different skill sets make them a formidable sleuthing team as they dig into London’s dark underbelly for the real culprit.
With its marvelous characters, vivid descriptions of post-WWII London, and its ending that surprised even this avid reader, this smart mystery is a cut above the rest! I enjoyed how Montclair weaves the social limitations put upon women of that era into her characters’ lives and the story benefits from a burst of tension from the secrets these two women are keeping from the reader and each other. This book balances a solid mystery and great setting, but it is the burgeoning friendship between Iris and Gwen and their penchant for clever one-liners that already have me reaching for the second book in the series.
Don’t miss this ready-made mystery series! There are currently three books already published in this series and you’ll find all three at WPL. The fourth book, The Unkept Woman, is expected to publish this summer and has already been ordered for our library shelves so you can put your hold on it now!