In 1910 Toronto, while other bachelor girls perfect their domestic skills and find husbands, two friends perfect their sleuthing skills and find a murderer.
Inspired by their fascination with all things Sherlock Holmes, best friends and flatmates Merinda and Jem launch a consulting detective business. The deaths of young Irish women lead Merinda and Jem deeper into the mire of the city's underbelly, where the high hopes of those dreaming to make a new life in Canada are met with prejudice and squalor.
While searching for answers, donning disguises, and sneaking around where no proper ladies would ever go, they pair with Jasper Forth, a police constable, and Ray DeLuca, a reporter in whom Jem takes a more than professional interest. Merinda could well be Toronto's premiere consulting detective, and Jem may just find a way to put her bachelor girlhood behind her forever—if they can stay alive long enough to do so.
In 1910, friends Merinda Herringford and Jemima Watts share a home in Toronto and an interest in detective work, to the consternation of Jem's very proper parents, who would rather their daughter pursue a husband than a mystery. Canadian novelist McMillan loses no time in presenting her Holmes and Watson esque duo at a murder scene at a theater to kick off this cozy. Police constable Jasper Forth gives them access to the scene and is a romantic interest; enterprising reporter and Italian immigrant Ray DeLuca rounds off the set of principals. The action is slow to get going as plot points and characters are introduced. Jem and Ray are deeply characterized and fetching, Jasper and Merinda less so. McMillan knows her history and takes imaginative license with it, producing period details that are accurate but still fictional; the handbooks for ladies liberally quoted from are convincing and amusing. The romance is squeaky clean. Fans of inspirational cozies will rejoice.