The Curious Case of the Clockwork Menace
Author: Bec McMaster
The Curious Case of the Clockwork Menace is a wonderful whodunit mystery set in Bec McMaster’s London Steampunk world. It is listed as book 3.5, but story does go back 3 years in time. The book shares the story of one of Perry and Garrett’s cases, one of some significance that is mentioned in book #4, Forged by Desire. It can be read as a stand alone story, or in conjunction with Forged, and in fact, I didn’t ever read it until after I finished Forged by Desire. In the context of the series, it is a great piece of backstory, and is clearly an event that helped bring Perry and Garrett together in Forged.
The nighthawks are commissioned by Lord Rommell after his lead actress and mistress Nelly Tate goes missing. Soon detectives Perry, the lone female nighthawk, and Garrett find themselves with a handful of suspects, one dead shop owner, and an impatient member of the Echelon, wanting this all put behind him. What the pair wasn’t expecting was a growing tension which develops between the longtime partners and friends.
The mystery of what happens to Nelly Tate is involved and engrossing. As the plot thickens, the author provides additional clues and diversions to keep the detectives, and this reader, guessing up until the end. And while the story would stand on its own merits with the mystery alone, Ms. McMaster expertly weaves a budding awareness of something more than friendship between long-time friends. Please note: this is NOT the story of Perry and Garrett’s romance; their story is told in Forged by Desire.
Having read Perry and Garrett’s story in Forged by Desire first, I enjoyed learning about this event, which is mentioned a few times within Forged. However, it is a well-written stand alone mystery. I was riveted to the book; engrossed by the details and unfolding plot. The pieces of the puzzle were all there, it was just a matter of putting them in place. The mystery is superbly executed, and I enjoyed trying to figure it all out.
Friends, partners, and professionals. So just why is this case coming between them?
In a Victorian London ruled by the blood-drinking elite, Perry Lowell is a logical and accomplished Nighthawk: a rogue blue blood who tracks murderers and thieves for the Guild. So when she and her charming-but-reckless partner, Garrett, are charged with finding a missing theatre starlet, it should be a simple solve.
But with an entire theatre of suspects, including a flirtatious understudy and whispers of a Clockwork Menace haunting the place, tension is brewing between the pair of them. Can they come together to solve the case – or will it be too late, when the murderer turns his gaze on Perry herself?
Release Date: August 19, 2014
Series: London Steampunk #3.5
Genre: Steampunk, Mystery, novella
Book Source: free download on Amazon