Series Title: A CHILD LOST (A Henrietta and Inspector Howard Novel #5) by Michelle Cox
Category: Adult Fiction, 409 pages
Genre: Historical Mystery
Publisher: She Writes Press
Release dates: April 2020
Content Rating: R: Rated R for 2 sex scenes that are somewhat explicit but which are tastefully done. There is periodic swearing (not excessive), religious profanity but no violence.
A spiritualist, an insane asylum, a lost little girl . . .
When Clive, anxious to distract a depressed Henrietta, begs Sergeant Frank Davis for a case, he is assigned to investigating a seemingly boring affair: a spiritualist woman operating in an abandoned schoolhouse on the edge of town who is suspected of robbing people of their valuables. What begins as an open and shut case becomes more complicated, however, when Henrietta―much to Clive’s dismay―begins to believe the spiritualist's strange ramblings.
Meanwhile, Elsie begs Clive and Henrietta to help her and the object of her budding love, Gunther, locate the whereabouts of one Liesel Klinkhammer, the German woman Gunther has traveled to America to find and the mother of the little girl, Anna, whom he has brought along with him. The search leads them to Dunning Asylum, where they discover some terrible truths about Liesel. When the child, Anna, is herself mistakenly admitted to the asylum after an epileptic fit, Clive and Henrietta return to Dunning to retrieve her. This time, however, Henrietta begins to suspect that something darker may be happening. When Clive doesn’t believe her, she decides to take matters into her own hands . . . with horrifying results.
In this aptly titled Book 5 of the series, Henrietta and Clive have informally begun to solve cases together. There is a spirit medium who has settled in an abandoned schoolhouse and she may be defrauding her clients. Henrietta's sister Elsie seeks their help in locating the mother of Anna, a 4-year old child who was left in the care of Gunther, the custodian Elsie is falling for. Their search leads them to the infamous Dunning insane asylum.
I've always had an interest in mental health, especially when it's a topic in historical fiction because so little was understood in the 19th and early 20th centuries. In the author's notes, Cox mentions that Dunning Asylum actually existed, and she did a good job of including the depravity that went on there without turning the novel into a horror story. I blazed through the last hundred pages as the suspense built, much like it did in the first book of the series.
There is not a dull moment in this book. Cox's characters are so well portrayed in their physical traits, their manner of speech, their actions, their personalities as well as through their dilemmas and moments of joy. Cox sure knows how to create characters that are memorable and distinct. And they stay true to character throughout the story or series.
This book did not end in a cliffhanger as did the previous one, but there is room for more adventures for our sexy couple, and I'm now eagerly awaiting the next book in the series. Michelle Cox is a gifted storyteller and she is now on my list of favorite authors!
Disclosure: I was sent a review copy by the author. I was not told how to rate or review this book.
Michelle Cox is the author of the multiple award-winning Henrietta and Inspector Howard series as well as "Novel Notes of Local Lore," a weekly blog dedicated to Chicago's forgotten residents. She suspects she may have once lived in the 1930s and, having yet to discover a handy time machine lying around, has resorted to writing about the era as a way of getting herself back there. Coincidentally, her books have been praised by Kirkus, Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, Booklist and many others, so she might be on to something. Unbeknownst to most, Michelle hoards board games she doesn't have time to play and is, not surprisingly, addicted to period dramas and big band music. Also marmalade.
Connect with the Author: website ~ facebook ~twitter ~ instagram ~ goodreads