Thursday, May 27, 2021

ARC Review: A Rogue's Company by Allison Montclair

A Rogue's Company

Allison Montclair
Series: Sparks & Bainbridge Mystery (Book 3)
Publication: Minotaur Books (June 8, 2021)

Description: In Allison Monclair's A Rogue's Company, business becomes personal for the Right Sort Marriage Bureau when a new client, a brutal murder, two kidnappings, and the recently returned from Africa Lord Bainbridge threatens everything that one of the principals holds dear.

In London, 1946, the Right Sort Marriage Bureau is getting on its feet and expanding. Miss Iris Sparks and Mrs. Gwendolyn Bainbridge are making a go of it. That is until Lord Bainbridge―the widowed Gwen's father-in-law and legal guardian―returns from a business trip to Africa and threatens to undo everything important to her, even sending her six-year-old son away to a boarding school.

But there's more going on than that. A new client shows up at the agency, one whom Sparks and Bainbridge begin to suspect really has a secret agenda, somehow involving the Bainbridge family. A murder and a subsequent kidnapping sends Sparks to seek help from a dangerous quarter―and now their very survival is at stake.

My Thoughts: Gwen Bainbridge and her partner Iris Sparks are pleased with their marriage agency. They have managed to add on both a second office and a secretary. They are a bit surprised when Simon Daile comes in because they have never considered having Black African clients. Beyond that surprise is the certainty in Gwen's mind that the Mr. Daile was lying to her about something.

While dealing with finding potential partners for him, Gwen is dealing with problems at home. Her father-in-law Lord Harold Bainbridge has returned from Africa is is determined to send Gwen's six-year-old son to the same harsh boarding school where his son was educated. Since Gwen had a breakdown when her beloved husband died in the War, Lord and Lady Bainbridge were given custody of young Ronnie and also guardianship of Gwen. 

Lord Bainbridge is a petty tyrant who brings nothing but tension to his household. Lady Bainbridge drinks to deal with her disappointment in him. And Gwen is determined to regain her independence and regain custody of her son. Unfortunately, her psychiatrist isn't ready to sign off on her competence. After all, both she and Iris have discussed their previous murder investigations with him which makes him question both women's sense.

Things come to a head when Lord Bainbridge and Gwen are kidnapped by some villains. Iris is called in by Lady Bainbridge and Iris quickly recruits her friend Sally and her beau underworld boss Archie Spelling to find and rescue Gwen and, incidentally, Lord Bainbridge.

This story had lots of twists and turns. It also had intriguing characters. Both Iris and Gwen were wounded by the War and their parts in it and both are gradually rebuilding their lives. I enjoyed following the twists and turns of the story but admit that both Gwen and Iris are much better detectives than I am. 

Favorite Quote:
"If you're a widow, my condolences. If you're divorced, my congratulations. My point is that this is a course for women defending themselves primarily from assaults by men, and I will be using the word 'testicles' more than once during your training. I assume from your marital status that you are familiar with the word and know where they are located."

"I am and I do," said Mrs. Bainbridge. "I fear, however, for my friend, Miss Sparks. She is but a maid and innocent in the ways of men. She might faint."

The snort this elicited from Sparks was profoundly gratifying, as was the smirk on Macaulay's face.
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

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