Description: Hamish DeLuca has spent most of his life trying to hide the anxiety that appears at the most inopportune times -- including during his first real court case as a new lawyer. Determined to rise above his father’s expectations, Hamish runs away to Boston where his cousin, Luca Valari, is opening a fashionable nightclub in Scollay Square. When he meets his cousin's “right hand man” Reggie, Hamish wonders if his dreams for a more normal life might be at hand.
Regina “Reggie” Van Buren, heir to a New Haven fortune, has fled fine china, small talk, and the man her parents expect her to marry. Determined to make a life as the self-sufficient city girl she’s seen in her favorite Jean Arthur and Katharine Hepburn pictures, Reggie runs away to Boston, where she finds an easy secretarial job with the suave Luca Valari. But as she and Hamish work together in Luca’s glittering world, they discover a darker side to the smashing Flamingo night club.
When a corpse is discovered at the Flamingo, Reggie and Hamish quickly learn there is a vast chasm between the haves and the have-nots in 1937 Boston—and that there’s an underworld that feeds on them both. As Hamish is forced to choose between his conscience and loyalty to his beloved cousin, the unlikely sleuthing duo work to expose a murder before the darkness destroys everything they’ve worked to build.
My Thoughts: For a murder mystery, a very large portion of this book has little to do with either murder or mystery. The first few hundred pages only introduce the reader to the the main characters' backgrounds and outlooks on life. And if the story had been a romance, I would have been fine with that. I enjoyed reading about Hamish, a man who is a strong, likeable hero without having to be an alpha male.
However, as a mystery, I found it lacking. The murder itself does not happen until well after the first hundred pages. And although the characters have already begun there attempt to unravel the story's mystery long before that, the original mystery they started out with was one that I was already fairly sure of the answer to.
Unlike Rachel's previous series (about Hamish's parents), this did not include the fun of Sherlock Holmes references. Instead, that was replaced with the glitz and glam of the 1930s, a time period which is remembered for its fast-pace, a feature that translated into this novel's setting but not as much in its plot.
Personally, I felt that there were a number of characters and scenes that could have been done without or at least condensed. As it was, the story lacked a sense of urgency to the mystery despite the personal stakes for the main characters. Hopefully the next in the series will be more like the author's previous work.
I have provided an honest review after having received a copy of the book through the Fiction Guild.
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