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Book of the Week #46 "A Singular and Whimsical Problem"


by Rachel McMillan

Jem Watts and Merinda Herringford are two Edwardian bachelor girls on the wrong side of twenty living in their own apartment in the bustling Canadian city of Toronto. Yet these two ladies are anything but the typical Edwardian women of the 1910s. They're up-and-coming detectives and charge people to investigate cases around the city. In their unusual careers, Jem and Merinda often disguise themselves as men, wearing trousers, bowler hats, and the occasional fake mustache, in order to blend in during certain circumstances they go through to solve cases. And neither one could keep house well enough to save their lives. In A Singular and Whimsical Problem, the two are asked to find a missing one eared black cat named Pepper by his wealthy owner. Feisty Merinda is put out with the seemingly miniscule case, but Jem treats the situation just as she would other cases and takes it seriously. As they meet newspaper writer Ray DeLuca for lunch, they're approached by a waitress who is worried about her sister and her "loose" lifestyle. As the two investigate the case, they find themselves in unsavory parts of the city. What seem like simple cases could lead to much bigger issues.

I can't say enough good things about this book. This was the first time I've read anything in the mystery/detective genre. I had sort of been interested, but never got around to reading anything in the genre. Yet the premise of this series really intrigued me. First of all, I love the Edwardian era. And I love the idea of two female sleuths running around Toronto in the 1910s solving cases, sometimes in proper ladies attire, other times disguised as men. It sounds so incredibly fun. And trust me; it's as fun as it sounds. The writing is done beautifully and flows at a wonderful pace. There are plot twists, but they all make sense and tie in together. All of the characters balance out one another perfectly. *Sigh* It's simply lovely.

I love Jem and Merinda. They make the perfect pair of friends. Jem is more levelheaded and easy going, whereas Merinda is a "guns-blazing" type of person who's ready to jump straight into the thick of things. I have a feeling in future books, Merinda will help challenge Jem to have a little more fun and come more out of her shell, and that Jem will keep Merinda from getting in over her head. Like peanut butter and jelly, Thelma and Louise, Jem and Merinda are meant to be best friends. And in case you were wondering, yes; there is romance. Jem has her eye on the tall, dark, and handsome newspaper reporter Ray DeLuca. But there's also a friendship/partnership about the two. Ray helps the girls with the ins and outs of the business and supports them greatly. He's a nice contrast to many men of the 1910s; a very forward thinking type of guy. If you know me, then you might find my statement biased, but I do love a newspaper guy that supports women's rights. ;-) And though we don't see an awful lot of Jasper in this novella, I've heard that he plays a bigger role in future books, and I must admit to being intrigued, especially after seeing Rachel's visual inspiration.

I really love seeing women's rights being written about in Christian fiction. I feel like you don't see that topic much in this particular genre, but I wish it were more prominent. Suffrage and romance are balanced beautifully in this book. Jem and Merinda want to have their careers and to be treated fairly, but they also look for romance. It shows us that it's okay to be strong and independent and to do bold things, as well as fall in love with the perfect guy. You can have both.

There are so many reasons why I love A Singular and Whimsical Problem. It's a wonderful start to a beautiful series that I can't wait to read more of. If you love books at all, check this one out.

I give this book a 5 out of 5.


P.S. In case you were wondering, yes; I did keep trying to replace the "e" with an "i" and the "i" with an "a" in Merinda's name. Same thing happens when I write my mom's name, "Marina." ;-) Though, I do love the name Merinda and find it oh so charming. Jem's name, too. I love spelling "Jem" with an "e."

9 comments

  1. I'm all about mystery and suspense novels. I will have to check this author out sometime. :)

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    1. I think you would really love this series, Julie. It's oh-so-lovely. :)

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  2. *happy sigh* This book is fantabulous! Cannot wait to read MORE (not long now) by Rachel and discover what other shenanigans besties Jem and Merinda get up to.

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  3. I'm currently reading The Bachelor Girl's Guide to Murder the first one in the series. Haven't gotten too far into it yet, but am enjoying it. I guess the one you reviewed is a novella. I ordered the one you reviewed and pre-ordered another novella coming out on May 31 and then the 2nd book in the series comes out in September. Thanks for the recommendation :)

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  4. I'm currently reading The Bachelor Girl's Guide to Murder the first one in the series. Haven't gotten too far into it yet, but am enjoying it. I guess the one you reviewed is a novella. I ordered the one you reviewed and pre-ordered another novella coming out on May 31 and then the 2nd book in the series comes out in September. Thanks for the recommendation :)

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    1. That's awesome, Julie! I didn't realize that The Bachelor Girl's Guide to Murder came before A Singular and Whimsical Problem because it came out before this one. I'm currently reading it too, and I love it! I can't wait to read the rest of the series.

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    2. Uh oh, maybe I am wrong then? Maybe I should have read that one first? I have noticed in The Bachelor Girl's Guide to Murder that it does assume that we have information about the girls that I don't remember reading so maybe A Singular and Whimsical Problem is a prequel or introduction to the series. hmmmm....

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  5. I finished The Bachelor Girl's Guide to Murder yesterday, and based on the ending I'd say yes; A Singular and Whimsical problem is a prequel. But, I don't think it would hurt if you read The Bachelor Girl's Guide to Murder first, and you'll still enjoy ASAWP when you read it. Happy reading, Julie! :)

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