Review: ‘The Bachelor Girl’s Guide to Murder’ by Rachel McMillan

I have been anxiously awaiting The Bachelor Girl’s Guide to Murder after reading the novella that Rachel McMillan published in 2015. Not only is Toronto my new stomping grounds (in a “I still have to commute” sort of way) but the cozy historical mystery genre is my new addiction.

Synopsis: Most girls who find themselves at a murder scene would faint or run away, but Jem Watts and Merinda Herringford are made of sterner stuff. Instead the girls launch their own investigation, utilizing their talent for disguise and powers of observation, while managing to avoid the dangerous attentions of the Morality Squad who would like nothing more than to put these bachelor girls in chains for their indecent behaviour.

I had a lot of fun reading this book, especially since I was gallivanting around Toronto this week and was reminded of many of the streets and landmarks that it references. I’m tempted to go on a bit of a scavenger hunt to find all the different places that I haven’t been to, just to see what they look like with my own eyes. I’m not as much of a history buff as the author, but I find things like this interesting all the same.

When I readΒ A Singular and Whimsical Problem I didn’t get as much of the Sherlockian comparison, but after reading this full length novel I can definitely see that Jem is the Watson to Merinda’s Sherlock. I found Merinda difficult to like because she often brushes off Jem’s feelings and concerns, but it soon became apparent that her mind works differently. She, as with Sherlock, seems to fall into the autism spectrum, and has a hard time understanding the necessity/importance of cultural norms. I connected more with Jem and found myself looking forward to when the book focused more on her, but I’m hoping that with future books we will start to see Merinda grow and learn to interpret people’s emotions and actions better.

Overall, I think this is a great first novel, and I am looking forward to reading more of the Herringford & Watts Mysteries. There’s another novella coming out soon, and the second book is scheduled for Aug 1st publication. The next book features political activist and anarchist, Emma Goldman, which should be a very interesting read.

LC rating: 4-stars (great book, can’t wait for more)

NOTE: Although Goodreads lists A Singular and Whimsical Problem as a prequel, the events that take place in that novella are right in the middle of this story, and so I found myself confused at first. There’s a hint at the end of Chapter 8 to a case that precluded the novella, so I think it’s safe to assume that the novella’s events happen during Chapter 7.


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