[ARC Review] A Purely Private Matter by Darcie Wilde

15:00 Cilla P 0 Comments

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With A Useful Woman, Rosalind Thorne became one of my favourite lady detectives in literature. So when A Purely Private Matter came out, my expectations for it were off the chart. Thankfully, it rose to the challenge. The mystery was delightful in its twists and turns, but it was the characters that, once again, won me over.

The best thing about the cast of A Purely Private Matter is how alive they all are. Pretty much all of the characters seem to have a history and motivation, even if they only show up for a handful of pages and we never know what their full story is. This is also true for the ones we're meant to care about. We learn a little more about Rosalind's history in this book, particularly the sister who disappeared in the series of events that had Rosalind going from a lady of sufficient means and respectable family to where she is now - carefully budgeting and living on the fringes of the haute ton. I liked knowing more about a character's family, and in this case, I felt that meeting her sister sheds some more light on Rosalind's character.

The mystery admittedly at times felt like a soap opera. (Murder, secret pasts, and love affairs, oh my!) Given that the murder victim is an actor, however, it all felt fitting. The title is also perfect considering the nature of the mystery. Many aspects of the mystery should be a purely private matter, but they can't remain so in light of the murder. Plus, I enjoyed how it read like celebrity scandals (where private matters are often forced to become public), but in a historical setting.

I enjoyed that Adam Harkness had a more active role both in the story and the investigation. Rosalind is clever and resourceful, but unfortunately there are places that a lady can't go in that time period. I liked their interactions together, and would love to see them collaborate some more. In fact, I almost think they'd be a more interesting pair if there wasn't any hint of possible romance between them. Almost. Her attraction to him and her old suitor does add to that sense that Rosalind is caught in the middle - not between two suitors, but rather two worlds - but I'm still not sold on the love triangle.

Overall, this is still a series that I would recommend to fans of historical cosy mysteries. I'm looking forward to the next installment already!

(I received a copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This has not influenced my opinions of the book.)

Reading this book contributes to the following challenges:

❥ Goodreads Challenge

Title: A Purely Private Matter (Rosalind Thorne Mysteries #2) ❙ Author: Darcie Wilde ❙ Publisher: Berkley ❙ Source: Netgalley ❙ Release Date: 2 May 2017

Rosalind Thorne has slowly but assuredly gained a reputation as “a useful woman”—by helping respectable women out of some less-than-respectable predicaments. 

Her latest endeavor is a tragedy waiting to happen. Desperate Margaretta Seymore is with child—and her husband is receiving poisoned pen letters that imply that her condition is the result of an affair with the notorious actor Fletcher Cavendish. Margaretta asks Rosalind to find out who is behind the scurrilous letters. But before she can make any progress, Cavendish is found dead, stabbed through the heart. 

Suddenly, Rosalind is plunged into the middle of one of the most sensational murder trials London has ever seen, and her client’s husband is the prime suspect. With the help of the charming Bow Street runner Adam Harkness, she must drop the curtain on this fatal drama before any more lives are ruined.


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