“The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences, with its head office located at the heart of the Empire, London, solves mysterious happenings that leave normal law enforcement officials baffled. Located in a secret location near the river Thames, the Ministry protects all citizens of the Empire from the occult, the paranormal and from secret societies bent on bringing down Old Blighty. They take only the best, the brightest and the bravest men and women from all the dominions and outposts of civilisation. They are here to protect every one of the citizens of the Empire from threats that would haunt their dreams… if they but knew.”
I had the opportunity to hear Pip and Tee talk during a panel session at the annual James River Writers conference. Learning more of the background and context of the stories and characters, I was intrigued and picked up the first three books in the series.
The main characters are a dynamite-using gun-toting female field operative and an archivist from an upper-class background. This creates great potential for character interaction. The story starts well with Eliza Braun having to rescue Wellington Books in an exciting scene. The remainder of the first half of the book contains some engaging parts, but the pace was slow.
The tension between the two characters is overplayed and was a bit cumbersome for me. While the book is lighthearted and the interplay between Braun and Books is intended to be a mix of flirtatious, serious and stodgy. For me, this interaction was a bit uneven and stiff. As well, the use of one or the other opening their mouth but not saying anything is a bit repetitive.
The second half of the book was better paced and a more enjoyable read. Though the Society characters are somewhat typical want-to-rule-the-world types, the overall progression of the story succeeds. I particularly like Sophia and the Ministry Seven as a supporting cast. The book concludes without a cliffhanger but gives the reader intriguing information to know the story doesn’t end here.
Now, off to the second installment.