Every once in a while I like to post a review of a book I have enjoyed. Murder in Thrall by Anne Cleeland is in one of my favorite genres, a British detective novel, but with a twist. This is my review that was published in Suspense Magazine. I recommend it.
Rookie detective Kathleen Doyle is paired up with renowned Chief Inspector Michael Sinclair ( Lord Acton) in a Scotland Yard mystery that quickly becomes personal for both detectives. Doyle possesses an uncanny ability to detect when a person is lying, and Sinclair relies on her abilities even as he is falling in love with the red-haired Irish woman. He is something of an enigma himself, with a reputation for solving the most difficult of crimes while remaining aloof from his fellow officers. When one of their prime witnesses is murdered, Doyle and Acton find themselves increasingly in the eye of the killer, and the Chief Inspector endeavors to protect his partner for his own romantic reasons, while she struggles to do her job, and keep their relationship a secret from other members of the force.
Each chapter begins with Sinclair’s thoughts about Doyle, leading the reader to wonder if his interest is genuine, or if is he stalking her for nefarious reasons. As one murder follows another, Doyle struggles to prove her abilities as a rookie detective, but everyone in her department at Scotland Yard defers to Acton, and she can only follow his instructions, both to keep their relationship a secret from their professional associates and to protect Doyle’s life.
Author Anne Cleeland unfolds the story in an unexpected manner. The snippets at the beginnings of each chapter give insight into Acton’s mind and growing feelings for Doyle, and also increase the tension of the plot. As the author slowly reveals Doyle’s impoverished childhood in Dublin, she takes on depth as a human being with all the worries and uncertainties and life. When the killer is finally identified, it is totally unexpected. The test of a good book is always how much one thinks about the characters when the book is done, and I am still wondering what would happen next. I look forward to more Acton and Doyle Scotland Yard mysteries.