Match Made for Murder
There are a lot of historical mysteries set during World War II, but one thing that attracted me to the Sparks & Bainbridge Mysteries is that they are set in London right after the war. I thought that different setting, plus the premise of the series, would make for an interesting read. Overall, I enjoyed The Right Sort of Man, the first in this series.
The book takes us to London in 1946 and introduces us to Miss Iris Sparks and Mrs. Gwen Bainbridge, two women looking for fresh starts in the after math of the war. Even though they are little more than acquaintances, they join together to form The Right Sort Marriage Bureau to help those who are looking to move forward and find some happiness now that the war is over. Essentially, they are working as professional match makers. They’ve only been opened a few months, but they have made several successful matches.
They think they are off to a good start for their latest client until she is found murdered and her potential match is arrested for the crime. When word gets out, their reputations take a hit, both professionally and personally, something they can’t afford to have happen. Can they clear their client of the crime and restore their reputations in the bargain?
I will admit, it took me a while to get into the book. While it is nice that we don’t get a lot of exposition at the beginning, I still didn’t quite feel like I knew who Miss Sparks and Mrs. Bainbridge were until I was a little ways in. Meanwhile, it seemed to take a bit for the mystery to truly get going. I also didn’t care for Miss Sparks at first.
However, once I got into the book, I was hooked. The mystery was great, with some twists that surprised me and a suspenseful yet logical climax.
As we get to know the main characters, we also get some strong sub-plots involving them. By the time those truly kicked into high gear, I had grown to really care for both of them, so I was fully invested, with these sub-plots keeping me just as invested as I was in the main mystery.
The further we got into the book, the more Miss Sparks and Mrs. Bainbridge became solid characters, helped by those sub-plots. I could also feel their friendship solidifying and watch them growing. I’m anxious to see where things will go for them next.
I was expecting to feel like I was back in 1946, and I wasn’t disappointed. With my American view of the war and it’s after math, I hadn’t really thought about the picture this book painted of that year for those who lived in London. I appreciated being able to get a glimpse of it.
But what I wasn’t expecting was the humor. The further into the book I got, the more I was laughing at the character interactions and the situations they were facing. This makes the more serious moments hit that much harder.
For me, this book was more in the traditional camp based on some mild content. As long as you keep that in mind going in, you’ll be fine.
I will be back to find out what happens to these characters next. Anyone looking for a fun mystery set in the after math of World War II will be glad they picked up The Right Sort of Man.