Review: The Mysterious Lady Law by Robert Appleton

February 24, 2011 Books, Reading, Reviews 0 ★★★½

Review: The Mysterious Lady Law by Robert AppletonThe Mysterious Lady Law by Robert Appleton
three-half-stars
In a time of grand airships and steam-powered cars, the death of a penniless young maid will hardly make the front page. But part-time airship waitress and music hall dancer Julia Bairstow is shattered by her sister's murder. When Lady Law, the most notorious private detective in Britain, offers to investigate the case pro bono, Julia jumps at the chance—even against the advice of Constable Al Grant, who takes her protection surprisingly to heart. Lady Law puts Scotland Yard to shame. She's apprehended Jack the Ripper and solved countless other cold-case crimes. No one knows how she does it, but it's brought her fortune, renown and even a title. But is she really what she claims to be—a genius at deducting? Or is Al right and she is not be trusted? Julia is determined to find out the truth, even if it means turning sleuth herself—and turning the tables on Lady Law...31,600 words
Published by Carina Press on 2011-01-31
Pages: 113
Format: eARC
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I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book nor the content of my review.

 

The Mysterious Lady Law is a quick and entertaining read, placing a traditional mystery in a steampunk setting. As fair warning, it clocks in around 31,000 words, making it a novella as opposed to a full-length novel, so if you’re reading it expecting a novel, you’ll run into problems that really aren’t problems considering that this book is not a novel. Everything about it is speedy, from the introduction to the mystery set up to the conclusion. I finished it in a couple of hours, and keeping in mind that I was reading a novella, I enjoyed it.

The mystery itself is fairly simple, but the steampunk setting adds a nice twist to what could have been a fairly typical Sherlock Holmesian whodunit. After her sister’s brutal murder, Julia Bairstow finds herself the surprised recipient of the services of Lady Law, even though her new friend (and possible beau) Constable Grant doesn’t trust the famous detective. I especially like that the sleuthing wasn’t left up to Lady Law, and we actually rarely see her. It’s an unusual choice for the title character to not be the point of view character, but I liked it. It made her more mysterious, and it gave Julia more of a platform to shine.

The mystery is pretty lightweight, and I figured out the “who” pretty well beforehand. What surprised me was the “how.” As I mentioned, the steampunk setting plays heavily into the mystery’s solution, and it was nice to see steampunk tech as more than set dressing.

If you’re looking for an easy, fun read with some nice steampunk elements, give The Mysterious Lady Law a try.

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