What a pleasure to read these five novellas from Saffron Amatti! The author’s welcoming writing style effortlessly draws the reader into her stories. Beginning each new passage is like sinking into a relaxing bath at the end of a tough day.
In this series, the author developed a captivating storyline threaded through the five novellas, aligning it with multiple mysteries and two loveable characters, sweethearts Lucas and Clara – although in this reader’s opinion, Clara steals the limelight! Amatti stayed the course (the original threat hanging over Lucas and Clara), but managed to deliver interesting side paths for the characters to navigate, keeping the reader invested in how each would play out.
I often enjoy a dose of the paranormal in the mysteries I read, which is one reason why I purchased Amatti’s series. Lucas’ psychic gift allows him to speak to ghosts – which is also a bit of a curse. The author does a nice job of revealing both friendly and not-so-nice souls. This adds another pain point for the main character (Lucas): helping the victims (ghosts) when they might not have been the best people when alive. Contrast this with some of the villains: a couple might not really be evil at the core but were instead wounded terribly by life and shaped into something more sinister. It’s this circle of questioning (“Is the victim always so innocent? Is the bad guy always so bad?”) that compels the reader to consider the characters more deeply even after the page has been turned.
I would be remiss if I did not include how much I enjoyed the author’s details for the era. For example, in Death of a Songbird, my mind conjured the dance hall – sights, sounds, smells – easily because Amatti takes great care in setting these scenes. I very much was envious of Clara’s red flapper dress! By the time the reader has started novella number two (Death of a Songbird), the commitment is clear: you will keep reading this series because you will have to learn what happens next.
Amatti also delivers some real surprises throughout the course of this series. Revealing them here is not the intention of this review, but be prepared to stop and think: “No kidding? I just did not see that coming.” That’s a nice touch – as fun as it is to ‘figure out’ a whodunit, it’s also nice to be surprised.
Be prepared – the end of novella number five (Angel of Murder) does not wrap up everything nicely in a pretty package for the reader. Luckily, there’s another novella in Amatti’s arsenal called Betrayal – which carries the Lucas and Clara story forward.
In sum, Amatti’s Lucas Rathbone Mysteries Series is a perfect for fans of traditional British mysteries. If you enjoy Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, or even Midsomer Murders (TV) / Caroline Graham’s Inspector Barnaby Mysteries (books), you will enjoy Saffron Amatti’s work.