My Rating: 3 Stars
An entertaining novel by Elizabeth Peters, but not one of her best works.
Elizabeth Jones works in a publishing house. After saving money for three years, she’s finally able to take her dream holidays. But things don’t go as planned. In fact, things start going downhill when she recognises the famous historical writer, Margaret Rosenberg taking the same flight. When the plane arrives in Copenhagen, an unfortunate accident renders Margaret without a secretary. Elizabeth introduces herself and volunteers to work with her during her holidays. As she introduced to the authors disagreeable and arrogant son, Christian, she thinks her life can’t get any better. When Margaret suddenly goes missing, they have to work together to unravel the motive and the mystery of Queen Margaret I of Scandinavia.
The novel takes place in the 80s and the setting and language match the plot and the characters. The language used is very similar to that of nowadays and the absence of technology was a breath of fresh air for me. As usual, Peters chose a great setting. It’s a European beauty, marvellously described and the plot develops in a great way in the streets of Copenhagen. I would though, classify this novel as a cosy-mystery more than a historical novel or even a serious mystery. Even though the idea of the plot is good, I got a bit lost in all the unnecessary turns the characters made and the constant abuse of the main male character for no reason.
The characters are likeable but I couldn’t really understand their connection. There is a lack of depth to the characters, at all levels. Elizabeth, the female lead, is a funny, feisty young woman dedicated to her job and her dreams. She’s witty but there were times that I actually doubted her logic. She would just stand there and do nothing. Christian, the main male lead, is the typical handsome, arrogant man with a mean mouth on him. My main problem with these characters is that, firstly, I can’t figure out how they got romantically attached. All they do is fight, argue, put flaws on each other and then suddenly Elizabeth realises she has feelings for him. I couldn’t see a solid development of feelings anyway, they just appeared there, out of the blue. I couldn’t connect with the main characters and I failed to follow the growth of their feelings if there is one. Secondly, there isn’t a good reason for the male character be like this, not a single one. Yes, his mother is a bit crazy, but the abominable way he treats people is inexcusable for me. Additionally, the way he treats his mother as a crazy teenager that has no idea of what she’s doing is going a bit overboard. There’s a lot of whining, a lot of snobby comments and points of view on the events and places, like the small fair and the carousel. There was a lot, but not of anything that actually mattered.
I’ve read several books of Barbara Michaels/Elizabeth Peters and I’m a big fan of her works. Because I know what she’s capable of with Amelia Peabody and Vicky Bliss, I can say that this novel doesn’t fit in that level. This one didn’t leave a positive impression.
Hope you find an idea for your next reading here.