Penny Green is one of a few women journalists in 1883 London, and she is asked to help Inspector Blakely investigate the death of her close friend Lizzie Dixie, an actress. Only problem is that Lizzie supposedly drowned in the Thames five years previous.
Why this book?: I was in a historical mood, apparently. And it sounded interesting.
Limelight opens up with Penny being approached by Blakely, tossing you into the story the moment you open up the novel. The banter between the characters, in addition to the setting, gives you an amazing atmosphere that leaves you so engrossed in the story that it literally flies by. During the first half, I couldn’t stop reading this one. I was really engaged and interested in the story, and I felt for Penny and her struggles.
After a while, though, the facade really wears down. So much is revealed within the last 25% of the novel, leaving the previous 75% with the characters floundering around. There were so few scenes with action or clue revelations, and I could literally feel the story dragging behind me. For such an amazing start, the middle and ending of Limelight was almost hard to read, because it felt like nothing important was happening. There were often scenes where Penny was doing things that didn’t even relate to the mystery, and while I recognize that people do more than solve mysteries all day, it really worsened the pacing.
There was also an odd romanc-y feeling that seemed to have been added into the story, and it was very unnecessary. Penny was such a strong woman on her own, and when the romance angle was added in, it felt really wonky. And then, randomly, Organ decides to smash it by adding a “future Mrs. Blakely” and just had to focus on how disappointed Penny was.
My last point is that, once you realized the angle of where Organ wanted the story to go, it’s a fairly easy murder to solve. It relied on the time frame, if that makes sense, and I thought it was a strange cop-out–and especially made Penny and the inspector seem oblivious.
Final Rating: ★★★☆☆
I had fun with the story, while it lasted, but as it continued on, you could really see the flaws. There were a few odd ends that I thought were unnecessary, and, while I did enjoy the characters and the plot (mostly), Organ really rushed it to an end.
Would I Recommend?
Maybe, if you’re looking for a historical murder mystery that isn’t too over the top. I thought the faked-their-death idea was pretty cool, but where it lead, not as much. It really depends on what you’re looking for.
Trigger warnings for 1880s era sexism, violence (mild), murder, and slut shaming.
Published: February 28th, 2017
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Page Count: 340
Synopsis: via Goodreads
How did an actress die twice?
London, 1883. Actress Lizzie Dixie drowned in the River Thames, so how was she murdered five years later in Highgate Cemetery?
Intrepid Fleet Street reporter Penny Green was a friend of Lizzie’s and Scotland Yard needs her help. Does Penny unwittingly hold clues to Lizzie’s mysterious death? Penny must work with Inspector James Blakely to investigate the worlds of theatre, showmen and politicians in search of the truth.
But who is following her? And who is sending her threatening letters?
Penny is about to discover that Lizzie’s life was more complicated, and dangerous, than she could ever have imagined.
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