Saturday, March 21, 2015
Petticoat Detective- Margaret Brownley
Description: Pinkerton detective Jennifer Layne is no stranger to undercover work. But posing as a lady companion named Amy at Miss Lillian’s Parlor House and Boots is a first for her. She’s finally landed a high-profile case and is on the trail of the notorious Gunnysack Bandit, when one of Miss Lillian’s girls essential to her investigation meets an untimely demise. Only a handful of people are in the house at the time of her death, including handsome Tom Colton, a former Texas Ranger determined to clear his brother’s name. Amy has many reasons to suspect Tom of murder—and one very personal reason to hope that she’s wrong about him.
My Thoughts: The Petticoat Detective is a romance that reads with the feel of a mystery. Unfortunately, because the author does not include a lot of information about the secondary characters which later turns out to be the very information which Amy uses to solve, there is little chance you will be able to follow along and make a guess like you might for a regular mystery novel. For example, a perfume scent is used to identify a female suspect, yet until it was important, there was no mention of any of the women wearing perfume.
It is the romance that holds up the best in this novel. Tom is a truly amazing guy who is not afraid to be seen with a soiled-dove, or to treat her as a human being. Even when he has been betrayed, he still gives people the benefit of the doubt and does what he can to trust their word. While Amy's role at Miss Lillian's is a barrier in their relationship, he doesn't give up on Amy all together.
There is a great message in this novel about treating people with love and respect, no matter what their sins. It is nice to see that message told from the perspective of someone who has become a social outcast (the summary does not seem to include that Amy is undercover as a prostitute) rather abruptly. I think that the only issue I had with Brownley's portrayal was the one woman who did not change her career at the end of the novel. While there was mention that she could still change her ways, it was almost as if to say that any woman who didn't take any opportunity leave such a life, must be a nasty person.
I did enjoy the Petticoat Detective. There was a good message and a sweet romance. My issue was that it seemed so much like a mystery, which I would have loved, and yet did not deliver that mystery. Hopefully the next book will be different. I fully intend to read it either way.