I bought this on my Kindle whilst on my quest for easy but good books to read while in my current state of brain pain and this one has completely fit the bill! Its price on Amazon was even better- it’s awesome to find a great self published novel for a really good price ($3.20 AUD)
The Heiress of Linn Hagh is the first in the Detective Lavender series. It is a detective novel set in Regency England, with the detectives Stephen Lavender and Constable Wood on the case of a missing heiress, who disappeared from a locked room in the tallest tower of her castle. In solving the mystery, Lavender and Woods discover that the family at Linn Hagh are despicably twisted and hide a multitude of secrets in their isolated estate. Will they be able to find Helen Carnaby, or is it already too late?
I really liked that for a historical crime novel, it didn’t shy away from dealing with tough topics. Sometimes, I find that they skirt around being straight with the nastier side of humanity, simply because they deal with a period where these things were kept on the down low. The author has dealt with insanity, rape, domestic abuse, murder, violence and racial prejudice in a fair way, bringing a greater sense of reality into the story and making me fear for Helen far more than a sanitised version of historical mystery could.
I also found it really cool that Charlton has based some of the aspects of this novel on real events in her family history, and that Lavender was a real person. I didn’t realise this until right at the end in the author’s notes, and I really admire her for doing justice to Lavender. Fitting these factual tidbits didn’t come at the expense of the story, which makes me really admire the level of work that has gone into this book.
I worked out much of what the ending would be long before the detectives did, by noticing the little clues left by the author, but even saying that, I didn’t expect some of the details. So while I had the general idea of the ending, I was still surprised. I also feel that the general level of impending doom and menace made me stay on the edge of my seat- I was beginning to get really worried that justice wouldn’t be served!
There’s plenty of action as well but the story is well paced, so it doesn’t feel like the author has thrown in gunfights and arguments in just for the sake of it.
Overall, I’m really impressed by this novel. I went in not expecting much, despite its high review ratings on Amazon and Goodreads, which I think has helped me to be really pleasantly surprised by this! I can’t wait for another book in this series to be released… I hope I don’t have to wait too long!
4.5/5 Stars and an honorary Leonardo DiCaprio!