Confession: I don’t do scary. There is no amount of money in this world that could tempt me to watch a horror flick or go to a haunted house. So, I rarely read mysteries. If I choose to read a mystery it’s because either a- I’m already familiar with the entire story line, b- I’ve heard it has enough comic relief to balance out the intensity for me or c- the cover was super cute, and the title had regency in it, so it’s couldn’t be that intense, right? At least that’s what compelled me to download Regencyland: The Bristle Park Murders by Ellie Thornton, and I was not disappointed. Think Miss Congeniality (which I love) meets Austenland (which I also love). I never would have put the two together, but it’s a beautiful combination my friends.
“Elizabeth Shea has one goal: be promoted to Series Crimes with the Sacramento Police Department. At twenty-five, she’s the youngest detective in her department’s history—a position she’s lived for. When a murder case is up for grabs, Shea thinks everything’s about to change. Instead of getting the high-profile case, she’s assigned babysitting detail for a Hollywood star in a theme vacation destination called Regencyland. Despite being frustrated with her boss, her empire-waist dress, her lack of regency knowledge, and being unarmed, Shea’s determined to do her best. Things are going fine until one of the male actors gets under her skin, she starts to fall for another actor in a cravat, and she discovers the woman in her care really is in danger. With her charge’s life, her career, and her heart at stake, Shea will have to be on her guard 24/7 to get the happy ending she hopes for and discover who is behind the Bristle Park murders.”
The writing is witty and entertaining. The characters are just right for a mystery, she delved into their lives just enough to get you invested but not too much to give away the intrigue. This led to it not being obvious who was a good guy or bad guy. Not just that, but just like a great writer, she made it hard for me to decide who I wanted to be a good guy and who I wanted to be the bad guy. She cultivated fascinating conversations, sassy comeback and a couple twists that kept me guessing for most of the novel.
I can now safely add Ellie Thornton’s mystery to my list of “mysteries that I love”, which currently only includes Flavia de Luce stories, so it’s a pretty exclusive list. –N.C.
*There were a couple of innuendos that bumped it from low to moderate, but really it’s like a high low or a low moderate in romance.
**it is a murder mystery so there is some violence, but I wouldn’t necessarily label it violent, again it’s like a high low or a low moderate in violence.