‘A LESSON IN LOVE AND MURDER’: Smart and Sassy Detecting Duo Return


‘A LESSON IN LOVE AND MURDER’: Smart and Sassy Detecting Duo Return. Review of the 2016 historical fiction novel by Rachel McMillan. Text © Rissi JC

STORY: Life is changing for the intrepid detective Merinda Herringford. And she’s none too pleased about it. Her partner in crime and best friend, Jem Watts (now Deluca) is married to her dishy reporter Ray Deluca, and making every attempt to settle into domestic bliss. This leaves Merinda bereft but fighting to keep their normal. This means she continues to accept cases, pulling Jem into each one – much to the vexation of Ray!

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Into all their lives walks a Mountie (resplendent in a red coat with gold buttons, of course) named Benny Citrone. Benny finds the Herringford and Watts duo’s ad in the paper, and calls upon them in his quest to track down his cousin (a man with ill intent). Surprised that this duo is actually of the fairer sex, in time Benny realizes Jem and Merinda are a force to be reckoned with, but will these enthusiastic investigators find their man?

A Lesson in Love and Murder by Rachel McMillan | Book Review

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Anytime you crack open the pages of a novel by Rachel McMillan, there’s one thing you’d best know: settle in for a fun ride. Inside these pages resides an easy, entertaining narrative with characters that work their way into your heart and remain embedded there. The second full length novel in this series moves just as fast as its predecessor with an entirely new mystery for our curious investigators to explore.

Alongside their investigation, we also get to explore 1900s Toronto experienced through McMillan’s perspective as only she can craft. Her fun prose and signature wit (particularly when it comes to Merinda’s personification) keeps the fast pace flowing, and holds its reader captive. Though these novels speed past at about 100 (give or take) pages less than the average novel, I love their shorter length. The story is “full” enough yet doesn’t give itself time for filler or unnecessary material to bog it down.

‘Love and Murder’ brings back all of the characters we love and also introduces us to a handsome Mountie who’s heroics impress a certain heroine. I loved seeing more of Jem’s marital bliss (or maybe not!); and the continued misadventures (and mess!) that is Merinda’s love life. The effortless way these characters walk into our lives is wonderful; they become real to us, and feel like old friends we’d sit down to have tea with.

With its storytelling roots in the classics like Sherlock Holmes and plenty of Murdoch Mysteries familiarity, this book is sure to charm cozy mystery aficionados. It’s sassy and best of all, leaves the readers anxious for more adventuring with Herringford, Watts and Co. This is A Lesson in Love and Murder.


Author: Rachel McMillan
Publisher: Harvest House
Source: Bought
Publication Date: 2016
Find the Review elsewhere: Goodreads
Add the Book: Goodreads
Genre: Fiction; Historical, Mystery
Series: Herringford and Watts, Book 2
Rating: 4 out of 5

About Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.


    1. Oh I wouldn't say over — just on hiatus ;) I cannot imagine a world where Jem and Merinda do NOT go to the Yukon to visit Benny Citrone….

    2. I know what you mean, Miranda. I'm so sad to see this series end… but then again, as Rachel alludes too, there IS more to come. :)

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