My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I think that Anne Cleeland has discovered a new genre: mystery/romance.
I had a hard time, once I was past the first couple of chapters, putting this one down.
What happens when English aristocracy meets up with Irish indendence?
Chief Inspector Acton and Constable Doyle are trying to discover who the culprit is behind a rash of murders, each in turn seeming to follow a sequence but with no evidence linking them. Can they do it?
Some reviewers seem to have trouble with Michael Acton’s past/foibles. I found it refreshing that he is so upfront and honest about them with Doyle (and Doyle, although in turn quite honest about her own shortcomings, is no naively-innocent-run-of-the-mill bystander!)
I also enjoyed the trail of possibilities that led to the discovery of the perpetrator of the crime. Although I had *guessed* that it might be that person, the solution was one of several possibilities –the best kind of mystery!
However I must say, I was caught by surprise with the twist in the plot near the end of the book. I am SO glad I didn’t skip chapters or ruin the surprise! (well done!)
The characters also were enjoyable and reading about the competition/rivalry (and Munoz’ constant thorn-in-the-side remarks), rang a true note, in today’s working world. And, as the danger heightens, I simply had to keep reading, to find out who, in the end, would win.
“Pointless to speculate; she needed to go to ground and find a place to spend the night, if necessary…. and although she was hungry and had little money, she was tired of stealing things; therefore, the best option was to drown her troubles in some blessed, blessed coffee.
Spotting a franchise coffeehouse, she entered the door and breathed in the aroma, feeling like a castaway washing up on shore. Counting out her cash, she ordered a latte and found a stool toward the back, away from the windows.”
One criticism I do have is, there are a lot of references to physical relationship(s) between the characters. Although the working world is, in many venues, ‘like that’, I did feel it was too many (ie, overkill). However, a big point in the author’s favor, is that Cleeland does not give the reader unnecessary, graphic love scenes (that belong more in what I would call ‘pulp fiction’), but instead lets the reader fill in the blanks for themselves (THANK YOU! so refreshing!)
I enjoyed Kathleen Doyle’s character because, as a detective constable, she was not brassy, know-it-all, or offensive, but instead, like we all (or most of us!) do, she had her own set of inhibitions and inadequacies.
I especially enjoyed the ‘backstory’ at the end of the book (once again, glad I read it in order!) and the small snippets of what Michael Acton was thinking/feeling, as the story progressed.
“Acton’s mobile vibrated as soon as they were seated at the restaurant. He glanced at the ID but did not pick up, and Doyle was recalled to the fact that he was in the midst of a brand-new double homicide on an already difficult case. “Please do not humor me – if you need to go if you need to go, I completely understand.” She added, “Leave your credit card.”
He didn’t smile in response.”
If you enjoy a type of story written like, “Dorothy Sayers- meets- Mary Stewart- with -a -twist- of- P.D. James”, you will enjoy Anne Cleeland’s “Murder in Thrall”.
(I received my copy of “Murder in Thrall” from the first reads program through Goodreads, in return for my unbiased review. Thank you Goodreads! I look forward to reading more from Anne Cleeland.)