Like most writers, I am a tireless reader. I collect armfuls of books from the library each week, I browse bookstores, and I take note of recommendations from Twitter pals whose tastes align with mine. (If you want a peek at what I’m reading, I frequently post book pics on Instagram.) And when I find something I like, I’m NOT shy about sharing. Y’all will remember my unseemly enthusiasm about JANE STEELE last year…
My latest find is the enchanting Gower Street Detective series by M.R.C. Kasasian. I’ve only read the first–THE MANGLE STREET MURDERS–and I usually hesitate to recommend a series based on just a first book. Not this time. MANGLE was everything I ask of a book. It follows the sleuthing adventures of March Middleton, an enigmatic young woman, and her guardian, Sidney Grice, personal detective. (Don’t call him a private detective; he gets testy about that.)
Agatha Christie was a master at conjuring a setting in just a few words, and Kasasian is every bit as skilled. The series is firmly Victorian, but in a way that feels decidedly and appropriately modern. (People like to think of Victorians as swathing their piano legs in fabric to preserve their delicate sensibilities–nope. Kasasian does a splendid job of not falling into any of the ridiculous Victorian trope-piles.)
And the books are FUNNY. For me, the holy grail is a novel that is historically plausible and witty, and Kasasian delivers in spades. If you like Veronica, if you like Amelia Peabody and Flavia de Luce, you need to rush out instantly and get a copy of THE MANGLE STREET MURDERS. When you’re finished, you’ll be delighted to know that the fourth book in the series was JUST published this week.