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REVIEW: Daring Duplicity – Edale Lane

Daring Duplicity

Genre: Mystery, Historical, Steampunk

LGBTQ+ Category: Lesbian

Reviewer: Maryann

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About The Book

Solving mysteries is her business. Finding love is her dream. Will combining the two get her killed?

Victorian Era England. Stetson revels in being unconventional. So when society shies away from her independent nature, the bold woman creates an imaginary boss and opens her own detective agency. And her keen observational skills, convincing disguises, and Holmesian methods quickly bring in a string of tough-to-crack cases.

Struggling to squeeze a personal life in around a series of hazardous investigations, Stetson worries she’ll never find a woman of like-passions. But with her heart set on true love despite the risk, she carries on hunting for the perfect relationship.

Will her clever escapades lead to death, or delight?

Daring Duplicity: The Wellington Mysteries, Vol. 1, Adventures of a Lesbian Victorian Detective is a collection of five sequential novellas, each encompassing its own exciting mystery while furthering the story of Stetson’s life in London. 

The Review

Daring Duplicity is a volume of five short stories about an adventurous and smart private investigator, Stetson Goody. It’s a time where women still struggle with independence, and having the freedom to be themselves. The stories:

“The Blackmailed Female”

Jewel Ashton, the well-to-do daughter of Lord Cecil Ashton of Parliament, has been caught in a moment of indiscretion. She seeks the help from the elusive PI, Xavier Wellington. She meets with Wellington’s assistant, Stetson Goody, who gets the case in motion. Sparks start to fly between Stetson and Jewel.  

“The Bludgeoned Ballerina”

Even while dealing with heartbreak, Stetson Goody continues with her business and handles the potential clients that arrive at the office. Sophie Evans, a ballerina with a lot of potential, has become a victim of murder. Evelyn Merritt, pianist and close friend to Sophie Evans. has great concerns about the case being looked into. Her attempts at finding an investigator lead her to Wellington. Stetson is taken with the case as it involves the love she has of theatre and, hopefully, a special connection with Evelyn.

“The Wayward Wife”

Archibald Godwin, half owner of Godwin and Gordon Shipping Lines, brings a sensitive case to Wellington. Stetson has no choice but to have Wellington address Godwin in-person.  Seems that Godwin wants his young wife, Catherine of the Cadburys, followed. Stetson gets the case rolling, and photos are even provided as evidence. But Stetson feels guilty when Catherine is murdered. Stetson tries not to let the business of murder get in the way of her growing friendship with Evelyn.

The Lost Night

Reverend Calvin Fenimore has a loving family. He finds his life in peril, and could lose everything – he’s woken up beside a dead woman, and has no memory of what took place. Once again, Stetson takes the case to Wellington, and they find themselves in a horrid situation of human trafficking. It will take more than Wellington to try and solve the case.

The Perilous Train Ride

Lord Eldon Galdstone, a close friend of Wellingtons, seeks out Wellington to investigate the murder of his Uncle Thomas at their estate in Warwickshire. Wellington, not being available to travel, offers to send his nephew Jonathon McGrath. Stetson has decided to invite Evelyn along on this short “vacation” to Warwickshire.  On the train, Stetson’s past creep up on her, and she fears what may take place. She also keeps an eye on a couple suspicious men. One case turns into two with a train robbery and a murder at the estate to be solved.

Edale Lane brings us five well written short mystery stories from Victorian England.  The adventures take the readers into rookeries, workhouses, and docks along the Thames, and many other places. There’s mystery, murder, adventure, action, humor and romance. There’s also an abundance of tools, weapons, camera and film developing, and all types of gadgets from the era.

Daring Duplicity introduces a number of characters:  PI Xavier Wellington, ballerina Clara Pedersen, Albert Smith, Officer Tyler Tidwell, Widow Winters, Dr. Wells and Jonathan McGrath.

But the star of this book is fascinating, shy but brave Stetson Goody. She’s a woman before her time, trying to make a way for herself in a man’s world. Her life growing up in the theatre (and how she got the name of Stetson) is romantic in a cute way. Her story takes us back there, with Evelyn Merritt and the music and burlesque performances of the era.  

Two other characters that are an outstanding addition to the story are Andrew, Stetson’s brother, who will always keep her secret and be by her side anytime she needs him.  And Scotland Yard Inspector Rueben Perry. He doesn’t know the secret, but whenever Xavier Wellington puts out the call, Perry will be there. I also have to mention the adorable Sebastian.

The cover art by Enggar Adirasa gives the novel just the right touch of mystery.

Daring Duplicity is outstanding. It has something for everyone, and I was impressed and entertained with this first time author for me. It was a wonderful surprise, and I can’t wait to see what interesting adventures the author has planned for Stetson Goody next!

The Reviewer

Hi, I’m Maryann, I started life in New York, moved to New Hampshire and in 1965 uprooted again to Sacramento, California.  Once I retired I moved to West Palm Beach, Florida in 2011 and just moved back to Sacramento in March of 2018.  My son, his wife and step-daughter flew out to Florida and we road tripped back so they got to see sights they have never seen.  New Orleans and the Grand Canyon were the highlights. Now I am back on the west coast again to stay! From a young age Ialways liked to read.

I remember going to the library and reading the “Doctor Dolittle” books by Hugh Lofting. Much later on became a big fan of the classics, Edgar Alan Poe, Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker and as time went by Agatha Christie, Ray Bradbury and Stephen Kingand many other authors.

My first M/M shifter book I read was written by Jan Irving the “Uncommon Cowboys” series from 2012.  She was the first author I ever contacted and sent an email to letting her know how much I liked this series.  Sometime along the way I read “Zero to the Bone”by Jane Seville, I think just about everyone has read this book! 

As it stands right now I’m really into mysteries, grit, gore and “triggers” don’t bother me. But if a blurb piques my interest I will read the book.

My kindle collection eclectic and over three thousand books and my Audible collection is slowly growing.  I have both the kindle and audible apps on my ipod, ipads, and MAC. So there is never an excuse not to be listening or reading.

I joined Goodreads around 2012 and started posting reviews.  One day a wonderful lady, Lisa Horan of The Novel Approach, sent me an email to see if I wanted to join her review group.  Joining her site was such an eye opener.  I got introduce to so many new authors that write for the LGBTQ genre. Needless to say, it was heart breaking when it ended.

But I found a really great site, QRI and it’s right here in Sacramento. Last year at QSAC I actually got to meet Scott Coatsworth, Amy Lane and Jeff Adams. 

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