The Crimson Rooms
In London in 1924, Evelyn Gifford is a young lawyer of thirty, a single woman living at home with her mother, aunt, and grandmother. When her brother was killed in the war, her late father had seen the need to provide her with an education. Even after she receives her credentials, seeking gainful credible employment proves difficult in this male-dominated profession. Ultimately she is hired by Mr. Breen, of Breen & Balcombe.
Evelyn had worshipped her brother; his memory is vivid, and his death continues to disturb her sleep. She opens the door one evening and is confronted with a woman who introduces herself as Meredith. In tow is a small boy whose resemblance to James is striking. When the young woman announces that she knew her brother intimately, and that this is his son, Edmund, Evelyn has no doubt but to believe her. Meredith’s appearance raises more questions about her brother’s past that Evelyn must ultimately face.
While sorting through this turn of events, a young newlywed is murdered, and Evelyn’s firm takes the case. The victim was killed by a bullet through the heart, allegedly by her husband, a veteran. All evidence points to his guilt, but Evelyn, determined to help save his life, searches for evidence to clear him. In the process of the investigation, Evelyn meets someone who alters her life in ways she never imagined. Was it by chance, or was it planned?
Katharine McMahon keeps the adrenaline pumping from beginning to end. Evelyn’s spunk and spirit are endearing, and her disappointments will make you wince. The combination of intense action, love, mystery, and women’s struggles makes this her best novel yet.