cover image The Island: A Grand and Batchelor Victorian Mystery

The Island: A Grand and Batchelor Victorian Mystery

M.J. Trow. Crème de la Crime, $28.99 (224p) ISBN 978-1-78029-102-4

Trow’s emotionally unengaging fourth Victorian mystery featuring American Matthew Grand and Englishman James Batchelor (after 2016’s The Angel) is long on conjecture and short on detection. In 1873, the two private enquiry agents travel from their base in London to Grand’s childhood home near Rye, Maine, to attend the wedding of his younger sister, Martha, to devastatingly handsome Hamilton Chauncey-Wolsey. The evening before the ceremony, the personal maid of the bride’s matron of honor is found with her head bashed in. Since the local constable died six months previously, Grand and Batchelor step in as investigators until the police from Boston can arrive. The jaunty enquiry agents are soon busily interviewing all the servants, family members, and guests they can round up, including writer Mark Twain, who’s been grafted onto the Grand family tree. No one has a clue whodunit until the killer takes a shot at Batchelor and the penny drops. Those who like serious sleuthing in their mysteries will have to look elsewhere. (Jan.)