Author: Tracy Rowan
Genre: Historical (1890), Sleuth, Private Detective
Length: Novel (175pgs)
Publisher: Torquere Press (26th January 2011)
Heat Level: Moderate
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥4 ½Hearts
Blurb: When Victorian private investigator Nick Romney’s step-father, an Anglican bishop, is murdered, Nick refuses to get involved. At the urging of his family, though, Nick and his lover Davy step in to investigate. Together they uncover the truth of the bishop’s involvement in the dark and horrifying world of child prostitution, the reason why he was killed, and the shocking identity of the murderer.
Free Short Stories on author’s website: http://www.tracyrowan.org/
Review: Nick Romney (Rom) and David Malvern (Fitz or Fitzhugh or even sometimes Davy) have been partners in life and work for ten years. They have worked a case and are enjoying some down time in Paris when a telegram arrives. It’s a blast from the past for Nick and it opens up a new investigation that delves into the seediest secrets of London.
When I first read the title and blurb I was really dreading reading it. it’s about a Bishop (church), it’s about child prostitution and it’s a private detective, so I was expecting it to be dark and dour with horrifying details and a church cover up while they sang the dead man’s praises; all the while two upper-class men bumbled about interfering in police business and making a mess of things… what I got was a well-crafted story that reminds me a lot of Sherlock and Watson (the originals not that silly new T.V. program). Taking you back in time to a simpler more exciting sleuthing experience. And while child prostitution is in there it isn’t gone into in too much detail and the murder is the main focus, along with Nick and Davy’s relationship.
In this well written story, Davy is the Narrator so it’s all from his POV. But it is so well done that we get a good feel for the characters and the descriptions are really detailed. Davy also gives us a few flash backs as to how the two met, one of their first cases, secrets from Nick’s past and talks he had with his father. This story isn’t dark and dour; in fact in some places it is humorous. The investigation is the main reason I enjoyed this book, simple methods of solving a crime, lucking for clues and discovering secrets… there is nothing like a good sleuth to show people how it’s done.
Now let’s not forget about the relationship which, even though there are only a couple of slight sex scenes doesn’t take away from the fact that these two men love each other very much. It’s there in the trust and intimacy, the way they act with each other and support each other. It just shines through. Davy’s family surprised me in the way that they accepted Nick with open arms when they figured out their true relationship, but their support when secrets from Nick’s past come out is brilliant.
My recommendation? Wow, hmmm…being honest… if you love sleuths like Sherlock, Poirot and Miss Marple, if you want a relationship that has endured and is still romantic, if you want a true murder/mystery and a story that can delve into the worst without all the details then this is for you. I, for one, will be hoping that Tracy Rowan will publish more stories about Nick and Davy’s sleuthing adventures.