page from here
by Cat Sebastian
I started reading here pagefinished it too quickly, immediately looked for the sequel, the missing page, and read it too fast too. One slogan I’ve seen says, “cozy mystery like Agatha Christie but make it gay.” It’s not nearly as welcoming that the dead have as much of an impact as a dissolving dead NPC in a video game; the cozy has sharp edges. For example, there is the bucolic setting, but around the borders there are real threats in addition to the central mystery: PTSD, the trauma of war, great social change, and the threat of homophobia.
I’m bummed that there are no more books to disappear into, and I may have to immediately reread them for two reasons. First, I really liked the characters, the world, and the half-teaspoon information delivery system – nothing is wasted. Each of the characters has a public face and a private world of their own, sometimes tragic and difficult that they want or need to hide. As the mystery unfolds, their private and authentic selves begin to mingle and connect with each other, building a subversive intimacy of secrets that underpins and hides behind their public personas. His community becomes one of calm and cautious acceptance and he is pleasant to read.
Two, the mystery is written in a way that he hopes will keep me up to date. I had a feeling that since these characters are so smart, they expected me to be smart too. Sometimes a character would make a comment that didn’t quite fit the conversation, but revealed something interesting or important, and the others picked up on it, but no one narrating summed it up for the reader to emphasize what had happened. I wasn’t going to be indulgently fed information and have things explained to me in detail; I had to keep up. That was fun.
Sometimes, though, a minor character would drop an important hint, and no one would react or notice until much later, if at all. This was frustrating because it didn’t fit with the caring nature of Leo’s character and the observant interpersonal fluidity that James constantly demonstrated.
The romance between Leo and James is moving and emotional, again conducted on two levels, public and private. Much of the dialogue is code, and Leo and James deploy words with multiple layers of meaning to convey intimacy, vulnerability, warning, or even annoyance in such poignant ways. Emo chest tingles everywhere while I was reading is what I’m saying here.
Leo is also very sarcastic in his POV chapters, and his mind is a delicious place:
Usually he operated on the assumption that the only factor holding people back from widespread slaughter was fear of hanging, of damnation, of not being thought very nice by the neighbors.
The feeling that each interaction and event was operating on multiple levels simultaneously meant that the mystery and romance were both engaging and very relaxing. At its core, the Page & Sommers series is about finding a safe home and haven, even when the world is a locally or globally threatening, scary, and hurtful place.
– S.B. Sarah
A jaded spy and a shaken country doctor team up to solve a murder in post-war England.
James Sommers came back from the war with his nerves on edge. All he wants is to retire to the sleepy town of his childhood and enjoy the boring and predictable life of a country doctor. The last thing in the world he needs is a handsome stranger who seems to be mixed up with the first violent death the town has seen in years. It certainly doesn’t help that this stranger is the first person James has wanted to touch since before the war.
The war may be over for the rest of the world, but Leo Page is still busy doing dirty work for one of the most disreputable branches of the intelligence service. When his boss orders him to cover up a murder, Leo doesn’t expect to be sent to a sleepy town. After a week of helping old ladies wind balls of yarn and flirting with a handsome doctor, Leo is in danger of forgetting who he really is and why he’s there. He is in danger of feeling things that he doesn’t make sense of. A person who burns his identity after every job cannot take root.
As he begins to unravel the mess of secrets and lies that lurk behind lace curtains in even the most peaceful-seeming villages, Leo realizes that the truths he is about to discover will affect his future and that of the man. what you are worrying about. .
Historical: European, LGBTQIA, Mystery/Thriller, Romance
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