Author: Rachel McMillan
Series: Van Buren & DeLuca Mystery #1
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Release Date: July 10, 2018
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewer: Jessica Higgins
An intriguing historical mystery set in Boston’s North End in the 1930s. Could Van Buren and DeLuca be the next Sherlock & Watson?
Hamish DeLuca has fought bouts of nerves all his life. But after freezing up in the courtroom on his first case, he gets tired of feeling as thought his father is trying to protect him and buys a train ticket from Toronto to Boston to visit his cousin Luca Valari. Lucas has a magnetic personality, yet a troublesome past. Even so, he easily conjures influence and people invest in his ideas. The newest one is to open up a new club in Boston called The Flamingo. Luca believes it will be wildly successful and launch additional clubs across the county. Hamish can’t help but get caught up in the excitement, but soon realizes that not everything in Luca’s life is as it seems. People seem to be following him and claim that they will catch him. But what could he be up to?
Regina Van Buren, or Reggie for short, is tired of living of the life that her parents have planned out for her. She is spontaneous and wants to become skilled at several things, not just being a high society housewife. When her suitor suddenly announces their engagement without even asking, she slaps him across the face and takes off from New Haven to Boston. There she quickly realizes that she may have bit off more than she can chew, but manages to find a boardinghouse and get work for a man named Luca Valari. As a secretary, she takes phone calls from men that are trying to hunt him and tells them about the great Flamingo Club that will be opening soon. She and Luca’s cousin Hamish quickly strike up a friendship over cannoli and begin to work together to determine what sort of business Luca is really in. On the club’s opening night, one of the cigarette girls is found dead in the basement. Although the police rule it as an accident, both Hamish and Reggie believe otherwise. Can the solve both the mystery around Luca and who killed this poor girl?
It’s not often that I find a book that can actually transport me to the location of the setting. But this book did just that. The descriptions that McMillan gave took me to Boston during the time frame when clubs were beginning to pop up all over the place. I could see the Flamingo and walk along the cobble stones in the north end. I cycled through Back Bay and felt the breeze off the water. I also quickly related to Hamish through his personal struggles and could feel the same emotions as they were splashed across the pages. However, I do wish there had been a third member of the detective group. I have become accustomed to some enjoyable banter between characters and just didn’t feel it was quite there with Reggie and Hamish. I’ve seen some authors throw in a another male character to the mix that breaks it up a bit between the romance and sleuthing and it works quite well. Even so, this is definitely an interesting new series that I will be following.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.