A Rogue’s Company: A Sparks & Bainbridge Mystery
Minotaur, 2021 (2021)
Reviewed by Hilary Williamson
is the third in Allison Montclair's delightful historical mystery series, following
The Right Sort of Man
A Royal Affair
. It centers on the founders of
The Right Sort Marriage Bureau
in post WW II London.
hen Gwendolyn Bainbridge suffered a breakdown after being widowed by the war, her aristocratic in-laws assumed custody of her son. She reluctantly lives with them to be with Ronnie, and seeks to regain custody. Iris Sparks was a spy during the war and still has Special Ops connections. She's quick witted, impetuous and resourceful, and has a gangster boyfriend. Iris and Gwen make an excellent team, and their business is doing well.
his episode opens in August 1946 in East Africa, where a Tumbuka brother and sister travel north by steamship on Lake Nyasa. The boat goes down and the young woman, Bayenkhu dies. Back in London, Gwen takes a self defense course. Things had improved with Lord Bainbridge away in Africa, but now his return causes problems and constant conflict. He intends to send six-year-old Ronnie to the boarding school that his father hated.
he marriage bureau has a walk in client, an African from Nyasaland, Simon Daile. Gwen thinks he's lying to them - why? So Iris asks their friend Salvatore (Sally) to help investigate. Then a body is found outside Lord Bainbridge's club. There are kidnappings and rescues. Bainbridge is suspected of murder. Gwen meets new family members, and finally life looks up for both our heroines.
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