The Burning Issue of the Day is the fifth book in Lady Hardcastle Mysteries.
I have been following this series from the start. Lady Emily Hardcastle is a widow who lives in the tiny village of Chipping Bevington with her maid Florence Armstrong. The duo have been solving cases ever since they moved to Bevington two years ago. Their past has been not just adventurous but sometimes, deadly too.
In the previous book, Lady Hardcastle reveals the story behind her husband’s murder in Shanghai. The killer is none other than Gunter Ehrlichmann. Emily is sure that Gunter was dead when she put a bullet into his head. But somehow, the guy seems to have resurfaced years later.
The story starts with the duo reading a newspaper article about a woman who was arrested for arson and murder. The arrested woman (Lizzie Worrel) is a suffragette and she’s believed to have killed a newspaper reporter by setting his house on fire in the middle of the night. Lady Bickle, the face behind the Woman’s suffragette movement asks the duo to help her in proving Lizzie’s innocence.
Murder, arson, possible fraud, spies and whatnot, the story was, no doubt, interesting. Motor cars were just making their presence in the market and the ladies have a blast roaming around the town in their Rover. Driving goggles, boots and hat, and the ladies are off on their adventurous trips.
Our favourite reporter Dinah Caudle is back! Last time, things went bad between the two parties but now, they strike quite a cord. Lady Hardcastle is known to beat around the bush, trying to ‘maintain the air of suspense’ for as long as she can and this goes awry when Dinah loses her patience and asks Flo to slap Emily. Of course, this is all said in a jovial manner. Flo and Emily are more like friends and this is what makes this series a worthwhile read.
The characters are likeable. Lady Bickle, the new member of the team, reminds Emily of her younger days. Inspector Sunderland is now a dear friend of the detective duo and they finally get to meet Mrs Sunderland aka Dollie. Whereabouts of Gunter is still unknown so I hope things get murkier in the next book in this series. (Well, I do want the fella to make an appearance and end the suspense! I have been waiting for over two books now!)
There are a couple of red herrings and twists in this story. *SPOILER ALERT* However, when the four suspects are a step ahead of the police and the detective duo, there’s no doubt that there’s a mole in their midst. *SPOILER ALERT ENDS* As much as I enjoyed the first two books in this series, I cannot say the same about the rest three. I cannot point what it is, but I do feel that something’s missing. The charm is slowly fading away. The stories feel a bit draggy too.
This is surely one of the best historical cozy series that I have read so far. I am looking forward to reading the next book in this series – it will be released in October of this year. If you like historical cozies then I recommend you to give this series a try. Though all the books in this series can be read as a standalone, it’s better to start from book #1.
Second Opinion: Read Anjana’s review here.
Writing Style: 4.5/5
Character Development: 4.5/5
Overall Rating: 4.25/5
Title: The Burning Issue of the Day (Lady Hardcastle Mystery #5)
Author: T E Kinsey
Published on: 15th May 2019
Genre: Cozy Mystery (Historical)
Thanks to Thomas & Mercer and NetGalley for the ARC.