Title: The Sign of Death (A Victorian Book Club Mystery #2)
Author: Callie Hutton
Published on: 13 April 2021
Genre: Cozy Mystery | Historical Fiction
The Sign of Death is the second book in a Victorian Book Club Mystery series by Callie Hutton. We have two main characters in the series – Lady Amy, a young woman who writes famous murder mystery novels under a pen name, and Lord William, a young aristocrat and Amy’s sleuthing partner. We also have Amy’s aunt Margaret and best friend Eloise.
James Harding, a businessman and a drunkard, is found floating in the river. William was one of his clients. William finds some discrepancies in his accounts and had been waiting to talk to James about it. But death overtook their meeting. William soon becomes a suspect in James’ murder, thanks to the incompetent police-duo who love to zero-in on the first suspect as the culprit. William, with the help of his sleuthing partner Amy, decide to solve the case and prove his innocence.
Having read the first book in the series, I was curious to see how things proceed in the second one. I have mixed opinions about the series. I liked the romance angle (between Amy and William), the plot and the cozy (historical) setting but I am still not convinced with the storytelling.
The story starts on a good note. We have the element of surprise throughout – James turned out to be a scoundrel. He was a blackmailer, hence gaining a long list of enemies. Amy and William find a few of their book club members in James’ list of victims. The red herring does its job of taking the reader in the wrong direction. William’s mother comes over to live with her son and meets Amy – starts dreaming of grandchildren and whatnot.
Amy is a celebrated murder mystery author. She writes under a pen-name and her book club members are a huge fan – they do not know Amy’s the author of their favorite mysteries. As the story proceeds, we have the publishers wanting Amy to make an appearance at the book store (where her book club’s located).
Considering all the above mentioned plot and side-plots, I must say this series is interesting and a complete entertainment package. We have the romance angle, one of the main characters is a celebrated author, and we also have the murder mystery and two nasty policemen. However, the storytelling/writing style isn’t something I am quite impressed with.
The story seemed a little dragged halfway through – maybe cut down a tad on the deets (?). Having said that, the ending was unexpected and surprising. I did not identify the killer until our amateur sleuths did. We also have a little surprise thrown in and I am curious to know how this affects the lives of our sleuthing partners and the book club members.
If you are a fan of Historical Mysteries, you might want to give The Sign of Death by Callie Hutton a try.