Saturday, December 7, 2013

Review: The Vanishing Thief

The Vanishing Thief (Victorian Bookshop Mystery, #1)

Georgia Fenchurch is an antiquarian bookseller in The Vanishing Thief by Kate Parker. She is also, unbeknownst to most, a member of the Archivist Society, an organization that investigates disappearances and other delicate matters. Georgia has never married and is comfortable in her middle class life, and running the bookstore with her beautiful assistant Emma and working on Society cases takes up most of her time. 

Georgia is approached by a distraught young woman who wants the Society to find her neighbor, Nicholas Drake, who has been abducted. She suspects the Duke of Blackford has taken him for nefarious purposes. Georgia is reluctant to take the case at first but decides to pursue it. It is not long before she is asked to drop the case by no less than two members of the peerage. It turns out Drake is a thief and a blackmailer, and has been victimizing the upper crust, and there are several aristocrats who would prefer he not be found. One of those is the Duke of Blackford, who is a prime suspect in Drake’s disappearance.

Georgia has a complicated relationship with Blackford from the beginning- she is torn between viewing him as a suspect and a grudging admiration for the man, which soon turns into attraction. For his part, he seems to both hinder the investigation and help Georgia from time to time, even coming to her aid when she is in danger. Georgia soon discovers that Blackford has his own reasons for wanting Drake found- but Blackford wants to do the finding! More suspects among the aristocracy come to light and Georgia and the Society have their hands full finding out who is lying to them- it appears Drake has no shortage of enemies. Secrets are revealed and there are a few surprises too.

I liked Georgia a lot, she is a fun character, brave and determined. The fact that she is not of the aristocracy makes for a fun dynamic with Blackford and the other members of the gentry she comes in contact with. She is more a regular person, which I think makes it easy to relate to her. The supporting cast is good, from Georgia’s assistant Emma who comes from a dubious background to Lady Westover, an older woman who helps the Society gain access to the upper crust. I did at times have a little trouble keeping track of all the developments, I found myself having to flip back to reacquaint myself with a clue that had been laid down, but maybe that was just me. Also the ending seemed a little far- fetched to me, the reveal of who the villain is and the showdown seemed a little melodramatic. On the other hand, I really liked the scene where Georgia and Emma attend a masquerade ball in stunningly beautiful dresses –they are there to find a killer but are they the hunters or the hunted? They get separated and Georgia has to navigate the crowd, looking for a possible victim and a killer in a sea of costumes. I thought the author did a great job evoking the mood and sheer luxury of such an event- easily my favorite part of the book. Very well done.  

The Vanishing Thief is a fun cozy with interesting characters and a nice mystery. It is the first in the Victorian Bookshop series and I will definetly watch for the second installment. If you like cozies or mysteries set in the Victorian era, this is highly recommended. 

10 comments:

  1. Oh, this is definitely going onto my Goodreads TBR list! Great review; you've really piqued my interest. Victorian cozy + bookshop would have been almost enough, but throw in the plot and characters as you describe them, and I'm sold.

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    1. Thanks Lark! I really enjoyed this- the farther I got into it the better it got, one of those books I wanted to keep reading. I think you'll like it.

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  2. This sounds like a fun read! I have never read a Victorian era cozy before, and now I really want to. Great review!

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    1. This was my first one too, and I really liked it. The heroine was a lot of fun and the book was a page turner once it got going. Thanks for commenting Michelle!

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  3. This looks fun! I enjoy heroines who love books.

    Joy's Book Blog

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    1. It was a lot of fun, I really liked it. I liked the bookstore angle too. It took me a chapter or two to get into it, and then after that I was really into it.

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  4. This sounds like a great little read. I am a fan of cozy mysteries, and I haven't read any yet that are from the Victorian Era!

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    1. I hope you give this one a try, its good stuff and a page turner (at least I thought so). I haven't read many cozies but I always get a kick out of the witty titles but this one was a winner for me!

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  5. This looks like a fantastic read. I definitely intend to try it.

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    1. Yay, I hope you like it- I thought it was fun!

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