The sign on her office door reads “ALEXIS J. SMITH - Discreet Inquiries,” but a new client of her fledgling detective agency seems to think it means Murder Incorporated. The client, one Kate Faraday, is a former schoolmate (Sacramento … see full wiki
This review is based on an advance copy received from the author but reflects my own personal opinion.
This is a tale that takes place in the 1940's when women were expected to be secretaries, school teachers or housewives. Alexis Smith (originally Alice Smith) is a type of maverick for her time. Inspired by movies of the time, she changes her name and decides to pursue a career as a private investigator. Unfortunately she is not very successful and is in danger of losing her lease and being bankrupt. Then she is approached by a rich woman who wants to hire Alexis to kill her husband. It turns out that Alexis knew the woman from high school and her husband is a man who Alexis was attracted to back then. She agrees to only locate the husband, hoping to warn him that his wife wants him dead.
Alexis goes off to England where she tracks the man to an old Vicarage that is haunted by a ghost. Alexis is helped by an officer from Scotland Yard who is obviously smitten with her. The author's writing style makes this book work well and though, through most of the book very little happens, the reader never gets bored. Alexis tells the tale in first person and we learn that she married her own husband out of convenience, not love because he was going out to fight in WW II. It is also obvious that Alexis is not a very good investigator but sort of bungles her way to success. Alexis is also blinded by her emotions and they constantly get in the way of using logic.
I read this book in a couple of sittings and thing that Evelyn Smith is very talented when doing narration. This book is the first in a promised series and look forward to the next entry in Investigator Smith's story.