Monday, January 25, 2016

CALICO SPY by Margaret Brownley

Marji Laine reviews Calico Spy, and intriguing historical mystery and suspense
by Margaret Brownley.

Short Version:

The adventure of a detectives life didn't erase Katie Madison's past, but life as one of the few female Pinkerton Detectives certainly commanded her attention enough to keep her past failures from haunting her. However, success wouldn't be so easy with this new case that took her to Calico, Kansas and plopped her, undercover, as a Harvey House girl.

Sheriff Branch Whitman had enough trouble solving the murders of two young waitresses. The last thing he needed to deal with was some know-it-all Pink hired by Frank Harvey to ostensibly protect his business reputation. At least, the new waitress at the House was charming, though he didn't need another distraction either.

What he needed were answers. And he needed them before the killer claimed another victim.

My Take:

I was thoroughly out-foxed by Ms. Brownley! She laid out perfect clues for anyone to see and I completely missed them. This plot drew in several threads on its winding way to completion. Each cause solid and reasonable. Each response logical. Yet, I failed to consider the subtleties and missed some of the most important clues. Ha! Well done!

I loved the way she crafted complete scenarios for each of her characters. Not only did she distinguish between the innocent and the guilty, but she attached hidden connections to the characters so that by the end of the story, instead of a group of shallow restaurant workers, the Harvey House of Calico was filled with deep individuals whose heartbreaks and hopes were carried by one another in order to make the entire group stronger.

The romance of this story was palpable. Katie's resistance due to past heartbreak and Branch's avoidance from grieving his late wife made their desperate desire to submit to the feelings they had for each other a constant inner battle. One moment, the kindness between them melted fears and tore through restraints. The next moment, misunderstanding or false assumptions dashed all hope for a happily ever after.

The suspense of the romance was almost as exciting as the life-threatening suspense of the killer on the loose.

I highly recommend Calico Spy, the third of the Undercover Ladies series. I sure hope there is a fourth! And if you're interested in books one or two, Here is the review for Petticoat Detective and Undercover Bride.

Want a chance to win a copy of Calico Spy for yourself? Head over to Faith Driven Fiction where Margaret Brownley has a great interview, and leave your comments there!

About the Senior Reviewer:

Suspense Sister, Marji Laine, loves books and writing. Her own Grime Fighter novella series, about a crime scene cleaner, involves mystery, romance, and a touch of suspense.

Living in a Dallas suburb with her hubby of almost 30 years and her twins - the youngest of four - she spends her days homeschooling and transporting her teenagers to various functions, especially volleyball games. She also directs the children's music, helps with the youth choir, and sings in the adult choir at her church, as well as coordinates the high school credit classes along with the website of a large home school co-op.

Join her at or follow her on FacebookTwitter, or visit her Amazon author page.

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