“What happened?” Henrietta asked when they were back in the car together heading down California toward the Von Harmon’s apartment. Clive had been contemplating how much of Eugene’s story to share with her, and he still wasn’t sure how forthcoming he should be.
“I don’t think he did it,” Clive said finally.
Henrietta breathed a sigh of relief. “What happened then?”
“I’m pretty sure this Fr. Finnegan set him up. I think he planted the candlesticks on him. I need to pay him a little visit tomorrow.”
“But why would he do that? That doesn’t make sense! Eugene’s a favorite of him.”
Clive let that comment sit for a few moments as he considered to say next. He wanted to be honest with her, but how much should he reveal? It was a terribly inappropriate subject, one he didn’t necessarily want to broach, but he saw no other way around it if Henrietta were to really understand the gravity of the situation and its many gray areas. Perhaps it would be for the best, really, if she knew. “Henrietta…” he began unsteadily. “I’m pretty sure Eugene’s a deviant… a homosexual, that is.”
He looked over at her, but she was just staring straight ahead at the road. He was completely unprepared, then, when she said quietly, “Yes, I thought he might be.”
Because this series by Michelle Cox is called “Henrietta and Inspector Howard”, I’ll admit I was expecting something a bit different. More of a cosy mystery, where the mystery had a central role, if in a ‘cosy’ way.
Turned out, this is a romance with a mystery side thread, which was disappointing for me – which is entirely me, not a fault of the story.
Even if I’m not at all into romances, this was nonetheless a good one. The characters are well rounded and sympathetic and don’t normally go into the kind of unreasonable angst that I really don’t like in romances. Henrietta and Clive have some very serious matters to consider and overcome and they do it always in a credible way.
Yes, they are classic romance tropes (she’s young, daring and poor, he’s experienced, brooding and very rich), but they are handled in such a way that they feels real and convincing. I also liked that many threads are interwoven in the story. Henrietta and Clive’s love story is central to the plot, but there are side threads (the mystery one, but also the thread concerning Henrietta’s mother, and the one about her brother, the thread concerning Helen’s past) that are strongly set. Most of these side threads don’t find a resolution at the end (this is, indeed, and ongoing series) but they weave with the central story rather than proceed alongside, so that they feel part of it. I was not disappointed when they remained opened in the end, it actually felt quite natural.
The mystery thread turned out to be quite lame, I’m afraid, which was disappointing for me. But the romance is very strong, so if you are the kind of the romance reader, I’m sure you’ll appreciate this story a lot.
In post is part of the Thursday Quotables meme. If you want to discover more about this meme and maybe take part in it, head over to Bookshelf Fantasies