The Bachelor Girl's Guide To Murder
Author: Rachel McMillan
Publication: 1 March 2016 - Harvest House
First Line: 'A murder scene is no place for a proper young lady.'
Favorite Line: Jem realized early in her acquaintance with Merinda Herringford that attempting to solve a crime as an amateur and a woman meant leaving any semblance of pride or dignity behind. (p 21)
Ramble: When I posted the teasers for The Bachelor Girl's Guide To Murder I had only just gotten the book loaded from NetGalley into my various readers. I had no real idea what I was getting myself into. No idea that I would start saying "Rats!" and "Cracker jacks!" on a regular basis. No idea that I would become obsessed with getting my hands on a copy of M.C. Wheaton's Guide to the Criminal and Commonplace only to have my hopes shattered with the knowledge that it never existed. (Thanks, Rachel.)
It's 1910 and Merinda Herringford and Jemima (Jem) Watts -- both young ladies of "proper" upbringing -- are living in Toronto with their housekeeper/chaperone, Mrs. Malone. Jem works in the mailroom of Spenser's department store and Merinda spends her time aspiring to be Sherlock Holmes -- with Jem as her Watson. Toronto's mayoral elections are approaching. Immigration is on the rise. The 'Morality Squad' is out making sure that women are "behaving" properly. Times are changing -- too quickly for some and not quickly enough for others.
The story opens at a crime scene that Merinda and Jem are visiting with their friend, Constable Jasper Forth. A young Irish immigrant woman has been found murdered in a new theater linked to the current mayor. Shortly after, another murdered Irish woman is been discovered at an event for the mayor.
Merinda and Jem set out to solve the case of the "Corktown Murders." Jasper Forth is along for the ride as is Ray DeLuca -- an Italian immigrant working as a reporter for the Hogstown Herald newspaper. Through it all Jem's turned upsidedown as she begins to question the world around her and her place in it. Should she be looking for a man to settle down with and stop disguising herself as one during investigations? She's very traditional and conservative in some aspects of her life and very revolutionary in others. It's not easy!
Also not easy? Having the book finish as quickly as it did. I joked with the author on Twitter about making my son fend for himself come mealtime so I could keep reading ... which is exactly what ended up happening. Luckily he's pretty good in the kitchen and enjoys making his own meals from time to time. Cracker jacks, I've got a good kid.