The Heiress of Linn Hagh

(Detective Lavender Mysteries #1)

I picked this up hoping for a clever city bow runner coming out to the rural area to settle the mystery of a lost heiress– with delightful gothic overtones, some levity provided by the detective’s constable sidekick, and perhaps a touch of romance.

I did get some competently researched historic drama, and some tangled webs of deception and avarice worthy of a gothic romance– but it fell flat for me.

I didn’t really like Lavender. There’s a scene on the way to Linn Hagh where he and the constable are set upon by highway robbers, and a mysterious Spanish Lady ends up saving his life with her pistol. From that point on, Lavender rubbed me the wrong way with his condescending, patriarchal, self centeredness in regards to this Spanish Lady. I can’t say that Lavender’s attitude was any way out of the norm for that time, it just wasn’t to my taste.

There’s a lot of predictable characters in this, a mad brother accused of murder, a helpful and sincere maidservant, a greedy older brother with stained shirts (just to drive home the point even more of what a terrible slob he is) and I missed the nuances that would have given the slow unveiling of the surprise character more punch.

And the women characters. Sigh. It’s a tall order to please modern sensibilities with the narrow range of roles women were allowed to play, but is it possible to make the intelligent benefactress just intelligent and not require her to wear a ridiculous hat? or can we have the Spanish Lady with enough bravery to shoot down a robber not over-react with hysterics when gifted with money under what appears at first glance to be salacious over tones?

And lets not have the young gypsy girl meet a predictable end, shall we?

I read to fall in love with the characters, and for me, they fell flat. Others more interested in a complicated murder plot, or historical details will definitely enjoy this one.