Monday, September 25, 2017

The White Feather Murders (Herringford and Watts Mysteries Book 3), By Rachel McMillan

If you love historical fiction, and mysteries where you cannot guess the murderer, you will enjoy Rachel McMillan's Herringford and Watts Mystery series. In this third novel in the series, it is 1914 and Toronto is anxiously waiting to hear whether the British Empire is going to war with Germany. In this tense environment, which gets more tense after war is declared, female detectives Merinda Herringford and Jemima Watts (Mrs. DeLucca) must find out who is terrorizing German immigrants and leaving white feathers at the murder scenes of seemingly unconnected individuals.

Neither of McMillan's detectives fits the mold of an early 20th century female. Jemima, married with a baby son, agonizes over her duties to her family, and her commitment to her detective agency and to her friend Miranda. Miranda furiously rejects marriage because she does not want to lose her independence. At the same time, however, she is strongly conflicted on the subject. In many ways, these conflicts are reminiscent of the roiling internal battles fought by Dorothy Sayers' 1930s' character Harriet Vane in her relationship with Lord Peter Wimsey. McMillan makes the battles just as believable.

McMillan does an excellent job of bringing 1914 Toronto to life as a multilayered budding metropolis, home to wealthy elites, a growing middle class, and a refuge for immigrants fleeing the tyranny and poverty of the old world. My only concern with the novel is its sense of finality. I hope it is not the last book in the Herringford and Watts Mystery series because I want to know what happens to McMillan's well-crafted protagonists as the trenches and fires of World War I change everything.

* Print Length: 236 pages
* Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (April 25, 2017)
* Publication Date: April 11, 2017
* Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC