A Question of Betrayal by Anne Perry

Description (from cover): “On her first mission for MI6, the daring young photographer at the heart of this thrilling new mystery series by bestselling author Anne Perry travels to Mussolini’s Italy to rescue the lover who betrayed her.

Britain’s secret intelligence service, MI6, has lost contact with its informant in northern Italy, just as important information about the future plans of Austria and Nazi Germany is coming to light. And young Elena Standish, to her surprise, is the only person who can recognize MI6’s man–because he is her former lover. Aiden Strother betrayed Elena six years ago, throwing shame on her entire family. Now, with so much to prove, Elena heads to Trieste to track down Aiden and find out what happened to his handler, who has mysteriously cut off contact with Britain.

As Elena gets word of a secret group working to put Austria in the hands of Germany, her older sister, Margot, is in Berlin to watch a childhood friend get married–to a member of the Gestapo. Margot and Elena’s grandfather, the former head of MI6, is none too happy about the sisters’ travels at this tumultuous time, especially when a violent event at home reminds him that even Britain is growing dangerous. As his own investigation collides with his granddaughter’s, what’s at stake on the continent becomes increasingly frightening–and personal.

Against the backdrop of a rapidly changing Europe, New York Times bestselling author Anne Perry crafts a novel full of suspense, political intrigue, and the struggle between love and loyalty to country.

My Thoughts:

This is the second book in the Elena Standish series by Anne Perry that takes place in the 1930’s in an Europe that is increasingly gearing up for war. In the period after World War I and the rise of Hitler in Nazi Germany, Britain’s MI6 is actively engaged in preventing another war by using spies strategically placed in Nazi Germany, and in Northern Italy. There appears to be plans afoot to overthrow the new Austrian Chancellor, Engelbert Dollfuss, and have Nazi Germany take over the country to further the political ambitions of Hitler. MI6 has agent Aiden Strother in place in Northern Italy to pass along information to the British and to keep them informed of Hitler’s plans. When Strother’s handler, Max, seemingly appears to go missing with no contact, MI6 sends in Elena in order to find Max and bring Strother and his information back to England. The only reason they send in Elena is because Aiden was her former lover and she is the only one who can be relied upon to find him.

This book was a little chaotic and hard to follow at times. I had a hard time keeping up with everything for a little while, but towards the end, I was able to get hooked into the story and wanted to see how it ended. I felt the ending was a little rushed and could have been a little more thought out. I liked the characters and the historical context. I always find it interesting to read about World War II and how it started. Europe really didn’t want to fight another war right after one that caused so many losses and struggles, but Germany was determined to recover and make a name for itself at any cost.

Anne Perry has long been a favorite author of mine and I am glad that she has branched out and decided to write books in a different era as she normally writes in about Victorian England. While this book wasn’t the greatest book I read, I still appreciate her attention to detail and her way with endearing her readers to the characters. I will see what the next book in the series, A Darker Reality, has in store for these characters, but it seems that there will need to be a little more moving forward for this to become a series that I really enjoy and love.

Overall Rating: 2.5 Stars

Author: Anne Perry

Series: Elena Standish Mystery #2

Publisher: Ballantine Books

Publication Date: September 8, 2020

Pages: 305

Genre: Historical Mystery

Get It: Amazon

Disclaimer: This book was selected by myself at the library, and I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

Review: God Rest Ye, Royal Gentlemen by Rhys Bowen

Description (from cover): “Georgie is back and hanging the stockings with care when a murder interrupts her Christmas cheer in this all-new installment in the New York Times bestselling Royal Spyness series from Rhys Bowen.

Georgie is excited for her first Christmas as a married woman in her lovely new home. She suggests to her dashing husband, Darcy, that they have a little house party, but when Darcy receives a letter from his aunt Ermintrude, there is an abrupt change in plans. She has moved to a house on the edge of the Sandringham estate, near the royal family, and wants to invite Darcy and his new bride for Christmas. Aunt Ermintrude hints that the queen would like Georgie nearby. Georgie had not known that Aunt Ermintrude was a former lady-in-waiting and close confidante of her royal highness. The letter is therefore almost a royal request, so Georgie, Darcy, and their Christmas guests: Mummy, Grandad, Fig, and Binky all head to Sandringham.

Georgie soon learns that the notorious Mrs. Simpson, mistress to the Prince of Wales, will also be in attendance. It is now crystal clear to Georgie that the Queen expects her to do a bit of spying. There is tension in the air from the get-go, and when Georgie pays a visit to the queen, she learns that there is more to her request than just some simple eavesdropping. There have been a couple of strange accidents at the estate recently. Two gentlemen of the royal household have died in mysterious circumstances and another has been shot by mistake during a hunt. Georgie begins to suspect that a member of the royal family is the real target but her investigation will put her new husband and love of her life, Darcy, in the crosshairs of a killer.”

My Thoughts:

**I have reviewed previous books in this series: The Twelve Clues of Christmas, Malice at the Palace, and Crowned and Dangerous**

Rhys Bowen has long been a favorite historical mystery author of mine. I adore her Molly Murphy mysteries and the Royal Spyness series, of which this book is a part of. Every single time a new book of hers is released, I jump right on it. Bowen has a way of creating characters that one simply cannot get enough of and books that never disappoint. I love her writing style and how she makes the characters all seem like friends. I devour her books in a matter of days as they are so good and impossible to put down. Georgie is a lesser royal, who has been down on her luck in the past, but the future is looking bright. She has recently married Darcy and they make plans of how to spend their first Christmas together. When those plans are thrown out the window due to a royal request, Darcy and Georgie head with her mother, her brother and his wife with their children to Darcy’s aunt’s house located on the Sandringham estate for a Christmas house party.

In true Georgie fashion, things start to go amiss from the moment they arrive. People start to turn up dead in mysterious circumstances and strange accidents are happening all over the estate. Georgie, along with Darcy, use their wits and skills to find out what is going on. Everyone is a suspect and no one is safe. Georgie and Darcy must race the clock and a killer before more murders occur. Georgie, while hoping for a relaxing first Christmas with her husband, finds herself in the midst of a murder’s cold blooded plot. With the return of beloved characters and a storyline that will keep the reader engaged and wanting more, this book is a great addition to the already fantastic Royal Spyness series.

Bowen has created another fantastic read with this book. I loved that I got to read this book right in the middle of Christmas season as that was a treat. Nothing like spending Christmas with your favorite characters. Georgie has come a long way in the series and the author shows no signs of slowing down in plans for her future in the books. As always, I am already eagerly anticipating the next installment of this book and only wish the author could write them faster. This was a delightful read and one that left us with a little surprise at the end. Have you read this book or this series? If so, I would love to hear in the comments what you think about the characters and this latest book in the series.

Overall Rating: 5+ stars

Author: Rhys Bowen

Series: Royal Spyness Mystery #15

Publisher: Berkley

Publication Date: October 12, 2021

Pages: 302

Genre: Historical Mystery

Get It: Amazon

Disclaimer: This book was selected by myself at the library, and I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

Review: A Rogue’s Company by Allison Montclair

Description (from cover): “In Allison Montclair’s A Rogue’s Company, business becomes personal for the Right Sort Marriage Bureau when a new client, a brutal murder, two kidnappings, and the recently returned from Africa Lord Bainbridge threatens everything that one of the principals holds dear.

In London, 1946, the Right Sort Marriage Bureau is getting on its feet and expanding. Miss Iris Sparks and Mrs. Gwendolyn Bainbridge are making a go of it. That is until Lord Bainbridge– the widowed Gwen’s father-in-law and legal guardian–returns from a business trip to Africa and threatens to undo everything important to her, even sending his six-year-old son away to a boarding school.

But there’s more going on than that. A new client shows up at the agency, one whom Sparks and Bainbridge begin to suspect really has a secret agenda, somehow involving the Bainbridge family. A murder and a subsequent kidnapping sends Sparks to seek help from a dangerous quarter–and now their very survival is at stake.”

My Thoughts:

This book is the third installment in the beloved Sparks & Bainbridge Mystery series. I have recently discovered this series and have immensely loved each book. Sparks and Bainbridge have their own backgrounds, yet they find themselves embarking on a new adventure together–running a bureau that helps people find love and marriage. Sparks is a former operative who used her skills in British intelligence during WWII. Bainbridge is of the upper class and is a widow as her husband lost his life in the war. I won’t go into too much detail about their pasts here, but if you read the books in order, the reader will delve into their pasts and how they came to be where they are now. Montclair does a fabulous job of weaving the characters’ stories and leaves enough intrigue to keep the reader involved and wanting to learn more. The reader doesn’t know the extent of Sparks’ previous spy work and with each book, the reader learns more and more about her interesting past.

Bainbridge has been struggling to find her own way after the death of her husband. She has opened the Right Sort Marriage Bureau with Sparks and she is learning how to support herself and her six-year-old son, Ronnie. When her father-in-law, Lord Bainbridge, returns unexpectedly from Africa, he turns the household upside down. His behavior is belligerent, and everyone in the house is walking on egg shells. He upsets Gwen by demanding that her son be sent to a boarding school that has a bad reputation and she fights to keep her son by her side. When Gwen and Lord Bainbridge are kidnapped together, they must learn to try to resolve their differences in order to survive. In a story with an interesting twist, nothing is as it appears be.

Sparks and Bainbridge must use their own unique skills to solve a murder and the kidnappings while at the same time trying to protect their own interests before they find themselves as the next victims. They use their connections with gangsters and high society in order to advance their investigations. This book and this series is a great read for anyone who loves historical mysteries set in post-WWII England. The author does a great job of describing what life was really like in that time period and how people had to learn to coped with rationing and rebuilding after the bombings of London. Another fantastic read by Montclair and I cannot wait to see what the author has in store for these two wonderful characters.

Overall Rating: 5+ stars

Author: Allison Montclair

Series: Sparks and Bainbridge Mystery #3

Publisher: Minotaur Books

Publication Date: June 8, 2021

Pages: 342

Genre: Historical Mystery

Get It: Amazon

Disclaimer: This book was selected by myself at the library, and I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

Review: Triple Jeopardy by Anne Perry

Description (from cover): “Daniel Pitt, along with his parents, Charlotte and Thomas, is delighted that his sister, Jemima, and her family have returned to London from the States for a visit. But the Pitts soon learn of a harrowing incident: In Washington, D.C., one of Jemima’s good friends has been assaulted and her treasured necklace stolen. The perpetrator appears to be a man named Philip Sidney, a British diplomat stationed in America’s capital who, in a cowardly move, has fled to London, claiming diplomatic immunity. But that claim doesn’t cover his other crimes…

When Sidney winds up in court on a separate charge of embezzlement, it falls to Daniel to defend him. Daniel plans to prove only a competent enough defense to avoid a mistrial, allowing the prosecution to put his client away. Bur when word travels across the pond that an employee of the British embassy in Washington has been found dead, Daniel grows suspicious about Sidney’s alleged crimes and puts on his detective hat to search for evidence in what has blown up into an international affair.

As the embezzlement scandal heats up, Daniel takes his questions to intrepid scientist Marriam fford Croft, who brilliantly uses the most up-to-date technologies to follow an entirely new path of investigation. Daniel and Miriam travel to the Channel Islands to chase a fresh lead, and what began with a stolen necklace turns out to have implications in three far greater crimes–a triple jeopardy, including possible murder.”

My Thoughts:

This is the second book in the Daniel Pitt mystery series. Anne Perry has many notable series, including the Thomas and Charlotte Pitt mysteries, which may sound familiar as they are Daniel’s parents. Unlike his father, who was a police detective and now is the head of Special Branch, Daniel is a lawyer who uses his talents and experiences in the courtroom as a defense attorney. If you love the Thomas and Charlotte Pitt mysteries, Daniel will be a familiar character that you have spent time with and watched grow up into his own person. His older sister, Jemima makes her return to England in this novel and the family is together once again, doing what they do best, solving mysteries and making sure justice is properly served. Jemima’s husband, Patrick, is a police officer back in Washington, D.C. and a case has followed them across the pond and they have requested that Daniel and his family assist them with their investigations.

While the Pitts appear in this novel, Daniel is a character in his own right. I am glad that Perry has decided to make a separate series featuring Daniel as a young lawyer, trying to make a name for himself in defending cases that seem hopeless. Perry uses her skills as a phenomenal writer to draw the reader in with the richness of details and characters to create a book that is impossible to put down. Anne Perry is one who is not without controversy herself, as I recently learned in a podcast that I listen to frequently. I won’t spoil the details for you here, but I highly recommend that you learn more about her own past if you do not already know about it already. I always wonder if her real life experiences help her with her writing as her books are so aptly on point with police investigations and the legal system. While this book was a little slow at times, overall it was a very exciting and enjoyable read.

There is a lot of character development in this book for Daniel and I am anxious to see where Perry is going to lead him next. I have my own suspicions, but a reader never really knows where the author plans to take the characters. I have found that anything that Perry writes, I usually tend to enjoy immensely and this series is no different. At the time of the writing of this blog post, there appears to be four books already in this series, and as this is the second book in the series, it looks like I have more reading to do. I highly recommend this series, and while you do not have to read the Charlotte and Thomas Pitt books to fully understand this series, I also recommend that you read that series so you can evolve with the characters. I promise you won’t be disappointed. I couldn’t put this one down and I was anxious to get to the end to see how everything would resolve.

Overall Rating: 4.5 stars

Title: Triple Jeopardy

Author: Anne Perry

Series: Daniel Pitt #2

Publisher: Ballantine Books

Publication Date: April 9, 2019

Pages: 338

Genre: Historical Mystery

Get It: Amazon

Disclaimer: This book was selected by myself at the library, and I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.