The Vanishing Thief (A Victorian Bookshop Mystery, #1) by Kate Parker
Georgie Fenchurch owns Fenchurch’s books and has a sad past. She witnessed her parents getting killed and now holds the memory of the killer in her mind. Partly to help her lessen her guilt for not being able to save her parents, she works with the Archivist Society to help solve other mysteries.
The mystery in this book revolves around a man who a woman claimed was abducted and what the Archivist Society learns as they piece together his backstory to discover why. There are lots of possible suspects (all “people in society”) to choose from. While weaving and unwinding the tale, Kate Parker introduces us to many families and we learn their respective histories.
I thought the mystery was good and entertaining. And the book did a good job of introducing us to the various characters, many of which I really enjoyed and look forward to getting to know.
I had times where I wasn’t truly “lost” in the story though. But I do sometimes feel this way with the first books in a series. Especially when there are a lot of characters to get to know, like in this book. I imagine I’ll feel more pulled in on the next one, which I do plan to read.
I would recommend this cozy to people who enjoy reading about English society in the Victorian era.
At 30, Victorian bookshop owner Georgia Fenchurch knows she’s considered a middle-class old maid. That’s all right with her. She has the bookshop she inherited when her parents were murdered before her eyes, providing her with a living and something to keep her busy during the day. At night, she has another occupation. Driven by her need to see people rescued and justice done, she works with the Archivist Society.
In the foggy London of coal fires and carriages, glittering balls and Sherlock Holmes, the Archivist Society digs through musty records searching for the truth. They also don disguises and assume identities as they hunt for missing people, stolen treasures, and cunning murderers. Between her efforts for the Archivist Society and her management of the bookshop, Georgia doesn’t have time to be lonely.
When a respectable middle-class woman comes into her bookshop complaining that a duke has abducted her next door neighbor, Georgia thinks the investigation will be a short one. Instead, she finds herself embroiled in theft, blackmail, lies, secret marriages, and murder. The man Georgia is asked to find may be royalty, may be dead, and is definitely missing. The woman who hired her won’t reveal the truth. The accused duke may be a victim or a killer, but he certainly is involved in the hunt for the missing man. And every aristocrat who knew the missing man seems to be hiding their own dangerous lie.
As Georgia crosses London searching for the missing man, she finds herself staring into the face of the one person she has wanted to capture for a dozen years. The one who got away. The man who killed her parents.