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  • Little Women meets Sherlock Holmes

    A Burning Truth is Little Women meets Sherlock Holmes in 1881 Chicago (though it may take more than one character to equal the sleuthing ability of Sherlock, the gist of this statement remains true). Cady Delafield, a strong-willed, sometimes bull-headed, school administrator, and her romantic partner, Doyle Flanagan, a shipping mogul who made his fortune rebuilding Chicago after the Great Fire in 1871, find their relationship suffering due to the murder and mayhem that seems to also have a special affection for Doyle. Even though the couple’s first meeting happened over a dead body in Cady’s office (in A Deadly Truth, the first book of the Cady Delafield Mystery series), both had hoped to put the tragedy behind them. The discovery of another gruesome murder forces Cady to extremes in defense of Doyle’s good name and finds Doyle scrambling to solve a murder, save his business, and, at the same time, protect Cady from the trauma currently surrounded his life. The burning truth may be that Cady can more easily handle the emotional turmoil of a murder mystery than facing the possibility of giving up her independence for a man, even a man she so passionately desires. Though A Burning Truth is the second book the Cady Delafield Mystery series, a fact I was unaware of when I chose to read this book, the storyline, told in third-person limited and alternating in the perspectives of our two main characters, stands well on its own. Choosing which is the main plot, however, can be confusing. If Cady is viewed as the main character, then the main plot is a love story interrupted by a murder. If Doyle is our main, then the plot is a murder mystery that includes the parallel-plot of a love story. Doyle is the one digging into the mystery of the burglary of his business and the subsequent murder of his security guard. Doyle’s nemesis, Chief Inspector Middendorf is also investigating the case which only adds to Doyle’s frustrations. He doubts Middendorf has any real motivation to solve the crime that is threatening his business, his reputation, and his relationship with Cady. I personally found the murder mystery focus to be the more enjoyable and more skillfully written plot-line to follow. Overall, I think that this book would be found enjoyable by those who enjoyed reading Little Women. I personally found no attachment to Cady’s character and found the dramatic language to be draining during scenes from her perspective. I found the same fault with the revered classic Little Women which means this is simply an issue of my personal tastes and by no means the fault of the Proell’s writing style. I did, however, enjoy Doyle and the murder mystery story-line which made setting aside my own prejudices towards the character of Cady worth it.

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  • A Bit Too Wordy

    Doyle Flanagan is yet again thrust into the center of controversy. Two murders and a theft occur at his factory, seemingly tied to the International Worker’s Party. With union rumblings nearing an eruption, Doyle and Cady must solve the mystery behind the factory murders. They must discover the puppet master who is pulling the strings before everything comes unraveled. The dialogue was a bit wordy at times and felt a bit forced. As a standalone, it fell a bit flat, so be sure to read it as part of the series.

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