I’ve been in the mood for some historical mysteries lately, so The Spiritglass Charade was a perfect fit. I really enjoyed the first book in this series, and have already started the third.
Synopsis: Mina Holmes and Evaline Stoker have been given another assignment by Princess Alix, although spending time with a young lady who likes séances seems to be a bit of a demotion from their last adventure. Willa Aston is convinced that she is being visited by the ghost of her departed mother, who has been speaking to her through a local spiritual medium. The girls are sure that Willa is being taken advantage of, but there is more to this case than meets the eye. Mina may be forced to admit that some things can’t be fully explained by science, and Evaline’s greatest fear may come to life before the end of this case.
My one problem with this series is that Mina and Evaline lack distinct voices. The chapters begin with their names, which I’m nearly convinced is necessary because it was so hard to figure out which girl is narrating otherwise. They are such different characters, with unique backgrounds and interests, and yet their voices are so similar in tone. Both of them come across as being rather pretentious, which is a bit of a turn off for the main characters. I find many of the other characters far more interesting, which is why I keep reading the series. I’m hoping that as they develop their talents that their voices will develop as well.
There are so many different plot lines running through these books, so it’s easy to find something that you will be interested in. Stokes is a vampire hunter, as her brother was before her. Holmes takes after her uncle, using deductive thinking to solve crime. There’s also a bit of time travel, the usual romance, and some wonderful steampunk technology. Overall, it’s a great adventure that has some strong female characters who can kick some serious butt.