Tag Archives: Golden Age

An Act of Villainy

Title:  An Act of Villainy Revenge (Amory Ames 5)
Author:  Ashley Weaver
Publisher:  Minotaur Books
Publication Date:  2018
ISBN:  978-1-250-15975-5

Book Summary:
Gerald and Georgina Holloway seem to have the perfect marriage. This adventurous couple travels the world to exotic locales, goes big game hunting, and despite marrying young, seems completely devoted to one another. However, when Amory and Milo run into Gerald after an evening at the theater, Amory realizes that all is not what it seems. A theater aficionado, Gerald has written and is producing his own play, A Place of Victory, starring London theater’s newest darling, Flora Bell, who also happens to be, much to Amory’s shock and dismay, Gerald’s mistress. Gerald reaches out later to Milo to invite the couple to a dress rehearsal of the show. As devoted as Amory is to his wife, she can’t help but be intrigued when she learns of Gerald’s ulterior purpose. It appears someone isn’t a fan of Miss Bell and is sending threatening letters to her at the theater.

Amory and Milo watch the performance and despite her disapproval of the liaison, Amory must admit to Miss Bell’s mesmerizing ability to take control of the stage and completely enthrall the audience. Her ability to connect with Christopher Landon’s heroic character and Balthazar LeBeau’s villain engages the audience’s attention so much that it is impossible to not become caught up in the story. The chemistry on stage doesn’t transfer though into the everyday lives of the actors. Discord between the performers includes not only the leading men, but also Flora’s jealous understudy, Dahlia Dearborn.

As riveting as the performance is, the letters received by Miss Bell are ominous. Tension escalates as another letter arrives taking the threat level even higher. It becomes apparent that the theatrical subtext runs much deeper than the performance and it is unclear when and if the acting ever stops and reality begins. Amory and Milo unknowingly become involved a bitter chase of cat and mouse where the final curtain could be someone’s last.

Book Commentary:
Squeak! I absolutely love, love, love this series!! I’ve missed Amory and Milo and it is so delightful to be back with them, like old friends. This fifth installment of the Amory and Milo series embraces their detecting skills and proves that their involvement in these cases is helpful but can also be quite dangerous. Each character’s own talents, be it in the drawing room of the finest houses in London or the gambling den of the Gentleman’s clubs, has evolved, and these contrasting perspectives enable them to view the threats through different lenses. I really feel that Amory and Milo have solidified their relationship and partnership. This current challenge forces them to truly listen to one another, their understanding of themselves, and their own fears and vulnerability.

In this book we are introduced to Amory’s mother and she is a force to be reckoned with. I sincerely hope she makes a reappearance in future books. Her intense pride in the social requirements of her status come into conflict with her insatiable curiosity and the ensuing outcomes are delightful to read.

I must also admit that I am quite in love with Milo. As suave and debonair as he presents himself and his seemingly unconcerned attitude toward the sanctity of marriage, a greater depth to his character is revealed as Amory sees him through the eyes of others and is able to appreciate him as a husband, a partner, and a really talented detective. He too begins to go beyond the acceptance of his wife’s inquiry skills and truly appreciates the talent she has in seeing the inner souls of others.

Who might like this book:
I have recently become hooked on the Australian television series Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, which is based on a book series. It embraces a time period a few years prior to the Amory Ames’ series, but it helps to provide a visual to the clothing, architecture, and transportation of this time in history.

The Amory Ames mystery series is a great, well plotted mystery series with engaging characters and intrigue that includes all the necessities of love, revenge, jealously, and greed. As always, don’t even talk to me if you aren’t going to read them in order. A true appreciation of Amory and Milo’s relationship and partnership must be developed through its evolution.

Check out my reviews for previous books in the series:

Murder at Brightwell
Death Wears a Mask
A Most Novel Revenge
The Essence of Malice

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Death Wears a Mask

death-wears-a-mask

Title:  Death Wears a Mask (Amory Ames 2)
Author:  Ashley Weaver
Publisher:  Minotaur Books
Publication Date:  2015
ISBN:  978-1-250-09612-8

Book Summary:
After capturing a murderer and almost being killed herself at Brightwell, Amory Ames is enjoying some quiet time at home.  Her relationship with husband Milo seems to have arrived at a comfortable truce and she is hoping that his playboy ways have been calmed.  Amory accepts an invitation for she and Milo to attend a dinner party at the home of the Barringtons.  Mrs. Barrington was a friend of Amory’s mother and Amory is a bit surprised at the attempt at a renewed friendship after years apart.  At the party, it becomes apparent that Mrs. Barrington has more need of Amory that just her presence.  She pulls Amory aside as they progress into dinner, fiercely whispering to her that she should watch the guests.

Because of Amory’s success at Brightwell, Mrs. Barrington reveals to her that a number of her expensive and sentimental jewelry pieces have gone missing.  Through careful research, she is able to eliminate the staff as suspects.  Coincidentally, all the thefts have occurred on days when she has hosted dinner parties and all these dinner parties have included the same guests.  Amory and Mrs. Barrington work together to lay a trap the next evening at a masquerade party given by one of the guests, Lord Dunmore.  Lord Dunmore is charming and handsome and has almost as rakish a reputation of Milo.  Mrs. Barrington plans to wear a paste version of an expensive sapphire bracelet to entice a theft and to then catch the villain in the act.

Milo is amused by Amory’s involvement but deems it more necessary to visit his club to discuss the purchase of a fine Arabian horse than attend the party.  Unsure about Milo’s motivation and true intent, Amory arrives at the ball alone and the stage is set.  Lord Dunmore takes great interest in Amory and when she slips on the stair and sprains her ankle, he is quick to whisk her off her feet and take her to a bedchamber to examine her foot.  When Milo catches Amory with Lord Dunmore, he is nonplussed.  However, the scene becomes dire when a shot is heard, and the body of Mrs. Barrinton’s nephew is found with the stolen jewels in his pocket.

Inspector Jones from Brightwell has been reassigned to Scotland Yard and once again asks for Amory’s insight on the guests.  Amory agrees to help but quickly is overwhelmed by romantic conflicts, hidden agendas, and secret pasts.  Milo also has seemed to take the opportunity to revert back to his old ways.  Amory is unsure of who and what to trust because of the masks that people wear.

Book Commentary:
What a fantastic series!!  This is book two and the setting has switched to the elite of London.  Post World War I has invited a time of opulence and grandeur and the characters seem to have a life of lavish and leisure.  However, dark secrets of betrayal, financial loss, and violence are hidden just below the surface.  I really enjoy how the author describes this Golden Age while still laying the foundation of how the world will change in just a few short years.  I look forward to watching how these conflicting themes will play out in future books.

I absolutely love the character of Amory.  She is smart, refined, and elegant but her underlying sensitivity and humanity drive her actions.  She definitely knows her role in society and her marriage and doesn’t outwardly rebel against the norms but she knows how to work the system behind the scenes.  I appreciate her motivation in helping others as opposed to using the events just as a diversion.  Once again, Milo is an enigmatic character; we see a bit more of who he is but there is still more brewing under the surface.  I had a prediction as to what his character motivation was based on the first book and I was wrong; however, the author does provide some clues and I hope that more will be discovered in future books.

Who might like this book:
I have been reading a lot of books about World War I and the Golden Age right afterward; it is fascinating time in history and the series has set itself well into the manners and enigmas of the upper echelons of society.  In some ways, Amory reminds me of a more “modern day” version of Lady Emily from Tasha Alexander’s series; they are both strong, intelligent women who understand the norms and customs of society but also how to use them to their advantage.  Milo and Colin, however, are as different as can be!

You must read the first book, Murder at Brightwell, first.  It is just wrong to read this series out of order.  I am thrilled that the new Amory book, A Most Novel Revenge, is set for release on October 11, 2016.  As further endorsement of this series, unlike the first two books, I am not waiting.  I’m splurging on the hardback!!