I wish you had all read Patricia Marcantonio's historical mystery, Felicity Carrol and the Perilous Pursuit. I want to talk about it with someone who finished it! Although it's set in Victorian England, at the time of Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee, Felicity reminds me of a grown-up Flavia de Luce from Alan Bradley's books. And, the solution! Darn, I want to talk about that with someone who has seen the same Broadway show as I did, but I can't even tell you what it is without giving away the plot.
Felicity Carrol has everything she could want, except the love of her father. Her mother and brother died when she was young, and the nineteen-year-old took herself to university when she was fifteen, lying about her age. She yearns for her father's attention. He just wants her to get married and be a proper woman. She's the young woman, though, whose science experiment goes wrong, setting fire to the east wing of Carrol Manor, where her father's treasured art work is kept. To stop the fire, she sets off a bomb.
When Felicity reads that Earl William Kent was murdered, she mourns as she never has for family. Lord Kent was one of her professors at university, and the two shared a love of history. Now, he's been found dead in the British Museum, and his priceless original of Sir Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur manuscript is missing from the King Arthur exhibit. After extending her condolences, Felicity decides she can best find justice for her mentor and the man who was a surrogate father by finding his killer.
While most women in Victorian England don't set out to solve a murder, Felicity, an avid student of everything, studies copies of The Illustrated Police News and Law Courts and Weekly Record in order to prepare herself. She doesn't prepare herself for butting heads with the handsome Scotland Yard Inspector Jackson Davies, who is tasked with finding Kent's killer. Then, there's a second murder, and a third. All of the victims were killed before their valuable King Arthur collectible was stolen. Felicity has theories, but Davies won't always listen.
There are well-developed characters that I'm looking forward to meeting again in the next Felicity Carrol mystery. She herself is a fascinating young woman, a perfect adventuress for the times that brought us so many other interesting characters such as Amelia Peabody and Veronica Speedwell. Helen, her former nanny, now her personal maid, is her friend and the mother she never had. Inspector Jackson Davies is respectful of Felicity's knowledge, but he has a lot to learn. There's humor and suspense in this excellent mystery.
Fan of Flavia de Luce? Here's a grown-up Flavia. Fan of Paige Shelton's mysteries set in Scotland? This one might remind you of those books. It has so many elements of some of my favorite books. Kudos to Felicity Carrol and the Perilous Pursuit.
Patricia Marcantonio's website is https://patriciasantosmarcantonio.com
Felicity Carrol and the Perilous Pursuit by Patricia Marcantonio. Crooked Lane Books, 2019. ISBN 9781683318965 (hardcover), 310p.
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