Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Book Review: City of Fortune by Victoria Thompson (Counterfeit Lady #6)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Good story with great characters
Cons: Plot could have been a little stronger (but still entertaining)
The Bottom Line:
Day at the horse track
Sets a new con in motion
Something different, fun

Racing to Pull off a Con

As much as I enjoy mysteries, it’s always nice to read something else every so often.  While Victoria Thompson’s Counterfeit Lady books are still crime fiction related, they involve a conwoman who is using her skills for good, so the plots unfold a little differently than a traditional mystery.  City of Fortune is the most recent entry in this fun series.

This book takes us to summer of 1919 where newlywed Elizabeth Bates has been invited to the horse racing track for the day.  Her husband, Gideon, is a lawyer, and one of his clients is a race horse owner with two big horses in the race that day.  Part of the reason Elizabeth is there is befriend the man’s daughter, Irene Noland, who might need a little refinement in order to land a society husband.  Of course, since Elizabeth is new to society herself, having been a conwoman before meeting Gideon, she isn’t sure she has all the skills to teach Irene.

But it means that Elizabeth is on hand to see two controversial races and the injury of Cal, the Noland’s jockey.  The more Elizabeth gets to know Irene, the more she realizes that she needs the special help Elizabeth can provide.  Can Elizabeth come up with a way to help Irene get a happy ever after?

Like with the last book in the series, I felt like this one was a bit straightforward.  It would also help a little of Elizabeth had some true stake in the outcome.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it, especially trying to figure out exactly where it was going.  And there were a couple of fun twists, one of which I spotted early but the other of which I didn’t expect at all.

The con is the main focus of this book, without any time for any sub-plots.  That means a few of the series regulars have smaller roles or don’t appear at all.  I did miss them, but I understand why they weren’t included.  Elizabeth and Gideon are a great couple, and I like spending time with them.  We get the story from their third person points of view, and those switches let us really get to appreciate them.  I did really like Irene and some of the other new characters we met along the way, which did help me get into the story.

It's always interesting to see life in the past in the books in this series.  I felt like I was back in 1919 as the events unfolded.  Real history isn’t a focus of the book, but I did enjoy the few mentions of other things happening in the world at this time.

While this isn’t a humorous mystery, there are some funny moments along the way coming from the characters and their relationships.  You could jump in here, but knowing the characters better would make you appreciate those moments more.  One line in particular gave me a very good laugh.  (And no, I’m not going to spoil it for you.)

Ultimately, City of Fortune is a fun caper.  If you are looking for something a little different, I recommend this book and series.

Don’t get conned.  Read the rest of the Counterfeit Lady books.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book.

1 comment:

  1. I like historical cozy mysteries, and this series looks good. Thanks for sharing this, Mark.


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