The Paris Mystery – Kirsty Manning

Seeking a fresh start, reporter Charlie James alights in Paris to start her new job as a reporter for The Times. Although her boss is surprised (and a little miffed) that she’s not the man he thought she’d be, he gives her a chance to prove herself. Her first task is to write an article on Lady Eleanor Ashworth and her husband, the hosts of the ball of the summer. Having had a successful interview with Lady Eleanor, Charlie is extended an invitation to the ball so she can write an article on the event. The event is talked about the next day, but not for the reason Lady Eleanor hoped – a prominent businessman is murdered right in the middle, with a throwing knife found in his chest. 

Charlie is lucky to have the front-row seat to her first big scoop in Paris, and she makes a good move by arranging to trade information with the inspector on the case. With the help of the inspector, friends from the paper, and Lady Eleanor, Charlie aims to find the truth of the matter for her story and her first success in Paris. 

I’ve been procrastinating this review, if I’m honest, because I’m still not very sure where I stand on The Paris Mystery. At most, I give it three stars. The writing was good but not great, the plot was about the same, and Charlie was a main character without a ton of personality. However, the surrounding characters were very colorful and interesting, and they helped round out the story well. 

I liked that Charlie was a minority in her reporting role as a woman, and determined to succeed. Finally, we get a realistic occupation for a largely feminist character – I was very pleased with that. Much better than that noblewoman who was part of the secret society to learn “manly” skills and who used “misogyny” all the time (How to Court a Covert Lady). I did think Charlie’s backstory would be a little more dramatic than it was, but I feel that’s probably pretty realistic too. Charlie just wasn’t very interesting to me, but she was a strong woman and a genuine character, which was pleasant. As the series develops we may learn more about her as well. 

The plot was okay; I felt pretty confident about the murderer from the beginning, but there was a sentence that gave it away. The motivations of the suspects were good enough to make us readers guess. There was a “lack of” element among the characters that led me to guess the murderer, too, though. I was also really dissatisfied with the ending, and I’m not even sure that I can say why without giving it away. But, for a reporter, Charlie gave up the chance to have a front-page story, and that disappointed me. She made a decision based on knowing someone for a few hours over a few weeks, and I don’t think that was appropriate (cue pearl-clutching?). 

In summary, I would like to read the next book in the series as I want to see how it develops. The premise is very good, this novel has set up several opportunities for intrigue, the other characters are great, I love the setting, and I’m hoping that Charlie will grow on me. I don’t dislike her but just found her a little flat. I feel like the debut book in a series can be either rough or one that makes you wish there were five more books written, and I think this was a rougher one. But, it wasn’t bad. I definitely want to read the next installment!

Published by SamIAmReading

I am an avid reader and lover of historical mysteries and romances, but happy to take review requests and expand my horizons! All opinions in this blog are my own and have been given freely.

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