Sometimes I get so caught up in where and when I review a book that one slips through the cracks. This review was published in Historical Novels Review a few months ago. It was one of my top pics for 2009. Such a fabulous book and after reading it I vowed to read other books by her. Thanks to Vivienne at Serendipity for her Monday Mailbox listing that jogged my scattered memory.
Here is the review, late but never the less a favorite.
THE CRIMSON ROOMS, Katharine McMahon, Penguin Group, 2010, $25.99, 384pp, 9780-399-15622-9
Set in London in 1924 just after World War I, Evelyn Gifford, is a young lawyer of thirty, single, living home with her mother, aunt, and grandmother. When her brother is killed in the war, her father, now deceased saw the need to provide an education for Evelyn. After receiving her credentials, seeking gainful credible employment proves difficult in this male dominated profession, yet she ultimately is hired by Mr. Breen, of Breen & Balcombe.
Evelyn worships her brother James, his memory is vivid, his death continues to disturb her sleep. They were close. She opens the door one evening and is confronted with a woman who introduces herself as Meredith. In tow is a small boy, the resemblance to James is striking. When the young woman announces she knew her brother intimately, and that this is his son Edmund, Evelyn has no doubt but to believe her. Meredith’s appearance raises more questions about her brother’s past she must ultimately face.
While sorting through this turn of events, a murder of a young newlywed occurs and Evelyn’s firm takes the case. The victim killed by a bullet through the heart, allegedly by her husband, a veteran. All evidence points to his guilt yet unabated, with determination to help save his life, Evelyn searches for evidence to clear him. In the process of the investigation Evelyn meets someone who alters her life in ways she never imagines. Was it perchance or planned?
Katharine McMahon keeps the adrenaline pumping from beginning to end. The spunk and spirit of Evelyn is endearing and her disappointments will make you wince. The action intense, love, mystery and women’s struggles make this her best novel yet.
Disclosure: This copy was sent to me for review by Historical Novels Review.