Felicity Carrol and the Perilous Pursuit: A Felicity Carrol Mystery

Written by Patricia Marcantonio
Review by Ray Thompson

Felicity Carrol is brilliant, resourceful, and university-educated in a Victorian era when these were considered the prerogative of men. Ladies were expected to marry well and stay at home. In fact, when she insists upon investigating the murder of her favorite professor and mentor, her outraged father is so incensed at her defiance of his wishes that he dies of a heart attack. Which is quite convenient, really, as it guarantees her independence and wealth.

The mystery is interesting, and the Arthurian elements will appeal to Arthurian scholars, particularly how the figure of the Lady of the Lake is used. The author provides considerable background historical information on not only Arthurian legend, but the places visited and scientific developments in the 19th century. While this may be excused as a reflection of Felicity’s own wide-ranging interests, it does become intrusive and slow down the plot.

The main focus, however, is upon Felicity herself. A polymath with a logical mind, photographic memory, and physical courage, she is a combination of Sherlock Holmes and Indiana Jones. Since she is also good-hearted and kind to the less fortunate, her ability to outmanoeuvre men who underestimate all women will gratify anyone who has suffered from prejudice. Since she decides at the end of the novel that her goal in life will be ‘to seek justice for the murdered and damaged,’ this is clearly the start of a series.

Recommended to those looking for a female superhero out to right wrongs and defy convention to do so.