Thursday, January 27, 2011

Review: The Mysterious Lady Law by Robert Appleton

Release date: January 31, 2011
Synopsis (via Goodreads):
In a time of grand airships and steam-powered cars, the death of a penniless young maid will hardly make the front page. But part-time airship waitress and music hall dancer Julia Bairstow is shattered by her sister's murder. When Lady Law, the most notorious private detective in Britain, offers to investigate the case pro bono, Julia jumps at the chance-even against the advice of Constable Al Grant, who takes her protection surprisingly to heart.

Lady Law puts Scotland Yard to shame. She's apprehended Jack the Ripper and solved countless other cold-case crimes. No one knows how she does it, but it's brought her fortune, renown and even a title. But is she really what she claims to be-a genius at deducting? Or is Al right and she is not be trusted?

Julia is determined to find out the truth, even if it means turning sleuth herself-and turning the tables on Lady Law...
My Thoughts:  I'm a big fan of steampunk.  A well-built world can blossom and gain a life of its own as it translates from the author's head to the reader's imagination.  Robert Appleton does an excellent job of realizing this world and building the bits and baubles up a piece at a time.

Now, normally the steampunk books I read tend to weigh in on the steamier side.  Err.  Steamier as in sexy, not more steam in my steampunk.  Oh, I make myself laugh sometimes.  The point is that while this book has romantic elements, it's all about the mystery here.  Who is Lady Law and how does she do what she does?

Julia is a young lady who laments her single status.  Her sister's brutal murder shatters her world and makes her see how fragile life is.  When Constable Grant begins to worm his way into her heart she has to decide whether he's being overly critical of Harriet Law because of her ability to solve crimes that the police can't or if there really is something sinister beneath her perfect exterior.

Overall, I enjoyed the worldbuilding and the mystery.  I was kept guessing on what was coming right up to the end and I was left satisfied with the story we were given.

Evocative line:
She reminded Julia of a strict schoolmarm turned adventurer, trapped in the body of a teenaged princess, trying to convince the world she meant business.
More books by Robert Appleton

Reading challenges: The E-book Challenge, The Morbid Romantica Challenge

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