This is a cute book. It's not a deep book, or a daring book, or an intense book, but it is fun and sweet, with bits of excitement and romance woven in. It's got a lot of things I love: mystery, historical setting, brave female characters, clean romance. I like that it's set in Toronto instead of the usual cities of London, New York, or Chicago.
Above all, I like that the two female detectives are consciously trying to be like Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. I was afraid that it was going to be one of those books where an author tries to cleverly write their own versions of famous characters and instead I just spend a lot of time being annoyed by how much the new people fail to match up to the originals. That was my biggest qualm about reading this series, which people have been recommending to me for a while now. People kept saying, "They're a female Holmes and Watson!" and I was like, "We don't need female versions of Holmes and Watson. Go write original characters, people." But that's just what McMillan did -- she created two very original characters who happen to be female and happen to wish they were like Holmes and Watson. I dug it.
I didn't love everything about this book (SPOILERS)-- the romance between Jem and Ray wrapped up too abruptly and neatly for my taste, and (END SPOILERS) some of the dialog didn't always make total sense to me, like chunks of conversations had been removed for some reason. But overall, it was a fun book, and I'm definitely going to read more in the series.
Particularly Good Bits:
"The past does that. It lures you back and tricks you into thinking it was better than it was" (p. 180).
If This was a Movie, I Would Rate It: PG for characters being in peril and discussion of dead bodies. Also, some smooching.