- Author: Helena Dixon
- Series: A Miss Underhay Mystery #1
- No. of pages: 264
- Year published: 2019
- Publisher: Bookouture
- Dates read: 27.11.19 – 02.12.19
- Rating: 3 stars
First of all, thank you Netgalley and Bookouture for the chance to read this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Plot: June 1933. Independent young Kitty Underhay has been left in charge of her family’s hotel, The Dolphin, on the tranquil English coast. She’s expecting her days at the bustling resort to be filled with comfortable chatter with chambermaids as they polish the mahogany desks and glittering candelabras of the elegant foyer. Everything must be perfect for the arrival of a glamourous jazz singer from Chicago and a masked ball that will be the cultural highlight of the season. But when several rooms are broken into and searched, including Kitty’s own, she quickly realises that something out of the ordinary is afoot at the hotel. Soon rumours are flying in the cozy town that someone is on the hunt for a stolen ruby. A ruby that Kitty’s mother may well have possessed when she herself went missing during the Great War. And when the break-ins are followed by a series of attacks and murders, including of the town’s former mayoress, it seems the perpetrator will stop at nothing to find it. Aided by ex-army captain Matthew Bryant, the Dolphin’s new security officer, Kitty is determined to decipher this mystery and preserve not only the reputation of her hotel, but also the lives of her guests. Is there a cold-blooded killer under her own roof? And what connects the missing jewel to the mystery from Kitty’s own past?
I loved how we jumped straight into the mystery from the get-go. We are not met with an idyllic scene at the beginning of the novel, where Dixon sets the scene of beautiful tranquillity which will be shattered come the murder. No, the novel starts with a dead body being pulled out of the river. Just a handful of pages into the story. Dixon started as she meant to go on.
Every chapter ended in the perfect way to make me want to keep reading. Whether it was newfound information or a shocking reveal I couldn’t put this book down because when I wanted to it would draw me in with the final line. Also the chapters were very short. The longest chapter took me roughly 7 minutes according to my kindle. I felt this also helped me stay engaged with the novel as nothing was drawn out.
The plot was really good. We were constantly getting new information to digest or something very action-packed to put me on the edge of my seat. I also felt that just when I thought I had sussed out what was going on Dixon bought something in to throw me off the scent. Because there was all of this I felt the story never lulled.
I really enjoyed Matt’s character. I felt that his PTSD from the war was handled very well in this novel and at times despite being titled “A Miss Underhay Mystery” if definitely felt more like a “Captain Bryant Mystery”. We spent more time with him trying to solve the case than we did the main protagonist. I don’t think Kitty did enough at times to be warranted the main character. I would have preferred focusing on Matt more.
Overall, a very fun read that kept me engaged the entire way through. I will definitely read the next instalment in this series.
The next book I will be reviewing will finally be the Eye of the World by Robert Jordan! I was meant to have reviewed this book in October but I was shocked by how many Netgalley books I received so I prioritised them so now all of my 2019 Netgalley reads are done I can now focus on the first novel in the highly acclaimed Wheel of Time series.