Y’Barbo, Katherine. The Black Midnight. Uhrichville, OH: Barbour Books, 2020.
ISBN-13: 978-1643525952 | $12.99 USD | 256 pages | Historical Romance/Romantic Suspense
Two Series of Murders Seem Mysteriously Connected
Step into True Colors — a series of Historical Stories of Romance and American Crime
Three years before Jack the Ripper began his murderous spree on the streets of London, women were dying in their beds as The Midnight Assassin terrorized the citizens of Austin, Texas. Now, with suspicion falling on Her Majesty’s family and Scotland Yard at a loss as to who the Ripper might be, Queen Victoria summons her great-granddaughter, Alice Anne von Wettin, a former Pinkerton agent who worked the unsolved Austin case, and orders her to discreetly form a team to look into the London matter.
The prospect of a second chance to work with Annie just might entice Isaiah Joplin out of his comfortable life as an Austin lawyer. If his theories are right, they’ll find the The Midnight Assassin and, by default, the Ripper. If they’re wrong, he and Annie are in a bigger mess than the one the feisty female left behind when she departed Austin under cover of darkness three years ago.
Can the unlikely pair find the truth of who is behind the murders before they are drawn into the killer’s deadly game? From Texas to London, the story navigates the fine line between truth and fiction as Annie and Isaiah ultimately find the hunters have become the hunted.
In the series
The Pink Bonnet by Liz Tolsma
The Yellow Lantern by Angie Dicken
The White City by Grace Hitchcock
The Gray Chamber by Grace Hitchcock
The Blue Cloak by Shannon McNear
The Green Dress by Liz Tolsma
The Red Ribbon by Pepper D. Basham (October 2020)
The Gold Digger by Liz Tolsma (December 2020)
I received an ARC from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
The Black Midnight had a great concept, playing with one of several theories going around concerning the Jack the Ripper murders: that they are connected to similar murders that occurred a few years prior in Austin, Texas.
And to a certain extent, the book is convincing in working with these connections and making the possibility they were committed by the same person believable. I also feel like I learned something about the Midnight Assassin case, which I wasn’t familiar with before.
And the idea of having the heroine be a relation of Queen Victoria is a cool one, as it allows her access to the Queen in a way not many others would have, and while her being a Pinkerton agent is a bit implausible, I could forgive it for the sense of gravitas it lent to the Ripper case as it proceeded, particularly when her relative, Prince Eddy, is implicated.
However, I found myself perplexed at Annie’s exact biological relationship to the Queen, as it’s a mathematical impossibility for her to be Victoria’s great-granddaughter as it is repeatedly stated (presumably daughter to one of the other children of the future Edward VII, given how she refers to Prince Eddy as her “uncle.” Prince George (George V) did not marry Mary of Teck until 1893, and she was actually engaged to his brother prior to Prince Eddy’s untimely death. Eddy and George’s younger sister, Louise, did not marry until the year the book is set. This anachronism may not bother others (and for all I know it could be corrected in the final copy), but it really bothered me, especially since the author presented herself as a history buff.
However, the book is still fairly solid and apart from those nitpicks. If you like true crime and speculating about “what if these two cold cases are connected?” them you might like this.
Kathleen Y’Barbo is a multiple Carol Award and RITA nominee and bestselling author of more than 100 books with over two million copies of her books in print in the US and abroad. A tenth-generation Texan and certified paralegal, she is a member of the Texas Bar Association Paralegal Division, Texas A&M Association of Former Student and the Texas A&M Women Former Students (Aggie Women), Texas Historical Society, Novelists Inc., and American Christian Fiction Writers. She would also be a member of the Daughters of the American Republic, Daughters of the Republic of Texas and a few others if she would just remember to fill out the paperwork that Great Aunt Mary Beth has sent her more than once.
When she’s not spinning modern day tales about her wacky Southern relatives, Kathleen inserts an ancestor or two into her historical and mystery novels as well. Recent book releases include bestselling The Pirate Bride set in 1700s New Orleans and Galveston, its sequel The Alamo Bride set in 1836 Texas, which feature a few well-placed folks from history and a family tale of adventure on the high seas and on the coast of Texas. She also writes (mostly) relative-free cozy mystery novels for Guideposts Books.
Kathleen and her hero in combat boots husband have their own surprise love story that unfolded on social media a few years back. They now make their home just north of Houston, Texas and are the parents and in-laws of a blended family of Texans, Okies, and a family of very adorable Londoners.
To find out more about Kathleen or connect with her through social media, check out her website at www.kathleenybarbo.com.
Bookshop (affiliate link)