FROM THE DESK OF
DONA PENZA TATTLE, ESQ.
ASSOCIATE WRYE BALDERDASHGreetings,
Tattle and Wrye leap into the historical, romantic mystery, Joyce Proell's A WICKED TRUTH.
"Oh no, we have to help her!" Tattle wails as they find themselves locked in a crude cell-like room with a drugged young girl.
Wrye gently turns Tattle away and snaps them out of the prologue just as the door opens, revealing the jowly face of an older man dressed in gentleman's attire. "Monster!" Wrye mutters.
"What's going to happen to her?"
"It isn't good," Wrye whisked his friend away to the first chapter. "Best not to dwell, m'literary empathetic. This book is a wonderful historical, mystery treat with a good dose of sweet romance and lots of Doing the Bear but dark evil exists as well."
Tattle romped through the chapters, big eyed and totally engrossed. "Yes, yes, yes. A story to be enjoyed, especially on a dark and stormy night," she parrots a teasing groaner cliché'. The next moment, Tattle is all brightness, "Oooh, so this is a Cady Delafield Mystery and we're in the Victoria Era. Hence the reference to Doing the Bear, Victorian slang for hugging." She took in the prim and proper settings of a lovely boarding home.
"Couldn't help meself. They had such grand sayings."
Does her infamous eye-roll to the heavens and stars. "Just explain on the way, m'dizzy age bud."
"Calling me old just cause my elder years makes you dizzy to think on them?" He huffed, thinking hey I was supposed to pull out the yesteryear sayings.
"Oh don't get as Mad as Hops (excitable), just teasing. Now, back to the book."
Calming himself, he offered, "Yes, but of course, the boarding house is where Mrs. Demsey hosts four female boarders, including Cady. Though she adores her family, Cady needs a respite from Grandmother Ophelia's somewhat over-bearing demeanor. They, her three sisters, including twins and mother, had lived with her grandmother since Cady's father's death. Unfortunately, the matriarch doesn't care for Cady's fiancé' Doyle Flanagan."
Feigning a semi-swoon, Tattle sighed. "He is hot as roasting chestnuts and as romantic as Robert Browning wooing Elizabeth Barrett. However, Ophelia can't see beyond his past. He had previously been accused of murdering his wife, and though acquitted, Ophelia feels trouble follows him about. Cady, though, knows he is the essence of decency and loves him beyond reason. They are truly ready to marry, and believe nothing can stop that until Sophie Newberg, a friend of Doyle's deceased wife appears, begging for his assistance, which insures risk. Her sister, Sarah, is missing. A seventeen year old never returned home from school. Most thought she eloped with her new bow, Mr. Driscoll, but Sophie believes something horrible has happened, and her father refuses to pull the police into the matter. More concerned for how things appear than the truth."
"Doyle is reluctant to be brought into police business so close to having been exonerated and is quite determined to never put his fiancé in danger again, a tragedy in his own past connects him to Sophie's pain. He knows he has to help. Of course, the genteel Cady, the Jammiest Bit of Jam, (perfect young female) backs Doyle's in every way, besides, she is as tough and stubborn as her Grandmother Ophelia, and even accompanies Doyle to the morgue." Wrye looked pleased he remembered another old saying.
"Nor does Cady object to his friendship with Inspector Jack Dinsmore, the one officer who believed in Doyle's innocence. In fact, Doyle and Cady invite him to dinner and include her sister Grace. The instant attraction is obvious, but Jake is soon involved in the murder of an unidentified young girl as well as that of his boss, Captain Vernon Lester. Both on the same night, both intensely mysteriously. Are they connected? Later, in the story, an eleven year old is abducted and soon afterward, someone in Cady's family. Yeooowl!" Tattle sang softly. "...Ya got trouble, my friend, right here, I say trouble right here..."
With a Wince at her not-so-on-key voice, Wrye added, "Meanwhile, a sinister business man Hollis Grover along with his cruel, but slimy suave brother have their own personal battles, but are they the red-herrings, or truly the evil behind white slavery and prostitution? Intermingled with it all is a self-serving police captain, a tawdry voice couch, an insensitive father, a thieving roommate, and Doyle's own mysterious past. Though the devoted couple, Cady and Doyle, are determined to overcome the turmoil surrounding them, fate just might have other plans."
Contagious excitement accompanied Tattle's words, "This is a genre mixture of pure delight! The pages turn on their own, and the characters' voices are rich, clear and identifiable. I feel as if Cady and Doyle were friends and I wanted to step right into their world. Well, maybe not the parts when they were in danger!" Offers a little chicken squeal for emphasis. "The back story was also easy to follow despite not having read the previous novels in the series, and the tale itself hankered back to a time when a plotline, well-structured prose, literary layering and a charming love story still existed in a romance novel. Though sweet, it still had plenty of heat, yet bed-room bliss wasn't the sole reason for the plot. This made the entire read enchanting and refreshing. Kudos! I really enjoyed having a storyline with a side of oooh-la-la."
"At the same time, the novelist brought out the underbelly of the Victoria world's veil of propriety and purity. The contrast between good and evil was as stark and sharp as black and white. There was no holding back on just how harrowing and bleak living without station and wealth could be, how the lower class could be taken advantage of, and how evil finds its way into every nook of life. Because of this distinction, the book had just the right level of a chill, taking it a notch above a cozy mystery," Wrye commented.
"All in all, this is an exceptional story from a prolific and talented author, who created her own genre, and we are consummately hooked! If you want a read that hits crosses every T and dots every I, you have to grab and gobble up Joyce Proell's A WICKED TRUTH."
Angelica Hart and Zi ~ Vixen Bright and Zachary Zane
www.champagnebooks.com - www.carnalpassions.com - angelicahartandzi.com