Published: May 2, 2017
Genre: Historical Mystery
Obtained via: Publisher
Reviewed by name and email address: Gina Ginalrmreviews@gmail.com
Living between two worlds—one the privileged aristocracy and the other those having to work for their money, Rosalind Thorne has carved a unique place for herself. Using her knowledge of one of those worlds along with her own innate intelligence, she has positioned herself to help women with their particularly discrete problems. When her friend, Alice, brings a friend in need to her Rosalind is hard pressed to turn her away. It seems Alice’s friend, Mrs. Margaretta Seymore, has found herself in the unpleasant position of being accused, by her husband no less, of carrying a bastard child. The purported father is none other than famous actor, Fletcher Cavendish. In response to Rosalind’s agreement to assist Margaretta as best she can Fletcher sends her tickets to a performance and invites she and Alice to dine with him after.
When Rosalind and Alice arrive at the theatre they are met, in a manner of speaking, by two men in Rosalind’s orbit – Devon, her childhood love and the current Duke of Castlemain and Bow Street Runner, Adam Harkness. While Devon steps into the light, Adam retreats into the shadows—two sides of Rosalind’s coin. While Rosalind and Alice dine with Fletcher several things happen, in a way, disturbing. The next morning Rosalind learns Fletcher has been murdered. In short order the police determine Mrs. Seymore’s husband is the killer and proceed in all haste to trial. But Rosalind and Adam are not at all sure they have the right man. Working within their own spheres, as together as possible, they race the clock to find the real killer.
Darcie Wilde starts Rosalind Thorne’s latest story, A PURELY PRIVATE MATTER, in a fairly innocuous manner—she is tasked with retrieving a piece of jewellery. For the reader who enjoys a straight forward read, a mystery to be solved, Wilde delivers. For the reader who enjoys multiple layers to a story as well as the intricacies of a character that bring them to live, she delivers in an even more engrossing manner. As I said in the beginning, Rosalind lives in two worlds, one foot in each. There are aspects of both, as seen through her relationships with Devon and Adam. Devon the boy of her youth, now a man—but given his place in society, can he truly support Rosalind’s desire—need in some instances—to help women with their discrete problems? Adam, on the other hand would gladly work hand in hand with her, yet he will not cross the class lines to put him there. Even their coloring adds to the layers of their differences and roles—Adam, fair haired yet, as a Bow Street Runner, takes to the shadows. Devon, dark haired, gray-eyed, walks boldly in the light. And Rosalind, in the middle. The reader does not need to take in these nuances to enjoy the story.
Wilde creates wonderful characters with multiple layers and dimensions. Even the character who appears for one small scene is written a fully as those that appear throughout.
The mystery in this one is multifaceted as well—it is not a quick read and not just because of the length (which is just right). No, it is because of the twists and turns the story takes with plenty of hints as to the killer’s identity sprinkled throughout.
While I am not a fan of love triangles in mysteries – if I want to read a romance I’ll pick one up – the triangle between Rosalind, Adam and Devon is rare in that it goes to the characters’ development and adds to how the mystery is solved. Rosalind could not have the layers to her personality she does if it were not for how these two men approach her and their own lives.
You do not have to have read the first book in this series, A USEFUL WOMAN, because Wilde gives her readers just enough backstory to read A PURELY PRIVATE MATTER as a standalone. If you have not, you are missing out on a good read.
This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.