By: Margaret Brownley
Publisher: Shiloh Run Press
Publication Date: June 2015
Reviewed by: Ellen Feld
Review Date: May 27, 2015
Maggie Cartwright is a woman who takes her job very seriously. Indeed, she’s not just a Pinkerton operative working in the male-dominated 1870’s, but one who is willing to go undercover as a mail-order bride to prove a suspect guilty. And her willingness to do just that may mean she’ll be getting married to protect her cover...Will Pinkerton catch their man and will Maggie close the case before wedding bells ring?
As the story opens, we meet Maggie, who has just arrived in the Arizona Territory to meet her betrothed, Garrett Thomas. Or at least that’s what Garrett thinks. He also thinks he is meeting Maggie Taylor, his mail-order bride. Garrett is suspected of being one of the bandits who took part in the ‘Whistle-Stop Robbery,’ in which one man was killed. Garrett matches the description of one of the bandits given by an eyewitness and it’s Maggie’s job to prove his guilt.
Gaining Garrett’s trust by masquerading as a potential bride, and being able to move about his house without suspicion was a brilliant move on the part of the Pinkerton agency, but for Maggie…not so much. You see, Garrett is handsome, smart, and gentle, and has two adorable children who manage to wiggle their way into Maggie’s heart. Before long, she realizes that she is falling for this man and is determined to prove his innocence.
I have not read the first book in the Undercover Ladies series, Petticoat Detective, but had no problem jumping right into this tale. Each book is a stand-alone cozy, so no need to hesitate on buying this book if you haven’t read the first. The characters are well-developed for a cozy mystery, with my favorites the indomitable Aunt Hetty and a fellow Pinkerton detective who helps Maggie solve the case. Disguises flourish, plots to expose the guilty are planned (including a few that real Pinkerton detectives were known to use) and you may just learn a little history along the way. Throw in a light dose of Christian themes, and you have the perfect ‘gentle’ cozy. Undercover Bride is a delightful change from so many of the hard-core crime mysteries on the market today.
Quill says: A fun, easy-reading, quick moving Christian cozy that will keep the pages turning and the reader guessing until almost the last page.