Monday, February 1, 2021

Betrayal At Ravenswick: A Fiona Figg Mystery by Kelly Oliver

Betrayal At Ravenswick: A Fiona Figg Mystery 
by Kelly Oliver
Published March 2020 by Historia
Source: my copy courtesy of the publisher and TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review

Publisher's Summary:
What’s the best way to purge an unfaithful husband?

Become a spy for British Intelligence, of course.

Desperate to get out of London and determined to help the war effort, Fiona Figg volunteers to go undercover.It keeps her from thinking about Andrew, her philandering husband.

At Ravenswick Abbey a charming South African war correspondent has tongues wagging.His friends say he’s a crack huntsman. The War Office is convinced he’s a traitor. Fiona thinks he’s a pompous prig.What sort of name is Fredrick Fredricks anyway?

Too bad Fiona doesn’t own a Wolseley pith helmet. At Ravenswick a murderer is on the prowl, and it’s not just the big-game hunter who’s ready to pounce.

My Thoughts:
I said in my post last week that this book was probably going to benefit from being the right book at the right time. I was right. It's a nice blend of a cozy mystery with the depth that comes from being set during a war and exploring the fall out from that. 

Fiona is not your typical heroine. She will readily admit that she's not beauty queen. In fact, with her height, she's able to pass as a man when she's sent undercover to Ravenswick Abbey. She's got a photographic memory, a skill at breaking codes, and finds the fact that the men in the office consider it her job to clean up after them more than a little annoying. She has a passion for clothes (and the costumes her new job allows her to use), especially hats and the details of the clothing helped set the story in time. She has her heart broken when her beloved husband returns from the war only to leave her for another woman just months later and then again when he dies. And on her days off, she works as a nurse, helping care for soldiers coming back from the war  with unimaginably horrible injuries. 

The mystery itself was intriguing enough to keep me guessing, with plenty of red herrings, motives for murder, and potential killers. In fact, there are so many options that first one and then another killer are arrested. And they still haven't gotten the right person. Oliver lets readers know what's what but also allows that some people might have to suffer a little for their misdeeds even if they didn't commit murder. There's not time here to really develop most of the characters but this is not the kind of book that requires that; we learn exactly what we need to know about each of them. The ending of the book sets up the next book with the set up and plenty of unanswered questions. 

Is it high literature or the most well-crafted mystery? No; there are some cliches and the mystery sort of takes a backseat to developing the story line for the coming books. But I wasn't expecting anything too complicated or prizewinning. I found it perfectly entertaining without being too light and I enjoyed it a lot. I'm definitely looking forward to the next book, High Treason At The Grand Hotel, which was published in January. 

For other opinions about this book, check out the full tour at TLC Book Tours. Thanks to the ladies at TLC Book Tours for including me on this tour. 

About Kelly Oliver 
Kelly Oliver grew up in the Northwest, Montana, Idaho, and Washington states. Her maternal grandfather was a forest ranger committed to saving the trees, and her paternal grandfather was a logger hell bent on cutting them down. On both sides, her ancestors were some of the first settlers in Northern Idaho. In her own unlikely story, Kelly went from eating a steady diet of wild game shot by her dad to becoming a vegetarian while studying philosophy and pondering animal minds. Competing with peers who’d come from private schools and posh families “back East,” Kelly’s working class backwoods grit has served her well. And much to her parent’s surprise, she’s managed to feed and clothe herself as a professional philosopher. 

When she’s not writing mysteries, Kelly Oliver is a Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at Vanderbilt University. She earned her B.A. from Gonzaga University and her Ph.D. from Northwestern University. She is the author of thirteen scholarly books, ten anthologies, and over 100 articles, including work on campus rape, reproductive technologies, women and the media, film noir, and Alfred Hitchcock. Her work has been translated into seven languages, and she has published an op-ed on loving our pets in The New York Times. She has been interviewed on ABC television news, the Canadian Broadcasting Network, and various radio programs. 

Kelly lives in Nashville with her husband, Benigno Trigo, and her furry family, Mischief and Mayhem. Find out more about Kelly at her website, and connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

1 comment:

  1. I agree, I read this at the right time, I just needed something cozy and light and this fit the bill perfectly. I'm glad you enjoyed it! Thank you for being on this tour! Sara @ TLC Book Tours