The Cabinets of Barnaby Mayne by Elsa Hart has Cecily Kay arriving at the home of Sir Barnaby Mayne in London in 1703. She is hoping to identify plant specimens she acquired in Smyrna. Sir Barnaby is a well-known collector who is notorious for getting the items he desires for his collections. Sir Barnaby has invited several individuals for a tour of his collections. Unfortunately, the tour is interrupted when Sir Barnaby receives a missive that needs an immediate response. When dinner is ready, Sir Barnaby fails to appear. The group goes into Sir Barnaby’s study where they find him dead and a man standing over him with a knife. The man confesses to the crime, but Cecily doubts its veracity. Cecily with aid from her childhood friend, Meacan Barlow delves into the world of collectors where greed and jealousy abounds. If the pair are not vigilant, they might find themselves subject to the same fate as Sir Barnaby.
The Cabinets of Barnaby Mayne by Elsa Hart is an intriguing historical novel that takes a reader back to London in 1703. It is a time when people were intrigued by science and curious to learn more. Rare items were highly prized by collectors. The author created a rich atmosphere with her word imagery. Her descriptions allow readers to imagine Sir Barnaby Mayne’s crowded house. It is filled with his vast collections that are meticulously maintained. I could imagine the cabinets filled with their items of wonder. There are a variety of characters present at the Mayne household when the murder is committed. Any one of them could have committed the deed. Cecily Kay and Meacan Barlow are the two female sleuths. They are intelligent ladies who pick up key details and have a knack for sleuthing. The mystery reminds me of the classic mysteries (Sir Author Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie). It plays out slowly as the two women search for the truth. There are multiple suspects all with motive for doing away with Sir Barnaby Mayne. There are good plot twists with a classic reveal at the end. All those pesky questions that plague us while reading are answered at the end (who, how, and why). It depends on how many mysteries you have read on whether you solve this one before the reveal or not. The language in the book is formal which was how people talked during that time-period. The Cabinets of Barnaby is a good book, but I had trouble getting into it. It is a slow starter and failed to hold my attention. Those readers, though, who enjoy classic whodunits will find themselves riveted while reading this historical mystery.
The Cabinets of Barnaby Mayne is available from Amazon*. You can find Elsa Hart's other novels here. I appreciate you taking the time to stop by today. I will return tomorrow with A Life Once Dreamed by Rachel Fordham. I hope that you have a curious day. Take care, stay safe, and Happy Reading!
The Avid Reader
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