The Mouser in the Bookshop
When I received the cover for The Vanishing Thief, I was surprised to find a cat in the picture. There was no cat in the story. The fellow on the cover was a handsome, brown striped domestic short hair, looking out the shop window as if he owned the street. That reminded me of every cat I'd known, and a new character for Fenchurch's Books was born.
Charles Dickens (what else can you name a cat in an English bookshop?) became a ferocious mouser with a notch in one ear, a missing patch of fur on a hind leg, and the attitude of a duke. He enters the shop one day with a customer, dripping wet from the London weather, and jumps up in the front window.
Emma, the shop assistant, gets dusting rags to dry him off with and we learn later has started feeding him. Georgia Fenchurch, the main sleuth in the Victorian Bookshop Mystery series, has a prickly relationship with Dickens. While everyone else thinks the cat belongs to them or the shop, Georgia knows they all belong to Dickens.
Later, when Dickens runs to the counter with a mouse in his mouth and drops it at the feet of a ducal customer, Georgia says the cat is paying his bill. The duke tells her the cat is paying homage from one hunter to another.
While Charles Dickens won't solve any crimes, he will make his presence known around Fenchurch's Books and in the Victorian Bookshop Mystery series. Dicken's first appearance will be December 3rd when The Vanishing Thief hits the book shelves and goes live on online booksellers.
Kate Parker is the author of The Vanishing Thief. You can learn more about Kate at www.kateparkerbooks.com or at www.Facebook.com/Author.Kate.Parker
About The Vanishing Thief: Georgia Fenchurch appears to be an unassuming antiquarian bookseller in Victorian London, but the life she leads is as exciting as any adventure novel. For Georgia is a member of the Archivist Society, a secret association of private investigators led by the mysterious Sir Broderick.
When a frantic woman comes to Georgia claiming that her neighbor, Nicholas Drake, has been abducted by the notorious Duke of Blackford, Georgia and the Archivist Society agree to take the case. But Drake is no innocent—he is a thief who has been blackmailing many of the leading members of London society. To find Drake and discover who is behind his abduction, Georgia and her beautiful assistant, Emma, will have to leave the cozy confines of their bookshop and infiltrate the inner circles of the upper crust—with the help of the dashing but dubious Duke of Blackford himself.
But the missing thief and his abductor are not the only ones to elude Georgia Fenchurch. When she spies the man who killed her parents years ago, she vows to bring him to justice once and for all at any cost.
My Review: I've been looking forward to this book since I first saw it appear on Amazon months ago. If I could step back in time to any historical era it would be to Victorian London, so the idea of a lady bookseller in that period greatly intrigued me.
In addition to running the bookshop left to her by her parents, Georgia is also a member of the Archivist Society, a secret association of private investigators. One rainy spring morning she finds herself involved in not one, not two, but three mysteries:
* Has Nicholas Drake, a notorious thief and blackmailer, been abducted by the Duke of Blackford?
* What happened between the Duke's sister and fiancée the day his fiancée died under suspicious circumstances?
* Georgia also gets a second chance at solving her parents' murder when she spots their killer walking the streets in front of her very eyes!
Two of my favorite characters in this book were Georgia's two dear friends Emma and Phyllida; each of their back stories are especially compelling. Of course I adored the aforementioned Dickens, and hope he gets more "page time" in book 2!
My only minor complaint would be that the number of Lords and Ladies can get a bit confusing at times (Drake has given many of the upper crust plenty of reason to want him dead!), but in the end everything ties together, plus we're left with cliffhangers with regards to Georgia's familial and romantic life.
This is an outstanding debut to a promising new historical cozy mystery series.
FTC Full Disclosure: I requested an ARC of this book from the author to coincide with this guest post.