Tuesday, August 6, 2019

ARC Review: Death Comes to Dartmoor by Vivian Conroy

Death Comes to Dartmoor
Author: Vivian Conroy
Series: A Merriweather and Royston Mystery
Publication: Crooked Lane Books (August 13, 2019)

Description: The mist-shrouded moors of Devon proffer a trove of delights for two vacationing zoologists―but also conceal a hoard of dark secrets reaching down to the fathomless depths of the ocean.

Miss Merula Merriweather barely saved her uncle from the gallows after he was wrongly accused of murder―and now, she’s left the bustle of Victorian London to recuperate in the fresh air of Dartmoor with her fellow zoologist, Lord Raven Royston. The trip offers a unique treat, as they’ll be staying with a friend of Raven’s, who owns a collection of rare zoological specimens―including a kraken, a sea monster of myth and legend.

But all is not right in the land of tors, heaths, and mist. Their host’s maid has vanished without a trace, and the townspeople hold him responsible, claiming that his specimens are alive and roam the moors at night, bringing death to anyone who crosses their path. Merula and Raven are skeptical―but the accusations become more ominous when they find several specimen jars empty.

As the two hunt for clues across a desolate and beautiful landscape, a stranger appears bearing a shadowy secret from Merula’s past. Could there be a connection between her family history, the missing girl, and a fearsome monster that could be on the loose? The race is on to find the truth.

My Thoughts: Merula and Raven have come to Dartmoor to take some rest and recovery time after their first case. It should be time for quiet walks and scientific explorations of Raven's friend's collection of exotic creatures. But they arrive to find things in chaos. Raven's friend is raving, his maid is missing, and an angry mob is ready to burn the house down.

When the maid turns up dead, apparently strangled by the Kraken Mr. Oaks brought back from his travels, Raven and Merula have to find the real murderer before Mr. Oaks is executed for the crime. Between the Wreckmaster who is trying to hold onto his power and the new Guard who want to see the railroad come to the are bring tourists aplenty, Merula and Raven have lots of suspects.

Add in the stranger who seems to know about Merula's hidden past but who is unwilling to share what he knows with her. Merula has always felt an emptiness where her past is concerned. Left as a baby on her aunt and uncle's doorstep has strongly affected her life and choices. This is one mystery that she really wants to solve.

This was an entertaining story with lots of action as Merula and Raven investigate. This is the second book in a series and I think we are just beginning to understand Merula and Raven. Their characters are being gradually revealed both to each other and to the reader.

Favorite Quote:
Merula stared into his eyes, feeling the same sensation rush through her veins. Suddenly, despite the darkness outside, there come the joy and warmth of being with someone she trusted and with whom she'd be able to conquer any hurdle.
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

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