Benn has created a terrific mystery ... The more Julia investigates, the more complicated the mystery becomes. Suspects abound ... The powerlessness of women, both rich and poor, is deftly interwoven with the mystery. The mirroring of Naomi’s difficulties and Julia’s current problems is cleverly managed. A well-done debut. I eagerly await the next Julia Kydd mystery.
While the pace of this debut is slow at times, Benn has created a delightful sleuth, and readers will look forward to more mysteries starring this Jazz Age heroine. Recommend to readers of Carola Dunn’s Daisy Dalrymple and Kerry Greenwood’s Phryne Fisher and all those seeking a period-rich mystery.
In this debut novel, Benn shows that she’s done her research into the mores and manners of the age—from art and fashion to the requirement that a man must sign for any loan a woman wants to take out. At times, though, these chunks of information slow down the plot instead of being seamlessly woven into it, and Benn spends perhaps a little too much time pondering the limited options available to women of the era. The ending, with its multiple surprises, helps a little and certainly sets up things for spunky Julia to appear again ... There is enough promise in this first outing to hope that, with a little less pondering and a little more pacing, Benn's next mystery will be livelier.
...stylish debut ... As Julia’s investigations reveal much about Naomi (as well as herself), the author effectively shows the casual discrimination against women at the time. Benn is off to a promising start.