The Vanishing Thief: A Victorian Bookshop Mystery

Written by Kate Parker
Review by Viviane Crystal

Georgia Fenchurch owns and runs an antiquarian bookshop in London during the reign of Queen Victoria. Georgia, however, is more interested in the Archivist Society, of which she is an active member. The Society solves crimes that other law enforcement officers and detectives are unable to resolve. So imagine how her adrenaline flows when a woman comes into the store to tearfully beg Georgia to help her find her neighbor, Drake, whom she saw being kidnapped. The police have been notified, but there’s no evidence to back up her story.

So begins a mystery worthy of the skills of the Archivist Society. But the tales that are told by this woman, who is obviously in love with the missing Drake, begin to appear as solid lies hiding a host of secrets, for Drake was a rogue thief who had been blackmailing several families. Everyone has a skeleton in the closet that would irreparably harm their lives were those shameful acts to become public gossip. The rest of the novel focuses on Georgia and her friend Emma’s investigation as well as the help of the Society. However, that won’t stop Georgia from being physically attacked, Emma being kidnapped for a tensely brief amount of time, a destructive fire set and so many other upper-class gentlemen and their wives being highly defensive and uncooperative with Georgia’s sharp yet blunt questions. Readers must pay careful attention to the names of many characters whose stories are changing all the time. No, readers won’t discover who “kidnapped” Drake, and yet they will be satisfied by the shocking conclusion and eagerly anticipating the follow-up to this first mystery. Nicely done!