I am delighted to share my review for the first book in A World’s End Bureau Victorian Mystery Series, this first book is The Woman Who Spoke To Spirits by Alys Clare. This is the first time I have read a book by this author and I was delighted to see that there is a whole host of books by Alys for me to buy and read.
Let me show you what it is all about…
Introducing private investigators Lily Raynor and Felix Wilbraham in the first of the brand-new World’s End Bureau Victorian mystery series.
London, 1880. “I’m dreadfully afraid someone is threatening to kill my wife …” When accounts clerk Ernest Stibbins approaches the World’s End investigation bureau with wild claims that his wife Albertina has been warned by her spirit guides that someone is out to harm her, the bureau’s owner Lily Raynor and her new employee Felix Wilbraham are initially sceptical. How are the two private enquiry agents supposed to investigate threats from beyond the grave?
But after she attends a séance at the Stibbins family home, Lily comes to realize that Albertina is in terrible danger. And very soon so too is Lily herself …
This is the first book in A World’s End Bureau – Victorian Mystery series. The World’s End Bureau is owned and run by Lily Raynor in London in the 1880s. She has had some success with her business and is now finding it difficult to keep up with the admin side. She employs Felix Wilbraham to help on the clerical aspects, but soon he proves his worth and helps Lily in a series of investigations.
One such investigation comes by way of Ernest Stibbins who is concerned as to his wife’s safety. She is a medium and it soon becomes apparent to Lily that Albertina is indeed in danger. Along with this investigation, there is another that concerns a young man and an actress. While the cases are very different they both lead Lily and Felix on a route that takes them and the reader into various areas of Victorian London.
Being as this is the first in the series, it was good to get to know the two main characters as they got to know each other. I liked how there is mutual respect between them, especially as Felix is working for a female and this is an unusual thing at this time and for this profession.
The author has done a good job of creating an atmospheric read and delves into some unsavoury sides of the era. The murkiness and the ominous feelings at times provide an eeriness to the story. this is particularly good for the investigation into the Stibbins’s.
I did find the pacing of the story fluctuated, at the time it felt a little slow, but on the whole, it worked well. There was a good deal of intrigue and I was so very curious as to how the author would conclude the mysteries.
This was an enjoyable read and one that kept me intrigued throughout. I am looking forward to reading the next in the series to see how the author proceeds with not only Lily and Felix but also to see if she incorporates a couple of other characters that I think would make good additions to future investigations.
A good start to a series for mystery readers and a good atmospheric read and one I would definitely recommend.
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