Posted in Historical Fiction

A 21st Century Profiler Hunts Down a 19th Century Serial Killer in Julie McElwain’s “A Murder in Time”

Image courtesy of Goodreads

Plot Summary:

Beautiful and brilliant, Kendra Donovan is a rising star at the FBI. Yet her path to professional success hits a speed bump during a disastrous raid where half her team is murdered, a mole in the FBI is uncovered and she herself is severely wounded. As soon as she recovers, she goes rogue and travels to England to assassinate the man responsible for the deaths of her teammates.

While fleeing from an unexpected assassin herself, Kendra escapes into a stairwell that promises sanctuary but when she stumbles out again, she is in the same place – Aldrich Castle – but in a different time: 1815, to be exact.

Mistaken for a lady’s maid hired to help with weekend guests, Kendra is forced to quickly adapt to the time period until she can figure out how she got there; and, more importantly, how to get back home. However, after the body of a girl is found on the extensive grounds of the county estate, she starts to feel there’s some purpose to her bizarre circumstances. Stripped of her twenty-first century tools, Kendra must use her wits alone in order to unmask a cunning madman (Goodreads, 2016).

Review:

In some ways this book strikes me as a murder mystery version of Diana Galbadon’s “Outlander” series with the heroine accidentally getting sucked back in time. While the idea of a modern heroine being sent back in time may not be the most original, I think that Julie McElwain created great characters and the plot itself was a very satisfying mystery that kept me guessing till the end. I also enjoyed seeing a modern person’s perspective on 19th century life and having to tackle the issues of class and women’s rights. Reading this book made me even more aware that though some things have changed in our society, many have stayed much the same.

In terms of the characters, there are so many good ones to choose from. There is Kendra Donovan, our heroine, who sticks out like a sore thumb in the 19th century. I couldn’t help laughing as I read her missteps in terms of addressing/speaking to aristocrats or discussing Jane Austen, when the author would have been an unknown figure at the time. At the same time I admired Kendra’s intelligence, her courage and her loyalty to her new found friends. She is someone who is willing to do just about anything to help those in need or those she cares about and I greatly respect that. I also really liked the character of the Duke and Alec, who served as sharp contrasts to many of their contemporaries in terms of their views on the roles and abilities of women. I felt that the Duke became a much needed father figure to Kendra and am curious to see if the relationship will continue in book 2 of the series. And of course, I’d like to see what happens with Kendra and Alec’s budding relationship. Can people from such different times really make it work? And does Kendra actually want to stay in the 19th century?

With regards to the plot, it elicited many emotions ranging from laughter to terror. The serial killer POV chapters in particular were chilling. The mystery itself kept me guessing till the very end, which I consider to be very important in a mystery series.

I don’t usually read a lot of mystery books, but I genuinely enjoyed this one and feel that it was a 5 out of 5 book for me. If you are looking for a murder mystery with a twist then you should consider picking this one up.

Quotes I Enjoyed:

The human mind can handle only so much stress. It’s why men, women and children eventually resume their daily business in war zones, shopping while bombs dropped”

Kendra

She didn’t believe in ghosts, but she did believe in evil. The two legged kind”

Kendra

That is the trouble, sir. There is no good time a man wants to discuss the rights of women”

Rebecca

Let me know your thoughts on this book. Do you have any favorite mystery books/series?