Book Tour Review: The Masque of a Murderer by Susanna Calkins

Wednesday, April 8, 2015
Title: The Masque of a Murderer
Author: Susanna Calkins
Genre: historical fiction, mystery
Series: Lucy Campion #3
Pages: 336
Published: expected April 14 2015
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for review
Rating: 3/5
It’s 1666 and the Great Fire has just decimated an already plague-ridden London. Lady’s maid Lucy Campion, along with pretty much everyone else left standing, is doing her part to help the city clean up and recover. But their efforts come to a standstill when a couple of local boys stumble across a dead body that should have been burned up in the fire but miraculously remained intact—the body of a man who died not from the plague or the fire, but from the knife plunged into his chest.

Searching for a purpose now that there’s no lady in the magistrate’s household for her to wait on, Lucy has apprenticed herself to a printmaker. But she can't help but use her free time to help the local constable, and she quickly finds herself embroiled in the murder investigation. It will take all of her wits and charm, not to mention a strong stomach and a will of steel, if Lucy hopes to make it through alive herself.

When it comes to The Masque of a Murderer, Susanna Calkins' third Lucy Campion novel, there were several things I liked easily and right away. Lucy, was one, the time and setting another, as well as the inclusion of Quakers to the mystery. It's an easy, enjoyably lite thriller of a read - one able to power through on the character charisma as well as the mystery propelling the plot along. It's a solid novel in what I suspect is a series that hinges on the charm and appreciation for its characters as well as a cleverly laid whodunit plot.

London is at an interesting place when this novel occurs. After an outbreak of plague and the Great Fire that followed, a lot of life and culture is in flux. It's quite a clever time to insert a possibility otherwise anachronistic character like a female printer's apprentice like Lucy, but it works here for Calkins. It's well within suspension of disbelief and Lucy herself sells it with her love of words and ability to craft a story from the facts.

Unfortunately, though this novel can be read as a standalone, I did feel a bit left out on some parts of The Masque of a Murderer. Some of the social interactions between Lucy and others (particularly her love interests) were harder for me to read, some of the meaning behind particular memories didn't make any emotional impact. However, it didn't ruin the effect of this story's plot - since that's all contained and wrapped up in the novel - but it highlighted just how removed I was from Lucy's narration. 

I liked reading Masque of a Murderer for quick and easy mystery fix. Susanna Calkins has an able hand for crafting both characters and mystery and her third effort in the Lucy Campion mysteries was an easygoing entry into her bibliography. I didn't quite fall in love with either the story or the characters, though I enjoyed both. It's probably best to begin at the beginning and get to know Lucy and Lach and Sarah where it all starts rather than jump in midway.

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The Masque of a Murderer Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, March 16
Review at Bibliophilia, Please

Tuesday, March 17
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Guest Post at Bibliophilia, Please

Wednesday, March 18
Interview at Flashlight Commentary

Friday, March 20
Spotlight at Historical Readings & Reviews

Monday, March 23
Review & Interview at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Wednesday, March 25
Review & Interview at The Emerald City Book Review

Tuesday, March 31
Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book

Wednesday, April 1
Character Interview at Boom Baby Reviews

Thursday, April 2
Review at Just One More Chapter

Monday, April 6
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Tuesday, April 7
Spotlight at The Genre Queen

Thursday, April 9
Review at The Lit Bitch
Guest Post at A Literary Vacation

Friday, April 10
Review at Book Nerd

Monday, April 13
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews

Tuesday, April 14
Review at Book Babe

Thursday, April 16
Review at Jorie Loves a Story
Spotlight at Layered Pages

Friday, April 17
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

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