Historical Fiction Mystery

Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder by T.A. Willberg Review

There’s something magical about historical mystery Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder. About a secret underground detective agency, this murder mystery is set in London in the 1950s.

Tripwires. Trapdoors. Skeleton Keys. Messages and maps written in invisible ink. Hidden tunnels, wondrous inventions, and secrets upon secrets upon secrets — Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder is positively edible! Welcome to Miss Brickett’s, a private detection agency working out of a hidden maze of underground halls and tunnels beneath London. A murderer concealed among them. And it all comes together into one of the best mysteries I’ve read in a long while.

Main character Marion Lane is too bright, analytical, and determinedly independent for a woman of the 1950s. Yet, she refused to let the social conventions of her time slow her down (i.e., hard no to marriage). Her quirky confidence is a delight to read! As is her friendship with father-figure Frank. When Frank is falsely accused of a murder committed within Miss Brickett’s hallowed halls, trainee Marion embarks upon a dangerous mission and investigates.

Marion Lane is an intricate puzzle of a story. The pace is slow-burn, and the mystery unspools leisurely, seductively. The spy stuff — all the gadgets and gizmos — it’s like stepping into a new world. It’s some of the best escapism I’ve had in a while, and one of my favorite cozy mystery reads, too. I’m already excited to see what book two (this time set outside Miss Brickett’s) holds.

What’s more to love: a possibly (maybe) burgeoning romance which I would be here for; one of the access points to Miss Brickett’s is a crowded, little bookshop (the world-building here is phenomenal); the vibe is Sherlock Holmes, but with magic.

“Now she realized how significant this unpretentious facade was, not just as a defense against public intrusion and curiosity, but as a reminder that sometimes the extraordinary existed just below the surface of the ordinary. The bookshop was a link to the outside world, to stability and normality, and a portal into the mysterious and intoxicating world of Inquiry.”

T.A. Willberg

Book: Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder
Published: Trapeze
Pages: 336
Publication Date: December 29th, 2020
Stars: 5/5

Jonathan Ball Publishers kindly sent me a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion, rating, or the content of my review.

2 comments

  1. This sounds absolutely delightful! Cozy mystery indeed! I’ll be adding this to my wish list because who doesn’t like magic and feeling good?! Great review– thank you!!

    Liked by 1 person

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