In 1816 London, Kendra Donovan tries to track down a missing man, but also finds trouble brewing closer to home in the fifth book in Julie McElwain’s riveting time-travel mystery series.
When Kendra Donovan is approached by Mrs. Gavenston with an unusual request—to find her business manager, Jeremy Pascoe, who recently vanished—the FBI agent is eager to accept the challenge. To Kendra’s way of thinking, spending her time locating a missing person suits her more than perfecting her embroidery, painting watercolors, practicing on the pianoforte, or any of the other activities that are socially acceptable for young ladies in the early nineteenth century. Unfortunately, the missing person’s case turns into a murder investigation after Kendra finds the man stabbed to death in a remote cottage that he’d been using as a writer’s retreat. Everyone who knew him says that Pascoe was a fine fellow. So who hated him enough to kill him?
Seeking the answer to that question plunges Kendra into the world of big business, as Mrs. Gavenston happens to run one of the largest breweries in England. And if there is one thing Kendra knows hasn’t changed, it’s that big business means big money . . . and money is always a motive for murder.
While Kendra works to sift through the truth and lies swirling around Mr. Pascoe’s life—and death—her world is rocked closer to home when a woman arrives claiming to be the Duke of Aldridge’s presumably dead daughter, Charlotte. It is a distraction Kendra cannot afford, not when there is a killer lurking in the shadows who will do anything to keep the truth from being exposed.
In McElwain's unsatisfying fifth Kendra Donovan mystery (after 2019's Betrayal in Time), Kendra, a 21st-century FBI profiler who was somehow transported to Regency England in her first outing, A Murder in Time, gets another opportunity to do some sleuthing. In 1816, Kendra agrees to help Mrs. Gavenston, a brewery owner, find her missing business manager, Jeremy Pascoe, despite doubting that the woman has been fully forthcoming. Kendra's search for Pascoe leads to her finding him stabbed to death in a remote cottage. Meanwhile, the life of her guardian, the Duke of Aldridge, is upended by the appearance of a woman claiming to be his daughter, who was long-believed dead. McElwain doesn't sweat the details. Kendra uses anachronistic jargon, referring to a murder suspect as an "unsub" without explaining that term, and the story does no more than touch on the dilemma of someone from the future trying to avoid changing history. Nothing in this entry bodes well for future series installments.
I found the series to be captivating. My hope is that Ms McElwain will write more in this series.