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Murder at the Flamingo ~ Review with Interview

Murder at the Flamingo
A Van Buren and DeLuca Mystery #1
By Rachel McMillan

Hamish DeLuca and Regina "Reggie" Van Buren were both determined to make a life of their own choosing without the well-meaning assistance of their parents. Hamish left his life in Toronto behind for Boston and his almost-like-a-brother cousin Luca Valari. Reggie escaping her society life and all the expectations that she's to fulfill leaves Connecticut from Boston.

Finding employment with Luca Valari as a secretary Reggie soon makes the acquaintance of Hamish DeLuca. But soon Reggie and Hamish have something else bringing them together when a fatal "accident" occurs in Luca's new nightclub.

Believing there is more to this accident than the police conclude Hamish and Reggie decide to solve this case themselves. With more than a few potential suspects, they need to determine just who has the most to gain from this death.

Murder at the Flamingo is a delightful, intriguing historical mystery (and yes I know I was a little heavy on the adjectives). Hamish and Reggie are two characters to whom the reader is quickly drawn. Both have issues that they are dealing with when it comes to parental expectations but are determined to make their way in this new changing world. Set in 1930s Boston there is an element of danger weaving its way through the story adding just the right pinch of intrigue and excitement.

The book has a steady pace that doesn't feel rushed. The cast of characters is a varying one some quite likable while others make one cringe and squirm. As the first book in a series, I think this book sets the stage for a series that one will be eagerly anticipating future offerings. I enjoyed the references to  The Thin Man movies and Hamish's fondness for a certain book. This is a well-written and entertaining book that will give you a peek back in time.

I was provided an Advanced Reader's Copy (ARC) of this book by the publisher through TLC Book Tours with no expectations of a positive review ~ All opinions expressed are my own

About the Book:
“Maybe it was time to land straight in the middle of the adventure…”

Hamish DeLuca has spent most of his life trying to hide the anxiety that appears at the most inopportune times -- including during his first real court case as a new lawyer. Determined to rise above his father’s expectations, Hamish runs away to Boston where his cousin, Luca Valari, is opening a fashionable nightclub in Scollay Square. When he meets his cousin's “right hand man” Reggie, Hamish wonders if his dreams for a more normal life might be at hand.

Regina “Reggie” Van Buren, heir to a New Haven fortune, has fled fine china, small talk, and the man her parents expect her to marry. Determined to make a life as the self-sufficient city girl she’s seen in her favorite Jean Arthur and Katharine Hepburn pictures, Reggie runs away to Boston, where she finds an easy secretarial job with the suave Luca Valari. But as she and Hamish work together in Luca’s glittering world, they discover a darker side to the smashing Flamingo night club.

When a corpse is discovered at the Flamingo, Reggie and Hamish quickly learn there is a vast chasm between the haves and the have-nots in 1937 Boston—and that there’s an underworld that feeds on them both. As Hamish is forced to choose between his conscience and loyalty to his beloved cousin, the unlikely sleuthing duo work to expose a murder before the darkness destroys everything they’ve worked to build.

Author Interview:

1) How did you determine the setting that your book centers around? Was it someplace that you had visited in person or through pictures? 

I really love Boston. It is my favourite city in the United States. I had visited a few times researching a revolutionary war set novel that remains unpublished. When I got the idea for this series, I really wanted to use a place that I would be able to visit in the name of research; but also that I knew relatively well so that I could create a setting that would hopefully be as much as a character as my two amateur sleuths. So, I spent a lot of time in Boston ( it is only an hour and a half flight from where I live in Toronto) with Hamish DeLuca and Reggie Van Buren in mind while researching the series. I do tend to use google maps (and zoom in on the 3D) when I am home in Toronto and want to get a sense of a street. But I think the best way to craft a place is to spend a lot of time there.

2) If you could live as any of your characters which one (or two) would you be? And why this one? 

I would like to live like Reggie Van Buren for a while ---before she runs away from her cozy rich life to live in Boston. I would love to have someone wait on me and have an allowance for fabulous clothes.

3) What two authors (one from the past and one from the present) would like to spend the weekend with and how would you spend it?

I would love to spend the weekend either with Charlotte Bronte (past) in which we would wander around Brussels, Belgium ( where she taught school for a few years) and fell madly in love (unrequited) with a professor there. I have SO many questions about her time there and their relationship and how it influenced her heroes in Jane Eyre and Villette. In modern times, I would choose Deanna Raybourn (historical mystery writer –famed for the Julia Grey and Veronica Speedwell mysteries) we would sip pink champagne and watch Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries and giggle and talk about books and she could give me style tips.

4) What is your all-time favorite book that you want others to read and love as much as you do? 

I have so many but one is The Blue Castle by LM Montgomery. It is by FAR my favourite of her books and I read it several times a year. I want people to meet Valancy Stirling an “old maid” (she’s only 29) in 1920’s era Muskoka ( near the region I grew up in Ontario, Canada) as she flings off the restrictions and expectations of her family and finds true love. It is a little fairytale for adults and one of only two adult books written by LM Montgomery (author of Anne of Green Gables). It is largely to blame for my romantic personality.

Ohh, I loved that one - I've read it several times myself.

5) What is the one question you wish was asked during an interview and how would you answer it? 

(BTW this is my favorite question)  No one has ever asked me what my favourite ice cream flavour is! It is cookies and cream ☺

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~ Blooming with Books