In her latest Emmeline Kirby/Gregory Longdon mystery, Daniella Bernett brings a new twist to the relationship between the two principals. In the wake of a disturbing revelation about Gregory’s past, Emmeline is wary about the prospect of marriage to a man she’s not sure she actually knows. However, with a new job as an editorial director at The Clarion, things are generally looking up for Emmeline.
However, Gregory isn’t the only one in this story hiding something. This novel is suffused with dark secrets that date back to World War II. Among them is the shameful heritage of art theft by the Nazis. When Emmeline’s best friend Maggie Roth learns that The Clarion’s owner is trying to pass off one of her family’s Nazi-looted artworks as his own, this places Emmeline in a tough position. Especially since the man isn’t likely to win prizes for having a winning personality.
Given the set-up, it’s not hard to guess who’s going to end up dead. Or that Maggie will come under suspicion. The real suspense comes in watching Emmeline navigate the perilous path of her investigation into how Maggie’s painting ended up in her late boss’ hands. Her journalistic plunge into the matter has her crossing paths with a high-level intelligence official, who puts pressure on Maggie’s husband (a supremely-secretive MI5 agent with problems of his own) and a foreign diplomat (who comes across a bit like a British version of “Deep Throat”). Emmeline risks life and limb to expose a traitor with IRA connections, while trying to pry more information from Gregory about his own past.
While this novel is rife with suspense, it also manages to bring its well-defined characters together in ways that are always interesting and often amusing. Gregory, as always, comes off as a charming rogue—maybe. His relationship with Emmeline provides the heart of the story, while his clashes and (very occasional) alliances with police authorities, keep you enthralled in, not only the murder mystery, but the mystery of Gregory Longdon. A puzzle that this book teases out even further at the end.
If you enjoy romantic suspense with a healthy serving of history and social conscience, you’ll love this book.