The Vanishing Thief
(A Victorian Bookshop Mystery)
Brand New Cozy Series
The Berkley Publishing Group (December 3, 2013)
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Teresa Fasolino
Cover Design by George Long
Trade Paperback: 304 pages
E-Book File Size: 1592 KB
Georgia Fenchurch appears to be an unassuming antiquarian bookseller in Victorian London, but the life she leads is as exciting as any adventure novel. For Georgia is a member of the Archivist Society, a secret association of private investigators led by the mysterious Sir Broderick.
When a frantic woman comes to Georgia claiming that her neighbor, Nicholas Drake, has been abducted by the notorious Duke of Blackford, Georgia and the Archivist Society agree to take the case. But Drake is no innocent—he is a thief who has been blackmailing many of the leading members of London society. To find Drake and discover who is behind his abduction, Georgia and her beautiful assistant, Emma, will have to leave the cozy confines of their bookshop and infiltrate the inner circles of the upper crust—with the help of the dashing but dubious Duke of Blackford himself.
But the missing thief and his abductor are not the only ones to elude Georgia Fenchurch. When she spies the man who killed her parents years ago, she vows to bring him to justice once and for all…at any cost.
There is a lot happening in this debut. A man is missing, a cold case (the murder of our protag’s parents) is brought to the forefront when the killer may have been spotted out and about in London and a death of a young woman is being questioned.
There are also a slew of characters from Georgia Fenchurch, to her employee and best friend Emma, Phyllida, their “aunt”, who all live together. The members of the Archivist Society including Sir Broderick, Lady Westover and her grandson Inspector Grantham. Add to that Drake, the missing man, the frantic woman searching for him and all the members of the upper crust who could be responsible for his disappearance including the Duke of Blackford. There are many more supporting characters too.
At first all of this was a little hard to follow but then the story hits a rhythm where all 3 stories and all the characters come together.
I really like several characters. The dialogue at a formal dinner party between Georgia and her table mates was quite humorous. The Duke and Georgia are quite suitable despite of their different classes. Seeing her rub shoulders with the Lords and Ladies shows she is very intelligent and resourceful and not just a woman who inherited a bookshop.
The story has more than the expected number of twists and turns for a book of this type, keeping the reader on their toes.
I enjoyed this trip back to Victorian times. A time before phones, cars, and many things we take for granted. When a trip to the country took days and to call the authorities you had to send a person with a message or find a bobbie on the street.
This is my first Kate Parker novel but according to her website she started out writing Romantic Suspense. She has made a fine transition to cozy mysteries by combining all her strengths – history, suspense, humor and romance. The Vanishing Thief is a nice blend of all four. I anxiously await the next Victorian Bookshop Mystery.
Thanks to the people at Penguin I have 1 copy to give away!
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”