It's 1923, and World War I veteran John Redfyre is happy to be back in his old stomping grounds of Cambridge as a detective inspector. He's not so happy to have his Aunt Hetty strongarm him into attending St. Barnabas College's Christmas concert, but things begin to look up when he learns that the trumpet soloist is a woman-- Juno Proudfoot-- and not only is she beautiful, she's incredibly talented as well.
After the curtain falls on her performance, Juno tumbles headlong down a staircase and narrowly escapes being killed. When Redfyre begins to investigate, he finds evidence that someone had carefully planned her death. When more Cambridge women die, Redfyre realizes that some of his own friends and family may become targets, and that makes him all the more determined to find the killer.
Fall of Angels, the first Inspector Redfyre mystery, has all the trademarks fans of Barbara Cleverly's writing have come to expect: seamless period detail that puts readers right into the time and place of the book, witty dialogue, strong intriguing characters, and a mystery that keeps armchair sleuths guessing. These are all here in abundance, and fans should be thrilled.
Unfortunately, I wasn't. The book fell flat for me, and-- after reading books from Cleverly's Joe Sandilands and Laetitia Talbot series as well as this book, I have come to the conclusion that Cleverly just isn't a writer for me. Or more precisely, I'm not the reader for her. It's an extremely short list, but Cleverly is not the only author who doesn't light up my reading life. The time periods, plots, locations, and characters are all right up my alley, but there's something about the writing that just does not work for me. (And it always takes more than one book for me to arrive at this conclusion.)
So there you have it. If you're already a fan of Barbara Cleverly, chances are excellent that you're going to enjoy this book. If you're new to her work, you're probably going to enjoy it, too. This is just one of those times when I'm being a bit contrary, so take my opinion under advisement.
Fall of Angels by Barbara Cleverly
Soho Crime © 2018
Hardcover, 368 pages
Historical Mystery, #1 D.I. John Redfyre mystery
Source: the publisher