MARION LANE AND THE MIDNIGHT MURDER
The letter was short. A name, a time, a place.
Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder plunges readers into the heart of London, to the secret tunnels that exist far beneath the city streets. There, a mysterious group of detectives recruited for Miss Brickett’s Investigations & Inquiries use their cunning and gadgets to solve crimes that have stumped Scotland Yard.
Late one night in April 1958, a filing assistant at Miss Brickett’s receives a letter of warning, detailing a name, a time, and a place. She goes to investigate but finds the room empty. At the stroke of midnight, she is murdered by a killer she can’t see―her death the only sign she wasn’t alone. It becomes chillingly clear that the person responsible must also work for Miss Brickett’s, making everyone a suspect.
Marion Lane, a first-year Inquirer-in-training, finds herself drawn ever deeper into the investigation. When her friend and colleague is framed for the crime, to clear his name she must sort through the hidden alliances at Miss Brickett’s and secrets dating back to WWII. Masterful, clever and deliciously suspenseful, Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder is a fresh take on the Agatha Christie-style locked-room murder mystery, with an exciting new heroine detective.
T.A. Willberg was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, and holds a chiropractic masters degree from Durban University of Technology. MARION LANE AND THE MIDNIGHT MURDER is her debut novel and launch of her detective series. She currently lives in Malta with her partner.
From the blurb, I was expecting Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder to be an Agatha Christie style detective crime thriller set in the fifties. Although this is true to a certain extent, this book holds a delightful surprise!
I would describe the book as a mix between Sherlock Holmes, James Bond and Harry Potter. The setting is Mrs Brickett’s Investigations and Inquiries, an organisation deep in the bowels of underground London, where Marion Lane is working as an apprentice. The organisation is top secret, created to help those who post their requests into secret post-boxes and the headquarters is disguised as a bookshop. There are elements of traditional 007 Spy Gadgetry but the whole book also has a supernatural and fantasy element to it as we are introduced to magic maps and walls that constantly shift around to hide secrets. The world itself is really well plotted and we are introduced to elements in a way that doesn’t feel too heavy on the exposition.
It’s easy to forget in places that this book is set in the fifties – because of the magical elements it could almost be set at any time but there are certain remarks such as a woman wearing trousers causing outrage that bring us back to the setting nicely. Marion is a great main character; she is spunky and curious and has an interesting backstory that is slowly revealed as the book progresses. The other characters are well rounded, I would perhaps have liked to learn a little more about some of them but I imagine from the ending that this is the start of a series and so perhaps we will learn more in future books – I will certainly be keeping an eye out for them!
Overall, Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder is a great supernatural detective thriller and I can’t wait to read the next adventure! Thank you to NetGalley & Orion Publishing Group - Trapeze for the chance to read the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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