Many thanks to NetGalley and St. Martins Press/Minotaur Books for providing me with a free advance copy of this book in return for an honest review.
What could be more fun than a treasure hunt? And what if the prize was a marvelous private library collection? And what, if in addition to that, all the contestants were all going to be awarded a large sum of money just for playing? Tempting??
Well, Edinburgh bookshop owner Delaney Nichols received an invitation to participate in this treasure hunt after it was delivered, out of the blue, by a mysterious delivery person. Delaney was one of four people to get such an invitation by the elderly, eccentric, and wealthy Shelagh O’Connor. Once she arrived at the O’Connor estate she was overwhelmed by the size of the library, as well as the object of the treasure hunt – a rare edition of Robert Lewis Stephenson’s classic, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
O’Connor, a spinster, is obsessed with this book, so much so that in her youth she used to dress up and prowl the streets of Edinburgh as Mr. Hyde. It got her in hot water once, but will the present imitate the past? Once the hunt begins a “New Monster” seems to begin roaming the streets of Edinburgh and there are Monster sightings, a rash of burglaries, and even a death. Who is to blame, who is the monster, and is Shelagh O’Connor a prime suspect due to her past eccentricities?
Delaney is on the hunt for the clues to the treasure hunt, and each clue seems to lead to a different pub in the city. Along the way, she begins to uncover clues about O’Connor’s past until one day O’Connor is kidnapped, and her cousin is left a bloody mess by the attacker. Now the police and Delaney shift into high gear in their search for clues and to unlock the mystery identity of the Monster. Despite the treasure and the cash prizes, the race is on to find Shelagh and hope that the Monster has not taken the life of another victim.
The police are baffled, the clues seem to be impossible to follow, and all the while every person who knew or worked for O’Connor is a possible suspect.
This is a well-written novel, one that keeps the reader guessing until the very end of the book and makes us wonder if there is not a little of Mr. Hyde in all of us. The book features the pubs of Edinburgh, believable characters, and a very interesting plot. While being the 6th in the series, this certainly can be read as a stand-alone mystery and is an enjoyable novel for all mystery fans.