This week I have been reading the latest in the Henrietta and Inspector Howard novels: A Child Lost by Michelle Cox.
About the book
A spiritualist, an insane asylum, a lost little girl . . .
When Clive, anxious to distract a depressed Henrietta, begs Sergeant Frank Davis for a case, he is assigned to investigating a seemingly boring affair: a spiritualist woman operating in an abandoned schoolhouse on the edge of town who is suspected of robbing people of their valuables. What begins as an open and shut case becomes more complicated, however, when Henrietta—much to Clive’s dismay—begins to believe the spiritualist’s strange ramblings.
Meanwhile, Elsie begs Clive and Henrietta to help her and the object of her budding love, Gunther, locate the whereabouts of one Liesel Klinkhammer, the German woman Gunther has traveled to America to find and the mother of the little girl, Anna, whom he has brought along with him. The search leads them to Dunning Asylum, where they discover some terrible truths about Liesel. When the child, Anna, is herself mistakenly admitted to the asylum after an epileptic fit, Clive and Henrietta return to Dunning to retrieve her. This time, however, Henrietta begins to suspect that something darker may be happening. When Clive doesn’t believe her, she decides to take matters into her own hands . . . with horrifying results.
My review for the book September 3rd 2020
I enjoyed catching up with Inspector Howard and his now wife Henrietta and the rest of her extended family including the warm hearted Elsie. Circumstances have changed dramatically for both Clive and Henrietta since they met during a murder investigation at the club where she worked. Her mother had come from a well to do family but had been disowned following her marriage, but in subsequent books in the series to this point, Henrietta and her sisters had been taken back under the wing of her wealthy grandfather.
Now married, Clive, now out of the police force, and Henrietta have begun a private detective agency and Elsie finds them a case which she has become personally involved in. Putting aside a personal tragedy, they take on the task of finding the mother of a little girl who has been brought all the way from Germany by a kind stranger in an effort to reunite her with her family.
This leads the couple down some dark alleys bringing back deep seated painful memories and danger to them both.
Michelle Cox has created an authentic and fascinating world in Chicago between the world wars. It is evident that the period and the city have been meticulously researched and being a resident of Chicago she has also been able to draw on her own personal experiences of living and working there.
The characters are not perfect and are the more interesting and memorable for that. If you have read the previous books you will already know that Henrietta is no social butterfly and she finds the wealthy environment she now inhabits to be stifling. She also has an open mind when it comes to the spiritualist aspect of another case they are investigating despite Clive’s attempts to wrap her in cotton wool. And for good reason as the story reaches a climax in the dark depths of the insane asylum
Previous characters are not neglected and having updated their whereabouts and situations in life, the series is poised for the next book in the series which I look forward to.
I recommend the book for the excellent writing and characters and I am sure mystery and period book readers will enjoy.
Also by Michelle Cox
About Michelle Cox
Michelle Cox is the author of the multiple award-winning Henrietta and Inspector Howard series as well as “Novel Notes of Local Lore,” a weekly blog dedicated to Chicago’s forgotten residents. She suspects she may have once lived in the 1930s and, having yet to discover a handy time machine lying around, has resorted to writing about the era as a way of getting herself back there. Coincidentally, her books have been praised by Kirkus, Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, Booklist and many others, so she might be on to something. Unbeknownst to most, Michelle hoards board games she doesn’t have time to play and is, not surprisingly, addicted to period dramas and big band music. Also marmalade.
Thanks for dropping in and I hope you have enjoyed my review and will explore Michelle Cox’s books for yourselves. Thanks Sally.