A Fatal Fondness (Mary MacDougall Mysteries)
by Richard Audry
About A Fatal Fondness
A Fatal Fondness (Mary MacDougall Mysteries)
4th in Series
Setting – Minnesota
Conger Road Press (November 15, 2019)
Paperback: 268 pages
Digital ASIN: B08158Y78D
It’s September 1902, and Mary MacDougall has fulfilled her greatest dream—opening her own detective agency. But this achievement doesn’t come without complication.
Mary’s father insists that an older cousin come to work with her—as both secretary and minder. Jeanette Harrison pledges to keep the plucky sleuth away from danger, as well as from her unsuitable suitor Edmond Roy. This arrangement, embarrassingly, makes Mary the only detective in the state with a chaperone.
The new agency’s first cases hardly seem to portend danger or significance. There’s the affair of the nicked napkin rings…the problem of the purloined pocket watch…and the matter of the four filched felines.
Mary and Jeanette have not the slightest notion that one of these modest little jobs will blow up into the most consequential and perilous case of the heiress-sleuth’s budding career. What begins in triviality mushrooms into disappearance, betrayal, international intrigue, and murder. As she learns more and more, Mary’s prospects for making the acquaintance of an assassin’s blade improve exponentially.
Mary MacDougall is back and she is now opening up her very own detective agency. Her new independence comes with a condition from her father, her older cousin, Jeanette Harrison will be employed as her secretary with the true job of keeping Mary out of trouble. She has also been tasked with keeping Mary away Edmond Roy, a man she has become close to even though her father finds him unsuitable for his daughter. Jeanette’s job is not going to be easy. Mary is a headstrong woman who does what she wants, even sticking her nose in a case a local detective has instructed her to stay away from.
Surprisingly the agency quickly has four cases. Some stolen napkin rings, four catnapped felines, a missing pocket watch, and a con man trying to fleece a talented young woman. But that isn’t enough for Mary. She learns of a drowning while handling the napkin ring case and as the body is identified she finds there may be a connection to one of her other cases. Mary realizes this is the case the detective warned her about, a case she now realizes has international ramifications. A case that could lead to her death if she doesn’t back off.
Mary MacDougal is a strong protagonist. At times, she is wise beyond her 19 years, others she acts like the young heiress she is without the sense to be fully aware of the danger. I really enjoyed Jeanette and her love of her Remington typewriter. She does her best to stand up to Mary but can’t totally reel her in. They are very entertaining as they sort out the details of this new business.
We catch up with Aunt Tena from afar and she has some fun news that sends Mary’s father into a tizzy that has him traveling to meet with her. Edmond Roy also returns with some big ideas of his own. The characters are all richly written and are easily envisioned.
The story this time starts slowly and builds to a very intriguing mystery. Mary has good instincts but she continues to put herself in risky situations. I really enjoyed following both her sleuthing process and her travels around town following every clue. The ending was exciting but heartbreaking too.
Reading A Fatal Fondness was a delightful way to spend a couple of evenings. The first two books in this series are novella length, A Daughter’s Doubt was longer at 204 pages, this one comes in at 268 pages and I feel the longer length gives space for more details and character development. I have enjoyed the entire series but this one is my favorite. I am already looking forward to the next installment to see what Mary MacDougall gets herself entangled in next.
About Richard Audry
Richard Audry is the pen name of D. R. Martin. He is the author of the Mary MacDougall historical mysteries (four titles) and the King Harald canine cozy series (three titles). Under his own name, he has written the Johnny Graphic ghost adventure trilogy, the Marta Hjelm hardboiled mystery Smoking Ruin, and two books on some of his favorite authors: Travis McGee & Me and Four Science Fiction Masters.
Purchase Links – Amazon
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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.”