by Margaret Brownley
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Shiloh Run Press
Released: December 1, 2014
Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through Netgalley.
Book Description from Goodreads:
Pinkerton detective Jennifer Layne is no stranger to undercover work. But posing as a lady companion named Amy at Miss Lillian’s Parlor House and Boots is a first for her. She’s finally landed a high-profile case and is on the trail of the notorious Gunnysack Bandit, when one of Miss Lillian’s girls essential to her investigation meets an untimely demise. Only a handful of people are in the house at the time of her death, including handsome Tom Colton, a former Texas Ranger determined to clear his brother’s name. Amy has many reasons to suspect Tom of murder—and one very personal reason to hope that she’s wrong about him.
Petticoat Detective is a Christian historical romance set in 1883 in America. The historical backdrop is not the focus of the story, but the author took the time to learn everyday details and about the attitudes of the time period, and she used those details where appropriate. Happily, the hero and heroine spend a night talking about their pasts, so they have something to base their attraction on besides just physical looks.
The story has "a comedy of errors" characterizing many of the encounters. I normally don't mind that in romances, but we're obviously supposed to respect Jennifer's ability as a detective. While it was a matter of "if it can go wrong, it did go wrong" rather than a case of bad judgment, I find it difficult to respect error-prone detectives. Since the vital clues are withheld until the "whodunit" reveal, it wasn't a guessable, clue-based mystery, anyway.
The Christian element was the heroine realizing how God works in mysterious ways. Also, various characters try to convince the good-time girls to repent and become honest, church-attending citizens. It's not as bad as it sounds--comedy, remember?--but I doubt non-Christians would appreciate these scenes. There's some depth to the good-time girls, and the solution involves the Church ladies helping the "fallen women" find jobs they prefer rather than dropping their concern after "saving their souls."
There were no sex scenes. There was no bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this novel to fans of romantic comedies.
If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.
Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.