A Veil Removed: A Henrietta and Inspector Howard Novel

Written by Michelle Cox
Review by K. M. Sandrick

Fourth in the Henrietta and Inspector Howard Series, A Veil Removed returns readers to 1930s Chicago and its posh North Shore suburbs. The sudden death of Clive Howard’s father, Alcott (an accidental fall or murderous push in front of a commuter train?) interrupts the newlyweds’ honeymoon on the other side of the Atlantic and thrusts him into a long-standing dilemma: pursue his—and Henrietta’s—wish to continue working as a police detective, open his own private investigation service, or head his family’s business and estate.

Meanwhile, Henrietta’s sister, Elsie Von Harmon, is distraught after learning her intended, Lieutenant Barnes-Smith, impregnated and abandoned a young woman whose family then refused to settle money on the couple. She is regretting her own seduction by Barnes-Smith.

Though author Michelle Cox has received awards for books in this series, first-time readers may feel overwhelmed by the amount and early introduction of backstory in A Veil Removed. Readers unfamiliar with previous volumes may grow impatient with incidental scenes involving characters that may be central to other storylines but do not advance the plot of this narrative.

Though Clive has little need to engage in complex detection, his path forward becomes clear. Elsie, on the other hand, lurches from one possible future to another. Attitudes about her and her damaged reputation, not to mention her demeanor and looks, are unpleasant and sometimes harsh, serving as reminders of societal hypocrisies and strictures that erode Elsie’s self-esteem and complicate her decision-making. The journey for Elsie, as a result, remains veiled.