Posts Tagged ‘Evelyn James’

Murder and Mascara: A Clara Fitzgerald Mystery (The Clara Fitzgerald Mysteries Book 9)

Clara Fitzgerald is approached by an old school friend – Abigail Sommers – to find out who is trying to sabotage a trade fair she is organising.  The fair is taking place in Brighton Pavilion and Clara is a member of the committee which oversees the Pavilion so she finds her loyalties somewhat divided.

Albion Industries are showcasing their new lipstick – Pearl Pink – and it seems someone doesn’t want the launch to go ahead.  When one of the sales girls is found murdered things look grim for Albion especially as there have been several episodes of sabotage as well.  Clara finds herself working to save Abigail from being charged with the murder.

I enjoyed this interesting 1920s mystery.  I like Clara herself and her ingenuity in investigating her cases.  The background of this one – the beauty industry is well done and it shows women trying to balance careers and home life and at the same time managing to look beautiful and well groomed.  Clara is also facing a return of someone from her past and she has mixed feelings about that.

If you enjoy historical crime stories such as Carola Dunn’s novels featuring Daisy Dalrymple then you will probably enjoy Clara Fitzgerald.  The books can be read in any order but it is better to read them in the order in which they were written.

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The Woman Died Thrice: A Clara Fitzgerald Mystery (The Clara Fitzgerald Mysteries Book 8)

Clara Fitzgerald along with her brother, Tommy and their friend and housekeeper, Annie are on a charabanc tour of the Lake District.  The holiday is a thank you from a grateful client.  Clara has doubts about it and wonders whether the holiday is something she is going to enjoy as enforced idleness isn’t her thing.  But she is soon interested in her fellow passengers, especially the obnoxious Mrs Hunt who seems to delete in making nasty remarks to every one else.

When Mrs Hunt suffers a couple of apparent murder attempts, she asks Clara to investigate as she fears for her life.  Then Mrs Hunt is found drowned in Windermere and Clara realises that she is going to have to investigate as the police seem disposed to treat the matter as suicide.

I enjoyed reading this historical mystery novel though it didn’t hold my attention as much as previous books in the series have done.  I felt the book lost its way somewhere in the middle though Clara is as interesting as ever, as are Tommy and Annie.  I also felt there weren’t enough clues for the reader to actually work out who the murderer was and too much information came to light too late in the story.

That said, it hasn’t put me off the series and I shall still be looking at out for additions to the series.  I think the mysteries work better when they are set in Clara’s usual location of Brighton. This series is better read in the order in which the books were published.

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Grave Suspicions of Murder: A Clara Fitzgerald Mystery (The Clara Fitzgerald Mysteries Book 7)

Solicitor and philanthropist Isaac Graves collapses and dies at his desk one day.  Most people believe he died from overwork and certainly a post mortem cannot find any suspicious circumstances but Graves’ business partner approaches Clara Fitzgerald and asks her to investigate and see what she can find out.  Confined to her home by an unfortunate accident, Clara must investigate at arms length and friend and housekeeper, Annie Green must do her sleuthing for her.  At first she is reluctant to do so feeling her skills in that respect to be lacking but she soon finds some hidden talents for the work in herself.

Clara is totally baffled by the case at first and is inclined to see it as a mysterious death from natural causes until gradually strange coincidences start to come to light and small unrelated facts start to slot together in her mind.  This is a well written and intriguing mystery set in 1920s Brighton.  Clara, her wheelchair bound brother, Tommy and their friend and housekeeper, Annie make an excellent team and they are gradually building up a rapport with the police and various other people in the town.

If you want a light mystery with a historical background then I can recommend this book and this series.   I have read and enjoyed them all.

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The Poison Pen: A Clara Fitzgerald Mystery (The Clara Fitzgerald Mysteries Book 6)

When Clara Fitzgerald us asked it look into a spate of poison pen letters she is doubtful about her ability to solve the mystery and thinks it should be a case for the police.  But she lets herself be persuaded into investigating.

Meanwhile Inspector Park-Coombs has a commission for her.  He believes there is someone at the police station who is the pay of criminals but he doesn’t want to make it an official investigation if he can discover the culprit by unofficial means.

So Clara has her hands full with two cases and then Tommy, her brother, meets a new friend and Clara finds herself acting as peacemaker between him and Annie their friend and housekeeper.

I enjoyed this entertaining and well written mystery set in the 1920s in Brighton.  Clara is developing into a strong character who is not afraid of talking to anyone in order to get to the bottom of the mysteries she has to investigate.  I like Tommy and Annie as well and between them they make a formidable team. Currently this is the latest volume in the series and I hope there are going to be some more in due course.

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Mistletoe and Murder: A Clara Fitzgerald Mystery (The Clara Fitzgerald Mysteries Book 5)

Clara Fitzgerald receives an unexpected invitation to spend Christmas with the elderly Miss Sampford at her house in London.  The invitation is extended to Clara’s brother Tommy and Annie who is their maid and housekeeper. Miss Sampford wants Clara to investigate the ghostly happenings which are scaring away her staff and which she fears may have an all to human origin.  Not to put too fine a point on it, she fears for her life.

An eccentric collection of relatives, ghost hunters and Clara and her associates is assembled just before Christmas in snowy London and everything is set for some spooky and not so spooky happenings.  Can Clara discover what is going on before her client is the victim of the mysterious goings on?

I enjoyed this fifth volume of Clara’s cases.  It is well plotted with some dubious and not so dubious characters.  I thought Mr Andrews, the ghost hunter was particularly obnoxious though of course his attitude to woman was all too typical of the period.

If you are looking for a new historical crime series then I can thoroughly recommend this one.  The books can be read as standalone novels or as part of a series.

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Carnival of Criminals: A Clara Fitzgerald Mystery (The Clara Fitzgerald Mysteries Book 4)

Clara Fitzgerald, Brighton’s first woman private investigator, pays a visit to the funfair and views the House of Curios.  There is an exhibit of an Egyptian mummy which looks somewhat less that thousands of years old to Clara.

When it turns out to be the corpse of a murdered criminal Clara finds herself involved in a dangerous case which will take her into Brighton’s criminal underworld. Meanwhile, her brother Tommy has found a case of his own to investigate which involves a missing man who was interned during World War I and never returned home.

I enjoyed reading this entertaining and well written nineteen twenties mystery.  Clara and Tommy make a good team together with Annie their maid of all work and friend.  I thought the other characters were well drawn too and the plot was intriguing and kept me guessing almost until the last page.  If you enjoy series such as Carola Dunne’s Daisy Dalrymple then you may enjoy Clara Fitzgerald as well,

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Murder in Mink: A Clara Fitzgerald Mystery (The Clara Fitzgerald Mysteries Book 3)

Clara and Tommy are invited to stay with some distant cousins to attend a wedding.  They do not know their cousins very well and the invitation is a bit of a surprise but as Clara has no urgent cases needing her attention they decide to go.  It is soon clear that the family do not get on together with an outspoken Uncle, a stepmother who seems to be very unpopular except with her husband and a silent bridegroom.  When murder follows a disruption at the wedding Clara finds herself involved in another investigation.

I thought this was the best book in the series that I’ve read so far and I really enjoyed reading it and trying to work out who was responsible for the murder.  I didn’t work it out until very close to the end.  Clara is an interesting character and Tommy is taking a bigger part in her investigations too which I think adds interest to the stories.

If you’re looking for a new historical mystery series then you could do worse than read this one.  It is well written with believable characters and situations.

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