A Golden Cage
by Shelley Freydont
Trade Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Released: June 7, 2016
Source: Review copy from the publisher.
Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
With her mother in Europe, Deanna is staying with the Ballard family, who agree to chaperone her through the summer season and guide her toward an advantageous marriage proposal—or so her mother hopes. Relishing her new freedom in this very liberal household, Deanna is more interested in joining a ladies’ bicycling club and befriending an actress named Amabelle Deeks.
Then they find a young actor bludgeoned to death on the conservatory floor at Bonheur, the Ballards’ sumptuous “cottage.” Deanna recognizes him as an actor who performed at the birthday fete for a prominent, moralistic judge the night before. But why was he at Bonheur? And where is Amabelle?
Concerned her new friend may be in danger—or worse—Deanna enlists the help of her intrepid maid, Elspeth, to find Amabelle before the villain of this drama demands an encore.
A Golden Cage is a romance and mystery set in 1895 in Newport. It's the second book in the series, but this story didn't spoil the previous whodunits. You don't need to read the previous novels to follow this one, but you might understand the character's relationships better if you read them in order.
In the first book in the series, I loved how the four friends from different stations in life worked together to discover whodunit. But in this book, Will (the police) is ineffectual and hardly plays a role. Elspeth and Joe discover a few clues, but their main role was to keep Deanna from getting caught when breaking into homes and to prevent her from getting hurt while investigating.
I thought Deanna might get wiser about what situations are dangerous, but we're told that her mother was never able to teach her this so I doubt it'll happen anytime soon. When Joe pointed out that Deanna could have been in danger, Gran Gwen just laughed and said that Deanna can take care of herself. Um, since when? She has no knowledge of how to protect herself!
Much of the story was romantic comedy type stuff involving Joe not realizing that he loves Deanna. We also get quite a lot of ultra-liberal feminist rants by Gran Gwen and Laurette, usually against "moralists." When it was clear that the mystery was going nowhere (which means it's pretty simple) and that they'd solve it a lot sooner if everyone would just talk to each other, it seemed pretty clear who the murderer was. And, yes, I guessed right. But there was no justice.
Basically, this story didn't really hold my interest. "Immoral behavior" by secondary characters was implied, but there were no sex scenes. There was occasional use of bad language.
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.