Pinkerton detective Jennifer Layne is no stranger to undercover work. But posing as a lady companion named Amy at Miss Lillian’s Parlor House and Boots is a first for her. She’s finally landed a high-profile case and is on the trail of the notorious Gunnysack Bandit, when one of Miss Lillian’s girls essential to her investigation meets an untimely demise. Only a handful of people are in the house at the time of her death, including handsome Tom Colton, a former Texas Ranger determined to clear his brother’s name. Amy has many reasons to suspect Tom of murder—and one very personal reason to hope that she’s wrong about him.
What I Loved: First of all, Margaret Brownley is one of those authors that is on my good side. I can always count on her to give me a solid story with just the right amount of suspense, humor, mystery, a message for my soul, and romance.
Petticoat Detective is one of those mystery novels that you’re not able to solve within the first chapter which is something that I greatly appreciate. Jennifer finds herself in a pretty awkward position much longer than she ever meant. This leads to some humorous situations as well as a change of heart for both her and myself. It left me thinking harder about how I view people.
The main characters were well developed and the supporting cast was a major hit. I absolutely loved Petticoat Detective and I can’t wait to finish the series.
Caution: I do want to point out that Jennifer is working undercover as…a lady of the night. Young or sensitive readers may want to be aware of this. However, as a super sensitive reader myself, I can honestly say that everything was handled tastefully. This can be a difficult setting to work with without shocking your audience, but Brownley handled it like a pro.
It was a little odd to me at first to find the main character actively dressing the part of a prostitute and living with them throughout the duration of the novel, but she never “walks the walk.” And her placement in the home brings a new light to the type of situations that led so many women down such a dark and hopeless road.
While the setting makes the novel sound gritty, the execution really wasn’t. I hope this helps fellow sensitive readers make the decision that’s best for them.
Rating and Recommendation: I’m giving Petticoat Detective 5 stars and recommend it to anyone who enjoys Christian Historical Fiction.