The debut novel, Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder, from a South African author, TA Willberg, has burst onto the young adult book scene.
According to reviews the book is filled with fun, mystery and adventure, this story is reportedly a modern Agatha Christie meets Harry Potter.
According to reviews, TA Willberg has created a world of steampunk mystery set in post-war London and if you disregard your disbelief and focus solely on enjoying the story, it is truly a wonderful mystery into which you can escape.
According to critics, one of the best features of Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder is the great, female heroine around which the story is centered.
The synopsis of the book is as follows:
The letter was short: a name, a time, a place.
Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder invites readers into the heart of post-war London, to the secret tunnels that exist far beneath the city streets. There, a secret group of detectives, recruited for Miss Brickett’s Investigations & Inquiries use their cunning skills and gadgets to solve crimes and mysteries that have stumped Scotland Yard.
Late one night in April 1958, a filing assistant for Miss Brickett’s named Michelle White receives a letter warning her that a heinous act is about to occur. Before she can find out more, she is murdered by a killer she can’t see—her death the only sign she wasn’t alone. It becomes chillingly clear that the person responsible must also work for Miss Brickett’s, making everyone a suspect.
Almost unwillingly, Marion Lane, a first-year Inquirer-in-training, finds herself being drawn ever deeper into the investigation. When her friend and mentor is framed for the crime, to clear his name she must sort through the hidden alliances at Miss Brickett’s and secrets dating back to WWII. Fun and suspenseful, Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder is a fresh take on the Agatha Christie—style locked-room mystery with an exciting new heroine detective at the helm.
Memorable quotes from the book include:
But that was the thing about death, as Marion knew so well. No matter how much the deceased were loved, life does not wait for the grieving. Though on the inside everything will change and what used to matter falls away, the routine and ordinary remain unchallenged.
It was here, right in the fetid heart of the East End, in a ramshackle two-story terrace on Willow Street, that Marion had spent her entire existence. For twenty-three years, she’d lived within the boundaries of what she knew, not daring to imagine that another life awaited her – one far removed from the mundane and ordinary. Another world, one to which she truly belonged.
Though the shop’s facade – black-framed, bow-fronted windows of frosted glass, dark green paint peeling from the surrounding walls – was meant to deter potential customers, Marion often felt it achieved the opposite. But perhaps it attracted only those who were, like the bookshop itself, different – those who didn’t quite fit in.
Marion spread the old map open on her bedside table and brought the monocle to her right eye. A web of silvery, shifting lines materialised. Hundreds of them: long and convoluted, short and segmented.
TA Willberg is a South African born author, currently living in Malta with a Masters degree in Chiropractic.
A sequel to Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder is already in the works, titled Marion Lane and the Deadly Rose, which will be published in February 2022.
Sources: Newsdome, The South African
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