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  • A delightful surprise

    From the blurb, I was expecting Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder to be an Agatha Christie style detective crime thriller set in the fifties. Although this is true to a certain extent, this book holds a delightful surprise! I would describe the book as a mix between Sherlock Holmes, James Bond and Harry Potter. The setting is Mrs Brickett’s Investigations and Inquiries, an organisation deep in the bowels of underground London, where Marion Lane is working as an apprentice. The organisation is top secret, created to help those who post their requests into secret post-boxes and the headquarters is disguised as a bookshop. There are elements of traditional 007 Spy Gadgetry but the whole book also has a supernatural and fantasy element to it as we are introduced to magic maps and walls that constantly shift around to hide secrets. The world itself is really well plotted and we are introduced to elements in a way that doesn’t feel too heavy on the exposition. It’s easy to forget in places that this book is set in the fifties – because of the magical elements it could almost be set at any time but there are certain remarks such as a woman wearing trousers causing outrage that bring us back to the setting nicely. Marion is a great main character; she is spunky and curious and has an interesting backstory that is slowly revealed as the book progresses. The other characters are well rounded, I would perhaps have liked to learn a little more about some of them but I imagine from the ending that this is the start of a series and so perhaps we will learn more in future books – I will certainly be keeping an eye out for them! Overall, Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder is a great supernatural detective thriller and I can’t wait to read the next adventure! Thank you to NetGalley & Harlequin – Park Row for the chance to read the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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  • Strange world full of secrets

    Set in London, England in 1958. Marion, 23, is a trainee detective working for an underground (literally) organisation called Miss Brickett’s who investigate those crimes that might get overlooked. People can call upon the services of Miss Brickett’s via a series of drop-off letter points throughout the city. The staff can only enter and leave the maze of underground rooms and tunnels via a normal-looking bookshop which has staff members portraying as shop staff. When one of the staff members is murdered, panic sets in amongst the staff, as only one of them could be the culprit. When Marion’s friend, Frank, is found guilty, Marion is sure of his innocence and sets about discovering the truth and revealing the true killer, but if she fails her friend could be imprisoned for life and she could be kicked out of the agency with no-where to go. Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder is a historical, fantasy, mystery book. It is quite a slow burner of a novel the whole way through. I loved the world-building. Yes, it is set in a realistic London, but the agency is a completely different world. As this is the first book in the series it mainly focuses on inside the agency and a few of the agents and trainees. Plus, the investigation into the death of the woman who was the agency’s Border Guard. We don’t get to see outside investigations on the streets of London, which was a shame. Marion is a complex character, who is still reeling many years later from the death of her mother. She has lived with her Grandmother Dolores since her mother’s death but circumstances have recently meant that she has had to find accommodation within the agency. She loves gadgets and works mainly in the gadgetry department with another trainee, Bill. It was a classic whodunit, wrapped within a mystical, strange world full of secrets. It took me a while to get through the book due to the slow nature of it but I can honestly say that I did enjoy it and at times it was certainly suspenseful. I now want to know more about the agency and how they investigate crimes. Book two which is out next year seems to indicate that we will get to see Marion using her skills on the outside to find a killer that the police can’t identify. I am so looking forward to it.

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  • Atmospheric read

    It’s 1958 and Marion Lane lives with her grandmother, who is feverishly trying to get her married off as soon as possible, and it doesn’t really matter who to. Marion has a job in an old bookshop, a bookshop that hides an amazing world of fantastic libraries, laboratories and a whole new life for her. But something dark is going on. A woman has been murdered, rumours run riot and it seems the murderer has left no clues, other than it looks as though it has to be an inside job. Although Marion is just a first year apprentice, she is determined to help solve this murder, as she gets drawn into the enquiry when it seems as though someone close to her is going to be accused of it. This story fairly gallops along, throwing in amazing gadgets, storylines bouncing off the walls of the underground tunnels and the obvious baddies - or are they? The main character, Marion, is stronger than she realises, is likeable and believable. This is a really enjoyable read for all types and ages of readers. It’s atmospheric of a post war London, with enough back story to please even the most jaded reader. I look forward to the next instalment as the setting really lends itself to further tales. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.

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