Get sleuthing with this feisty female. Margaret Spencer is on the case of a missing young woman. Meanwhile, she finds new freedom as a budding private eye in the 1950s. Death in a Family Way is author Gwendolyn Southin's first installment of her Margaret Spencer Mysteries series. Performer Cynthia Barrett keeps the pace smooth and the action energetic. She plays the characters with verve, experimenting with distinct accents, pitches, and verbal ticks. Utilizing her versatile voice, Barrett captures the mysterious tone and paints an engaging picture of 1950s Canada. Detective story fans, take note: There's a new Sherlock in town!
TouchWood Editions is proud to introduce the first female sleuth in our selection of mystery novels. Author Gwendolyn Southin uniquely blends the charm of gumshoe techniques with the fresh perspective of a developing female detective. The Margaret Spencer Mysteries offer action and suspense, with a human subtext.
At age fifty, Margaret Spencer's empty nest and empty marriage prompt her to answer an ad for part-time office work at the office of private investigator Nat Southby. Suddenly, she is deep in the most unlikely of adventures for a woman in 1950s Vancouver, helping him with a case of missing young women involved in a shady business ring. Maggie finds unexpected freedom as a developing detective and along the way she uncovers evil in the quaintly urban setting.
New mystery series that takes place in the early 50's. I liked that part. Gwendolyn Southin did a good job of capturing that atmosphere/time, and her presentation of a woman's typical life back then was clever. Narration was pretty good.
Liked the interaction between Margaret Spencer and her husband. Comical, and sadly filled with elements of historical accuracy (at least as far as I recall). When she applies to be the assistant to Nat Southby, detective, he starts calling her Maggie (which is the symbol of her "liberation") and that aspect of the book was also very good. Her interactions with her daughters and mother-in-law were also funny and pretty accurate for the times. Great that it took place in Vancouver, though that aspect was not as developed as I might have liked.
So then the crime part. Could not decide if Southin was aiming to tell this story in a 1950's crime novel style, or whether it was still a bit amateurish. (I, sadly, leaned toward the latter). She had all the elements: people who were in league to be committing crimes, damsels in distress, the requisite danger and excitement at the climax...but it somehow, still felt a little unpolished. I think I would try another one, to see of it flows better as she keeps writing, because the idea of the plot was good, even if inelegantly presented.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful