Tuesday, April 27, 2021

BOOK REVIEW: Mysterious Lover by Mary Lancaster

 I was caught up in the storytelling of Mary Lancaster’s historical mystery/romance, Letters to a Lover, and was particularly intrigued by the secondary characters, Griz and Dragan (the sister and brother-in-law of the heroine.) Knowing that these two were the protagonists of book one of the Crime and Passion series, I bought the kindle book.

Mysterious Lover is a rather engrossing mystery that I read in one sitting.

Grizelda Niven is the youngest daughter of a duke. Bookish, near-sighted and bespectacled, Griz has the misfortune of being the younger sister of Lady Azalea (from book two), who is a dazzling beauty and social butterfly. Very much in her sister’s shadow, Griz marched through her debut largely unnoticed by society and has continued to fly under the radar of the ton. Deciding to make the best of it, Griz relishes her independence and adopts a scatterbrained persona that allows her to do what she wants and get away with it. 

Dragan Tizsa is a Hungarian exile. A landless gentleman in his native country, he joined the rebellion against the Hungarian emperor and suffered the consequences when the rebellion failed. He had been in training to be a doctor, and served as both an officer and a surgeon in the war. Now, he lives with and serves as apprentice to a London physician who serves the poor.

The paths of the heroine and hero cross one night when they are both attending the opera. Griz’s maid, Nancy, has come to the opera looking for help from Dragan, and is murdered in the alley outside. Griz is the first to find her, followed closely by Dragan. He is arrested. Griz knows he could not be the murderer, so she uses her influence (as a duke’s daughter and the sister of a government agent) to get him freed. Both want justice for Nancy, and, as it seems the police are unlikely to solve the murder, they work together to find the killer.

Griz is a delightfully intelligent woman with a spirit for adventure and a kind heart. Dragan is a born detective who needs a challenge to take his mind off all he has lost. They make a great team and, naturally, fall in love.

The story is well-plotted and moves at a quick pace. I don’t know that all the loose ends were tied up at the end, but it was fun and a satisfying read. What really sold me on the book was the developing relationship. I’m glad the two showed up again in book two and I hope there is a book three in the series.

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