When I picked this up, I was looking for something cosy, a bit Kerry Greenwood-ish, a bit Mary Stewart-ish. Mostly crime, maybe some romance, probably a main female character being terribly capable. Most of my wishes were granted: the heroine might not be quite as striking as Greenwood’s Phryne, and Weaver’s writing certainly isn’t as evocative as Mary Stewart’s (particularly not of location), but it’s a nice nibble.
The story opens with Amory being surprised by two visits: one, from her somewhat-estranged husband Milo, last known to be gallivanting about the Continent and linked with plenty of other women, and the second from the man she jilted to marry Milo — a man to whom she’d been engaged. Thus the romantic stage is set: who will she choose? Who really cares about her: her husband Milo, or her ex-fiancé Gil? That tussle is the constant backdrop to the mystery, featuring the unexpected murder of Gil’s sister’s fiancé… whom Gil never did get along with.
It’s a pretty obvious setup, but that’s kind of why I found it a relaxing read. Amory isn’t super-prepared for everything or as in control as a character like Phryne, but she does wear some nice clothes, and isn’t obviously a terrible person (if a bit daft for ever trusting Milo, maybe). Milo isn’t as charming as you’re meant to find him (I’m not distracted from the fact that he hasn’t explained at all why he was away from Amory so long or why he’s suddenly interested again), but I wasn’t expecting astounding characters and complex arcs. Putting aside my critical eye and just relaxing with the story, I had a pretty good time, and I’ve picked up the other books (completely perfect to coddle me through the cold I’m suffering, ugh) from the library. If you’re into cosies, this is worth a look; if you’re not, this won’t convince you.