This series is total Rachel Catnip!!! England in the 1930s, a glamorous playboy and his smart amateur detective wife, glittering scenes, a love story that is my favourite type full of misunderstandings and stolen gazes and two people who love each other deeply but JUST ARE NOT COMMUNICATING and it is all very Percy and Marguerite!
I am sorry I didn't gush about them one by one but time slips by!
I really very much devoured the books in this series and I am so sorry it took me so long to get to talking about them with you. They have all the deep characterization and POV remnant of Maisie Dobbs. Amory is a very pragmatic character in her internal workings and I love seeing the world and the people she encounters first-hand. I also don’t let myself fall into the trap of guessing the murderer because I am too busy in the moment: reveling in the sights and smells of a perfectly illustrated masquerade, visiting the seaside in an Agatha Christie-esque getaway of murder and a myriad of well-developed suspects. I want to fall into the world and see it slowly... ruminatively as Amory does. I want to see every interaction through her eyes and experience the slow build , the mysteries, the inevitable mayhem. Inasmuch as a reader wants to slip into the world and setting --- it is integral that they have the most winsome guide through which to appropriate perspective. Amory is very much the type of first person protagonist I want to spend time with.
As for Milo, playboy about town who has the scandalous habit of tripping into the flash of a photo lens at the wrong time, I spent the first few books trying to cast out ideas of him like a line to water--- wanting him to be more than he is in hopes to justify his behaviour. Then, I realized that I didn’t need to impress my own ideas onto a character who is just enough with his mishaps. It doesn’t need to be toward a greater purpose on a larger stage of adventure. Part of Amory’s development is in her understanding of Milo and the shifts in their relationship. While the obvious Nick and Nora Charles comparison is inevitable, I liken Amory and Milo more to Harriet and Peter in ways--- for Weaver takes more time to examine the heart of their relationship beyond the (and it is delightful!) banter.
So what we have here to stir in our pot is every ingredient of the golden age of mystery: dazzling setting, continental adventure, clothes and capers and suspects and murders-to-solve – but what differentiates it is (something I often find when reading contemporary published books set in the golden age) keen, beguiling characterization. Each character---forefront and in periphery--- are carefully developed. And Amory and Milo –from flirting around their passion and love for each other, to playing at amateur sleuths, to trying to figure out the best way to hold onto what makes them complete as a couple is the deftest, most lovely study ever. I root for this couple --- as a reader I love the happy sigh when they cross a hurdle large or small – as much as I love the excruciatingly slow moments ticking through their latest misunderstanding.
If you like Rhys Bowen or Vivian Conroy, Sayers or Christie, or Deanna Raybourn, then this is the series for you.