26 June, 2020

#BookReview :: The Body in the Garden (Lily Adler #1) Katherine Schellman

About the Book:
Check out the Book on Amazon
London 1815. Although newly widowed Lily Adler is returning to a society that frowns on independent women, she is determined to create a meaningful life for herself even without a husband. She's no stranger to the glittering world of London's upper crust. At a ball thrown by her oldest friend, Lady Walter, she expects the scandal, gossip, and secrets. What she doesn't expect is the dead body in Lady Walter's garden.

Lily overheard the man just minutes before he was shot: young, desperate, and attempting blackmail. But she's willing to leave the matter to the local constables - until Lord Walter bribes the investigating magistrate to drop the case. Stunned and confused, Lily realizes she's the only one with the key to catching the killer.

Aided by a roguish navy captain and a mysterious heiress from the West Indies, Lily sets out to discover whether her friend's husband is mixed up in blackmail and murder. The unlikely team tries to conceal their investigation behind the whirl of London's social season, but the dead man knew secrets about people with power. Secrets that they would kill to keep hidden. Now, Lily will have to uncover the truth - before she becomes the murderer's next target.


I do not mind admitting that when I saw the title and the blurb of the book, I couldn't but help think of Irene Adler. Can you blame me though? A lady with the famous last name in the London society set in the 1800s! I am both happy  to report that Lily Adler is a headstrong individual who I loved anyway.

Lily Adler is newly widowed and as she makes her way back into the London society scene, she sees things and people in a new light. The society doesn't have much patience for a stubborn, independent girl and is busy covering up their secrets and scandals. Lucky for Lily though, she has Jack Hartley, her late husband's friend in her corner. As she attends a ball thrown by her friend, she is ready to get back into the thick of things. She finds the expected scandal and gossip, but she also finds a dead body in the garden. When Lily finds out foul play with regards to the case, she decides to take matters in to her own hands. Armed with the knowledge that the victim had been blackmailing someone at the party and a sense of justice, Lily has a uphill battle to fight.

I loved the character of Lily Adler. She is in no way perfect, but I love her stubborn streak, her sense of right and wrong, and she is quite brilliant really. Reading about her little adventure, set in an era when people expected women to be weak and meek little creatures who keep themselves busy with the household is amusing really. The naval officer Jack Hartley makes for a good assistant as someone who is not hindered by society's hypocrisy. But seriously, Jack's character could do with a bit more depth. I hoped to see a sense of equality between these two which was lacking. They share a connection because of Freddy (Lily's late husband) and there are some light and frank moments between them… but they are far from being good friends themselves. Ms.Oswald on the other hand made much more impact on me.

The plot is well laid down and has red herrings sprinkled throughout. The author almost had me on a false trail… almost. With a slow start to the book, the pace does pick up later on and by the time we reach the climax, the book had a hook in me completely. It was a page turner. I liked the way the author handled the subjects of corruption and race in the book. I am pretty sure that I would love to read more in the series though I do hope for a better pace.