Thursday, March 24, 2016

Book Review: Dressed for Death by Julianna Deering

Dressed for Death by Julianna Deering
Drew Farthering Mysteries #4
Bethany House Publishers
March 1st, 2016

My Rating
❤ Goodreads Synopsis ❤
Drew and Madeline Farthering celebrate their six-month anniversary by attending a fancy Regency era costume party. Drew is glad to see Talbot Cummins, an Oxford classmate, and his fiancée, Alice Henley, though many present seem worried about the couple. Everyone's concerns are realized when, at the concluding grand ball, Alice dies of an overdose of cocaine. Tal refuses to believe she took the stuff intentionally, and Drew is determined to find out if her death was an accident or murder.

Drew is shocked and disillusioned when the police arrest Tal's father and reveal that the man has been smuggling drugs into the country for the past twenty years. Reeling from the death of his fiancée and the revelation about his father, Tal begs Drew to find out what's going on. Drew, now questioning his own ability to see people as they really are, does so reluctantly, not ready for the secrets he's about to uncover--or the danger he'll bring down on everyone he holds dear.
❤ My Thoughts ❤ 
As it happens, readers have been waiting for the 4th Drew Farthering Mystery much, much longer than I first supposed! I was sure the 3rd novel, Murder at the Mikado, was published last year, but no, it was 2014. So fans have been loooooooong overdue for this latest release and I am pleased to announce that Dressed for Death is well worth the wait!
Look at the cover. Is anything different about it? What era is this series set in? If you're guessing the 1930s because you know the series then yes, you are 100% correct and win the gold Cupie doll! But the book cover is most absolutely a Regency cover! You should have seen my double take when I pulled the book from its package from Bethany House. If you're guessing I should have known by the synopsis, realize that I rarely read synopses in full. I like it when a book surprises me. In fact, I wouldn't have it any other way.

So the realization that Drew, Madeline, and Nick are attending a week long Regency themed house party where appropriate Regency garb is required at all times just made my little anglophile heart leap. It made for an absolutely charming change of pacing and setting and I'm so glad Ms. Deering thought up such a clever idea.

If you've read any of this series before then you already know that the novels are high-spirited and comedic in nature. But the series also involves quite a bit of death and the ruination of lives, and so the mystery in the 4th novel is a depressing one. It reveals, quite painfully, how drug dealers operate within a rather limited morality, caring only for their own loved ones and not for anyone else. It's very much like The Godfather, and I assume that is because the theme is true. If it weren't, we wouldn't have drug dealers to contend with because they would care about the people they hurt. I applaud the originality of a theme rarely presented in historic Christian fiction.

The little things I liked are . . . Eddie the cat (so ADORABLE!), the Regency era reenactment (it's now given me quite a few ideas for a potential house party someday), nad Drew and Madeline as a married couple (YAY!). I felt the mystery was solid and left only one loose thread in the maid, Jacequline's, mysterious illness that was never addressed. But seeing as that is a very small, unimportant thread, I'm not one to quibble.

One thing I've noticed about myself is that I rarely finish reading a series. I'll go so far and thank kaput. But with the success of Ms. Deering's last two books, and their ability to hold me spellbound, I will follow Drew Farthering and his darling bride on their adventures until their final publication. I love the growth of the characters from one book to the next and my fondness for Nick continues to expand, which is good since he's Drew's best friend. This particular set of characters is endearing to me and I can't help wishing the series would continue forever.

I also hope *hint, hint* that other Christian authors may try their hand at historic mysteries that are high on adventure and less focused on romance. The balance Ms. Deering has found for her Drew Farthering Mysteries is just perfect. And look at those incredible book covers! ❤

* I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review, which I have given.


  1. Glad you enjoyed your book. I'll have to read these sometime. :)

    1. Yep, most definitely. They're quite entertaining!


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