Lady Hardcastle Mysteries #5 by T.E. Kinsey
Published on: April 18, 2019
I love a book that makes you smile while reading it and then leaves a smile long after.
“We should at least be able to secure a conviction for cruelty to books.” – Flo
January 1910. A journalist has been killed in a suspicious blaze. Everything points to a group of suffragettes, but the apparent culprit insists she is innocent.
When Lady Hardcastle receives a letter from a suffragette requesting her urgent help, the retired spy turned sleuth knows only she stands between an accused young woman and the gallows. Evidence at the scene makes Lizzie Worrel’s innocence difficult to believe, and with the police treating it as an open-and-shut case of arson, Lady Hardcastle faces a barrage of resistance as she tries to dig out the truth.
With her trusted maid and confidante, the formidable Flo, Lady Hardcastle sets off in pursuit of the truth as time runs out for the accused suffragette. Was she set up? And if so, is the real culprit a traitor to the cause—or part of a darker conspiracy?
One noticeable thing upon picking this book up is the amount of dialogue or conversations that occur. Typically, one sees a mixture of dialogue broken up by paragraphs providing additional insight or mood. Or, if perhaps you are reading a suspense novel you might see less dialogue and more mood-building paragraphs. However, The Burning Issue of the Day is almost entirely made up of conversations – approximately 95%, I would guess. At first, there was a bit of adjustment on my part as I had to grow accustomed to this style, but once I settled in I felt like part of the gang. Because the story is told from Flo’s point of view and almost entirely through conversations, I felt like I was an additional person there at tea time or sitting next to them as they held discussions on whom they should spy on.
An aspect of the book that some might really enjoy is the code breaking opportunities. There is a full page of a code that almost invites the reader to break it before the characters do. The author, through Lady Hardcastle, even tells you what the type of cipher is needed to break it. At the end of the novel, the author provides a section on how Emily cracked the code and even teaches it to you should you ever want to try it out.
This was my first Lady Hardcastle mystery and I had no trouble jumping in and understanding relationships and context as well as never felt as if the previous 4 books were required reading. I appreciated how Lady Hardcastle and Flo were able to form a good team with others to sleuth this mystery out and enjoyed being brought in with them as they were trying to plot out their next course of action. But my lasting impression is how likeable the characters are and their display of overwhelming optimism and cheerfulness.
I won this book in a GoodReads giveaway and would like to thank the author/publisher for this book and I provided an honest opinion.