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The Bachelor Girl’s Guide to Murder #1, in the Herringford and Watts Mysteries series, by Rachel McMillan
In an era when a respectable young lady should be in search of a husband, Merinda Herringford has murder on her mind. Solving crime is what captures her attention. Her best friend, Jem Watts, tags along – interested in both pursuits. Aided by the local constable, Jasper Forth, and Ray DeLuca - a clever reporter who fascinates Jem – the pair of women aim at becoming the best detective team in Toronto, despite the “disadvantage” of being female.
Number of Pages: 224
Vendor: Harvest House Publishers
Publication Date: 2016
|Dimensions: 8.00 X 5.25 (inches)|
Series: Herringford and Watts Mysteries
After the Wedding Came the Marriage: P.S. I Love and Forgive YouStella LouiseWestBow Press / 2016 / Hardcover$36.08
In 1910 Toronto, while other bachelor girls perfect their domestic skills and find husbands, two friends perfect their sleuthing skills and find a murderer.
Inspired by their fascination with all things Sherlock Holmes, best friends and flatmates Merinda and Jem launch a consulting detective business. The deaths of young Irish women lead Merinda and Jem deeper into the mire of the city's underbelly, where the high hopes of those dreaming to make a new life in Canada are met with prejudice and squalor.
While searching for answers, donning disguises, and sneaking around where no proper ladies would ever go, they pair with Jasper Forth, a police constable, and Ray DeLuca, a reporter in whom Jem takes a more than professional interest. Merinda could well be Toronto's premiere consulting detective, and Jem may just find a way to put her bachelor girlhood behind her foreverif they can stay alive long enough to do so.
Rachel McMillan is a keen history enthusiast and a lifelong bibliophile. When not writing or reading, she can most often be found drinking tea and watching British miniseries. Rachel lives in bustling Toronto, where she works in educational publishing and pursues her passion for art, literature, music, and theater.
"Fresh and beguiling, the Bachelor Girls are an engaging new addition to the mystery scene. They tackle criminals with a combination of unique moxie and an irrepressible sense of adventure. I want to be friends with the Bachelor Girls!"
Deanna Raybourn, New York Times bestselling author of the Lady Julia Grey Mysteries
"In her fabulous debut, Rachel McMillan brings 1910 Toronto to rich and wonderful life. The intrepid Jem and Merinda make a winning detective team. Full of romance and derring-do, The Bachelor Girl's Guide to Murder will keep you turning pages."
Nancy Herriman, author of No Comfort for the Lost
"Smart, sassy, and chic. The Bachelor Girl's Guide to Murder is all that and more. A fabulous historical. Encore, Rachel McMillan!"
Laura Frantz, author of The Mistress of Tall Acre
"A wonderful romp! McMillan's delightful debut introduces us to a beguiling and intrepid crime-solving duo. The two lovely ladies defy expectations and social norms as they lead us across early twentieth-century Toronto and into the heart of a compelling mystery...with a dash of romance on the side. Can't wait for more of these two and the adventure they'll lead us on next!"
Katherine Reay, author of The Bronte Plot
"A savvy and street-smart read. Rachel McMillan's The Bachelor Girl's Guide to Murder is a wickedly clever debut, with the wit and intelligence of a classic Agatha Christie whodunit. It's a vintage-inspired ride with a dash of mystery, romance, and just enough suspense to keep the reader guessing. I was drawn in and held captive with the turn of each page!"
Kristy Cambron, author of The Ringmaster's Wife and the Hidden Masterpiece series
"One does not merely read The Bachelor Girl's Guide to Murder. Rather, one enters the story, allows the author to take her on a wild ride through early twentieth century Toronto, and remains unable to do anything but turn the pages until the final scene has ended. McMillan has created characters whose exploits will live on well beyond this story. Well done! Now hurry and write the next one!"
Kathleen Y'Barbo, bestselling author of Firefly Summer and Sadie's Secret
"In her stunning debut, Rachel McMillan achieves a perfect balance of wit and warmth and invites readers into an entirely new world. More than intrepid detectives, Bachelor Girls Jem and Merinda are fully fleshed women, grappling with mysteries of the heart as well as those of the gritty streets of historic Toronto. A cast of supporting characters brings life and dimension, as well as the promise of more stories to come. McMillan's homage to the spirit of Sherlock and Watson stands solid on its own, whether in pick heels or brogans."
Allison Pittman, author of On Shifting Sand
"Come for the gorgeous cover and promise of mystery; stay for the lilting romance and tingling wit. Rachel McMillan's debut is the perfect mix of engaging characters and a fresh, enticing voice. Simply put, I'm hooked!"
Melissa Tagg, author of From the Start and Like Never Before
taralynee5 Stars Out Of 5Delightfully charmingFebruary 23, 2017taralyneeQuality: 0Value: 0Meets Expectations: 0The Bachelor Girl's Guide to Murder is a delightfully charming introduction to Canadian detectives Jemima Watts and Merinda Herringford. Having decided that they are to be female Sherlock Holmes-esque sleuths, Merinda takes it upon herself to advertise in a low-budget newspaper and post a sign in their window, and Jem has not much choice but to go along with her friend's scheme. The two young lady detectives find themselves caught up in the investigation of a young woman's murder and are determined to stop at nothing to keep the killer from continuing his rampage through early-1900s Toronto.
Full of mystery with just enough romance to flutter hearts, this debut novel from Rachel McMillan is sure to capture readers' attention and spark their imaginations. Love at first sight is how I have to describe my reaction to this cover.. and every single detail about the book was everything I wanted it to be.. and more -- from the characters who wanted to skip & twirl off the pages to the uniquely imaginative descriptions and the adorable storyline. (I would be remiss if I neglected to mention Ms. McMillan's use of footnotes.. They made me smile more than I can say.)
This darling book is, to me, everything that a nice steaming cup of tea is, with a freshly baked cookie on the side. It's comfortable and a happy place to be.
SusanPMichiganAge: 35-44Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5Fantastic twist on our love of Sherlock!!June 13, 2016SusanPMichiganAge: 35-44Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5For the love of Sherlock!! What a fabulous fresh twist on what we have always known as a mans game. Two quirky and lovable females stir it up while trying to solve the latest crime wave in Toronto! The witty banter was to die for. I wanted more! The author has a beautiful gift of immersing you in the culture and setting of this era. I certainly felt I was there alongside of them sleuthing and stumbling upon clues and danger. The back blurb says it all mystery and mayhem abounding! I loved the twists and layers of deceit and secrets. Jem and Merinda fight for a life not readily accepted for women of that time. Solving mysteries and getting down to the answer may kill them!! Seriously, pick up this book and take an evening and soak it in. You will giggle, shed a tear and root for a few characters who go against convention and dream of something bigger! This is a bookshelf keeper and an author who is on my auto-buy list!!
Blue Jeans & TeacupsCaliforniaAge: 35-44Gender: Female5 Stars Out Of 5PERFECT LITTLE MYSTERYJune 9, 2016Blue Jeans & TeacupsCaliforniaAge: 35-44Gender: FemaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Several things about this book grabbed me right away. 1) Its not too overwhelming in size, so a perfect little summer read. (and as I have said of these books before, I LOVE the covers). 2) I LOVE FONTS Im actually rather obsessed with them, so to see a fun, scrolly (cause thats a word, right?!) font displayed at the beginning of a letter from Jems parents as well as Chapter #s puts a big ol smile on my face. 3) There are silhouettes & pretty designs throughout the book! Another smile, and yet another reason I prefer delicious paperbacks over eBooks! 4) The author puts footnotes throughout. Who does this in fictional stories? Its like shes passing us secret notes in class! Super fun!
September 1910, Toronto, Canada told in 3rd person, (unlike the eNovellas). The story opens with the murder of a beautiful young woman found at the Elgin Theater, and our lady detectives are determined to help solve the case. One of my favorite things about this story, was Ray DeLucas journal. Getting to know him in a very personal way, and what ends up happening because of it (avoiding spoilers here), was heartwarming.
Excellent Picture of these lady detectives: Ch. 2 Jem realized early in her acquaintance with Merinda Heringford that attempting to solve a crime as an amateur and a woman meant leaving any semblance of pride or dignity behind. She became all too familiar with hiding her attractive feminine traits her soft curves and curls under the dirty, mangy tweed folds of her flatmates nifty disguises.
Amusing Quote: Ch. 2 - I have to return the reporters coat, said Jem. Though I suppose if I take it off, half of Toronto will notice I have no pants on.
Faith: (faith is lightly sprinkled in this book). Ch. 2 She breathed a prayer for the rain to hold off and to avoid detection, at which Merinda smirked, scolding her friend for conversing with an invisible God.
Ch. 15 Women in the Bible didnt sit at home braiding mats for the men in battle. They went to battle too. Look at Deborah. Look at Esther.
Ch. 19 God is going to speak to you no matter where you decide to meet him.
Tea Moment (because tea is my thing):
Ch. 7 Jem cleared her throat, inviting Gavin to sit in the armchair as she settled onto the sofa. Mrs. Malone arrived with the tea service, which featured assorted dainties arranged to ornament the tea. Jem pinched a fairy cake and licked the icing.
I purchased this from CBD. Overall, I would recommend this book to a friend. 5 stars
04/01/2016 Harvest House Pub., 219 Pages / This author is very approachable through her FB page.
Others In Series: *A Singular & Whimsical Problem (eNovella) 12/2015 / *Of Dubious and Questionable Memory (eNovella) 5/31/2016 / *A Lesson in Love and Murder 9/1/2016
tickmenotKansas CityGender: female4 Stars Out Of 5Scandalous Detecting Edwardian StyleMay 6, 2016tickmenotKansas CityGender: femaleQuality: 4Value: 4Meets Expectations: 4The Toronto Society of 1910 is scandalized by the antics of two single young women--bachelor girls--Jem and Merinda. Everything they are doing causes no end of gossip about them. They investigate crimes and murders, they disguise themselves in men's trousers while investigating, and they are doing these things instead of trying to get married.
Jem's parents are so upset they have cut off her allowance, hoping she will change her ways, and behave like a "proper young woman". Instead, she has gotten a department store job to make ends meet, since they rarely get paid for their detective work.
Jem and Merinda throw caution to the wind when they start investigating a murder. To that end, Merinda convinces Jem to encourage the romantic advances of a man Jem can't stand, which opens a large can of worms. They also run afoul of The Morality Squad, whose main duty is to catch unescorted women after dark, and jail them. Last, but not least, their work puts them in danger.
Although everyone seems to be against these two young women, they do have a couple of people in their corner: Police Constable Jasper Forth along with newspaperman and reporter, Ray DeLuca, a recent Italian immigrant. From time to time, both men assist Jem and Merinda with their detective work, but sometimes they have to suffer the consequences for helping them.
Merinda and Jem are certainly swimming against the tide of Edwardian ideas of how women should behave. The author does a great job describing the time period, and creating for the reader the "feel" of what it was like to live then. The mystery was good, and I liked that there wasn't anything offensive in it. I wish the author had given more information about why Merinda and Jem feel so strongly about detecting. Why do they continue doing it despite the danger, as well as, the ridicule they experience? If those questions were answered, it would go a long way toward understanding and connecting more with those characters. I suggest this 4-star book to mystery readers, especially those who enjoy period settings.
The publisher has provided bookreadingtic with a complimentary copy of The Bachelor Girls Guide to Murder, through Harvest House Publishers for the purpose of review. I have not been compensated in any other manner. All opinions expressed are my own, and I was not required, or influenced, to give anything but an honest appraisal. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255.
Stacey4 Stars Out Of 5An Enjoyable Detective StoryApril 28, 2016StaceyQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5First, I would like to extend a heartfelt Thank you to Rachel McMillan and her publisher for sending me a copy of "The Bachelor Girls Guide to Murder" to review for them. I am truly grateful for this generosity. I really appreciate the time, effort and expense it takes to make a reviewer copy available to me.
The Bachelor Girls Guide to Murder by Rachel McMillan is a charmingly penned work that takes the reader back to the early 1900s. In this time of very distinct gender roles, two women (Merinda and Jem) have set aside their aprons for careers as detectives. These best friends, flatmates and partners in business have found themselves in the midst of investigating several murders. With the help of a policeman and a reporter, Merinda and Jem will find adventure, romance and hopefully a killer.
This compact novel is an enjoyable weekend read. It took me a while to get into because of the authenticity of the language. But once I did, I found that the prose actually has the flavor of a Sherlock Holmes story. The writing is intelligent and articulate, vivid and humorous. I truly feel transported back in time and to a different place. I will definitely add Rachel McMillan to the list of authors I regularly read.
Author: Rachel McMillan
Located in: Canada
Submitted: January 26, 2016
Tell us a little about yourself. I live in Toronto, Canada where I work in Educational Publishing by day and scribble at night. I drink a lot of tea and watch entirely too many British miniseries!
I am a lifelong bibliophile and especially love Christian Fiction---ever since I read Vienna Prelude at age 12.
What was your motivation behind this project? My lifelong love of Sherlock Holmes and my desire to empower women in whatever life path they choose-- whether it be a traditional homemaking role or in the pursuit of a career. The Bible is full of Marys and Marthas but also Deborahs and Esthers. There is room for all.
What do you hope folks will gain from this project? A huge motivator for me while writing this was Proverbs 31:8: Speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. The time period in which the book is set sees major changes happening in Toronto--especially with the rise of immigration. Poor working conditions and the silencing of women and immigrants are two major themes in the series. I thought it was so important to feature characters who risked their lives to speak for those silenced. Today, we live amidst similar challenges of prejudice and social issues. Things haven't much changed in 100 years and people will ALWAYS need champions who are willing and able to fight for them. I also hope readers are encouraged to read a bit more about history. I love history and the best historical fiction offers a lens into a different time. It also inspires me to learn more about a historical personage or place. Whether something about Toronto's history whets your appetite or the cameo appearances by anarchist Emma Goldman and Theodore Roosevelt in book II interest you, there is lots, I think to be found. This series took a lot of research and a lot of fun trips to the archives! Looking through so many photographs and articles.
How were you personally impacted by working on this project? Even though I grew up in a small town, I always loved Toronto and its history. Writing the Herringford and Watts series made me fall in love with my city in a new way. I cannot walk its streets without pulling the modern curtain back and imagining life in Jem and Merinda's world. I also had the opportunity to visit Concord, Mass. and Chicago: two US cities our lady detectives visit in upcoming adventures. I was impacted not only by the rich history but also the amazing visual narrative that met me there through the people, culture and architecture. Mostly, I feel so fortunate to have the opportunity to spend time with my fictional friends! Jem and Merinda and Jasper and Ray are like my family now. They literally fill the pages on their own. I just dictate. I was able to work in a bit of my family history in book II "A Lesson in Love and Murder." My father is a chaplain for the RCMP and his family has a long connection with the Mounties-- I explore a bit of this exciting past in A Lesson in Love and Murder with the arrival of Benfield Citrone, a Royal North West Policeman
Who are your influences, sources of inspiration or favorite authors / artists? Catherine Marshall, Lynn Austin and Dorothy L. Sayers have all influenced my spiritual life greatly. I often find God in story. I think Great Expectations and Les Miserables are two great examples of incarnate Grace as told in story ( I have a bit of a thing for the classics ;) ) Jesus taught through parable and used story to help us understand some of the concepts that are a bit too hard to grasp through our dim human vision ( not unlike Watson trying to understand Holmes' brilliant mind). Stories can help us understand humanity but also feel closer to God. I love that! Each of these authors' words have met me at a time when I needed encouragement or guidance.
Anything else you'd like readers / listeners to know: The Herringford and Watts series explores spiritual themes in a more thematic way. But, readers should know that each relationship in the books and many of the questions grappled with and asked by the characters are questions I find myself asking. I think God specifically makes so much of life a great mystery so that we are encouraged to seek Him more deeply. What better way to express this than through the fun filter of detective fiction?