Review: Murder in Belgravia by Lynn Brittney

synopsis:

The first in an exciting new Mayfair 100 series of nostalgic crime sagas.

Set against the backdrop of WW1, Mayfair 100 is the telephone number for a small specially-formed crimebusting team based in a house in Mayfair. London, 1915. Just 10 months into the First World War, the City is flooded with women taking over the work vacated by men in the Armed Services. Chief Inspector Peter Beech, a young man invalided out of the war in one of the first battles, is faced with investigating the murder of an aristocrat and the man’s wife, a key witness and suspect, will only speak to a woman about the unpleasant details of the case. After persuading the Chief Commissioner to allow him to set up a clandestine team to deal with such situations, Beech puts together a small motley crew of well-educated women and professional policemen. As Beech, Victoria, Caroline, Rigsby and Tollman investigate the murder, they delve into the seedier parts of WWI London, taking them from criminal gangs to brothels and underground drug rings supplying heroin to the upper classes. Will the Mayfair 100 team solve the murder? And if they do, will they be allowed to continue working as a team?

review:

A very thrilling historical mystery. This one starts slowly, like a straightforward whodunnit, but quickly evolves in something much more complex and fascinating. Set in London during World War I, we have soldiers, street gangs, prostitution rings and much, much more, and it all works together well to create an intricate mystery.

There is a progressive police inspector who decides to put together a team of individuals to help solve his case, including a female lawyer and doctor which was unheard of at the time. There is much to be said here about the advancement of women in society as the war began to change their roles. As there was a lack of men, women slowly but surely began to come into positions formerly held only by men – with much disdain from certain individuals. And I love how this story put women front and center as an integral, intelligent, important part of the work.

The author uses real historical locations, events and people (the ones I didn’t recognize, I looked up to get a visual) and I learned even more about this period.

This has a similar feel to Victoria Thompson’s Gaslight Mystery Series that I’m always raving about – if you enjoy those books, you will enjoy this as well!

Thank you to Netgalley, Lynn Brittney and Mirror Books for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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