Overall Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
“What matters to one may be irrelevant to the other. What holds one back, may propel another forward. With this constant dance, this push and pull of humanity, is it any wonder when someone trips and shatters the balance of our small world?”
Well, this one packs a punch! A 1920’s historical mystery that has everything you could possibly want from a book of this genre; a fabulous detective, a deep plot and a collection of characters you always second guess! Historical fiction is usually not for me, but murder mysteries are my favourite – combined, these two genres created the perfect story. So happy to be on this blog tour with all these other amazing book bloggers!
After years spent away, Lady Evelyn is at long last back in her home city of London and she has returned with a rather controversial plan. The Carlisle Detective Agency is born, and it does not take long for the bodies… ahem, cases, to start piling up. With her friend and assistant Hugh, Evelyn embarks on the quest to solve the crimes. Yet the London she encounters is not the London of her coddled youth, and she is forced to learn that there is more to discover than the identity of a murderer. It isn’t only her city which reveals it is not what she always believed it to be, but the people she encounters as well. Secrets are revealed that have her thinking twice about everything she thought she knew about the society in which she grew up.
Evelyn’s love for her hard-won independence confronts her with yet another mystery, whether she is ready or willing to give up any of it for marriage. And then there is the arrival of rather a familiar face in London, one Daniel is not pleased to see. Evelyn must find not one but two murderers, as well as make a decision that could determine her future. From the mansions of Mayfair to the dark alleys of Whitechapel, can Evelyn catch the killers before another life is taken?
Both the style and era of this book grabbed me straight away, and these two factors alone made the book instantly memorable, even when I hadn’t got far into the story! We’re transported back to the 1920’s and we’re met with some very well created characters, and their personalities are apparent very early on. I loved reading about Evelyn’s life and just how different it seemed compared to other books I’ve read recently, and I was curious about The Carlisle Detective Agency. Mysteries are my favourite and I felt as though this book would be very special if things carried on the way they were going! I usually find historical fiction difficult to get into or even read at all, but I really enjoyed the language readers are presented with and loved the gentle sprinkling of humour too; it felt like the author had created a whole new genre and everything about this book worked so well!
I admired Evelyn in so many ways, but especially her determination to make her new business adventure work. Even though those around her question her motives and struggle to understand why a lady would want such work, Evelyn is still keen to follow her dreams and make her new agency thrive. Business starts slowly, but it isn’t long before she hires her first employee and receives her first enquiry. I found the book to be surprisingly fun, but at the same time, I had my detective hat on, waiting for a little bit of epic problem solving and unforgettable adventures with Evelyn! The opening to the book was fabulous and it draws in the reader in so many ways. I couldn’t wait to get further into the story and see where this detective adventure would take the characters involved.
I quickly became a little suspicious of one character, Maeve, who always seems to be a little too on edge. Being an employee of Evelyn’s, I made a mental note to keep an eye on her throughout the book for any suspicious activity. I always get overly skeptical of characters when I read a mystery novel, and I never feel like I can trust anyone! Whether this character was innocent or not, I liked how the author forces us to take another look at them – maybe it was a red herring, I wasn’t too sure at this stage! As things progressed, I felt myself over analysing scenes and really getting lost in the hustle and bustle of Evelyn’s new business. As well as exploring business, the author goes into a lot of detail about the stories of a range of characters, which gives the book so much depth. It helps the reader to connect with each character more and I felt it was such a great addition to an already astounding plot.
“Agnes has learned from her past mistakes, as much as her character permits, and I am trying my best to learn from my own.”
The first murder is unexpected, but it was such an exciting scene! Evelyn has her first case on her hands, and she must think outside the box if she has a chance of getting to the bottom of this mystery. Everything seems to fall into place and the pages that follow this unfortunate death plunge us deep into an epic murder mystery. The way the author begins to unravel this case and keep us guessing works very well and each page just becomes more exciting than the last. The whereabouts of one particular character become increasingly important in the plot and Evelyn soon finds herself juggling many tasks. I thoroughly enjoyed the beginning of the book and I had no doubts that the middle of the story wouldn’t disappoint either! There was so much to discover and experience and I wondered just how Evelyn would tackle this new adventure.
The detail in how Evelyn goes through this case really impressed me; from questioning potential suspects to going through the facts of the murder, the reader can get so involved themselves, almost as if they’re working on this case with this character! It’s clear just how much thought and planning has gone into the book at this stage and every page was such an incredible reading experience. I read so much in such a short space of time because of just how captivating the author’s words are, making this one of the best murder mystery books I’ve read this year! I couldn’t get enough; each scene is so addictive, the characters so interesting and the plot could potentially take many routes at this stage. Would there be more murder? Would Evelyn’s agency soon thrive and be filled with customers desperate for answers? I could not get enough of this story, argh!
I have to say, Evelyn makes a damn good detective! No matter how much she’s encouraged to stay away from the murder part of a detective’s role, she’s more determined than ever to get to the bottom of each mystery. I really enjoyed how she follows each lead and we learn of new clues that point us closer to the truth. I loved Percy’s character in the book and just how crucial he is to a lot of the story, even how personally involved he is in one of the murder cases. There is always something happening in the book and I don’t recall any part of the story being too slow or hard to get through. I don’t quite know how the author has managed it, but I think she should share a few of her secrets! The first half of the book filled me with curiosity, and I just knew the second half would leave me desperate for more. What would we uncover?
With thorough interviews of suspects and those who may be able to give useful information taking place, we start to put each piece of the puzzle together. It was so interesting learning about the Devlin family; the things that we didn’t know on the surface and just what might have been the motive for murder. The detail in each interview is amazing and Evelyn’s character really shines through. This is what a murder mystery should be like! As well as this, the author visits Evelyn and Daniel’s relationship, including their hardships and how these are overcome. I liked this extra information about our main character, and I think it tied into the story well. At the funeral of Anthony Devlin, information from one character leads us to believe all isn’t what it seems, and there is much more to this character than meets the eye. Could the murder get even deeper? What was Evelyn missing? I think I wanted to find out more just as much as she did!
“Desperation can push people to do things their minds tell them they should not do. Hungry bellies are motivation neither of us can truly understand.”
The story gets even more complex as Evelyn finds more problems to solve about the cases she’s assigned herself. She seems the kind of person who will stop at nothing to help others and she’s the exact lady you’d want at your side if you had a problem in need of a solution! A funeral scene is particularly intriguing and brings more information to light about the Devlin family that we didn’t know about before. I had so many potential suspects in my mind already at this point, and this part of the book made me even more sure of my theories! I was desperate to know who was responsible for these deaths and even though I felt we were getting close, I had the strangest feeling that we’d soon get the biggest shock of all. The author has built up the suspense well and kept it consistent throughout the majority of the story. I couldn’t wait to see how the book ended!
With certain suspects in mind, Evelyn needs to gather sufficient proof if she’s to bring down the right person, and each page turned more thrilling and exciting as time passed. The author has succeeded in making the reader feel so much from start to finish, from the enthralling feeling of working to solve a murder case, to helping us feel sympathy and sadness for those characters affected by the murders. The closer to the ending of the book I got, the more I got Sherlock Holmes vibes! The book has certainly been one of the most detailed mystery books I’ve read, and the historic aspects really make it something special, something more unique than anything else out there at the moment. I also appreciated the strong female lead in the book and Evelyn is just the perfect character to follow!
The reader is forced to go back and forth from one suspect to the next. Just when we think we’ve got the right person, we get more information that changes our course completely! My mind was working over time thinking of every possible outcome, which characters had alibis and just who could have possibly committed something as horrific as murder. Evelyn chats with so many people throughout the book and there was potentially hundreds of possible links to the killer! I loved how intense things became the closer we get to the final few chapters of the book and the attention to detail was just mind blowing. The plot has unraveled perfectly in my opinion and I couldn’t wait to see who the culprit is after all this hype. Would it be someone completely unexpected, or someone more close to home?
With certain people acting way out of character, Evelyn is forced to become suspicious. Why are these characters changing before her very eyes? Why does one character no longer want Evelyn’s help in solving this case when there is so much left to uncover? My opinions on certain characters changed and I felt like there was a lot more information here than meets the eye. Has Evelyn been fed lies? Do some people know more than they are letting on? Question after question popped into my mind and I flew through the final few chapters, desperate for the outcome! I loved everything about the book up to now, and I just knew the author would end the book in a showstopping way.
“I won’t be deterred by my own doubt, nor the judgement of others. I will simply have to prove them wrong.”
I felt like standing up and giving the author an applause when I reached the end of the book. The finale was far from what I expected and my eyes were glued to the pages! Such intense story-telling and I couldn’t get enough – incredible. Things are rounded off nicely, but also in a way that makes me want to read every other book in this series. I couldn’t get over how perfectly crafted the plot of this story is and I feel that so many people need to read this book and series for themselves. I loved how Evelyn continued her impeccable detective work right until the last page, just showing exactly the kind of character she is. Unforgettable characters, amazing detective work and a solid, memorable plot. I loved all of it!
Not a fan of historical murder mysteries? You will be after reading this Lady Evelyn mystery! This book completely shocked me with how great it was, and as someone who isn’t that interested in historical works of fiction, this blew me away. From start to finish, I was hooked, and loved following Evelyn’s journey as she works to solve the mystery of murder. The whole plot has been perfected unlike anything you’ve ever seen, each character with incredible personality traits. The language used is very 1920’s and works so well in bringing the reader into this era. I could go on and on for hours, but this book is definitely one to add to your TBR list! Five stars from me and I’m so looking forward to reading the rest of the books in this series.
Thanks so much to the author, Malia Zaidi, and Emma at Damp Pebbles for my copy of this book and my place on the blog tour! You can purchase your own copy of The Quality Of Mercy on Amazon, available on Kindle and paperback. It’s also free on Kindle Unlimited! Follow the author on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for updates.