Hope for the Innocent is the first in a new series from Caroline Dunford. It is set just before the Second World War begins and features Hope Stapleford who is the daughter of Euphemia Martin, the heroine of many of the author’s previous novels.
Hope is a graduate of Oxford and her friend Bernie, daughter of the American ambassador, has persuaded her to take part in the debutante season. Hope expects this to be a round of rather dull social engagements but things take an unexpected turn when one of the other debutantes goes missing. Hope decides to investigate what has happened to her and gets herself involved in all kind of drama!
Hope put me in mind of Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple, albeit a much younger, feistier version. Like Miss Marple she has become a bit of an amateur sleuth. Her sidekick Bernie is a bit useless but with her father being the American ambassador she can come in handy for opening metaphorical doors. I did rather like lovable rogue Harvey too, very different socially from the women but a useful man to have around. I enjoyed the style of the writing, and felt the sharp dialogue captured the feel of the era.
With attempts made on some characters’ lives, kidnappings, blackmail, drugs, gangs, fascist demonstrations and affairs, this Debutante season is not quite the civilised time you might think. There may be a few bumbling would-be criminals but there are also a few more ruthless ones and Hope’s very life could be in danger!
With the mystery being solved not by the police but by Hope and her friends, and with some warm, gentle humour, this book fits neatly into what might be called the ‘cosy crime’ genre. It’s not a genre I usually read but I enjoyed this very much. I found it be an an engaging and entertaining read. With the epilogue seeming to set Hope up for more adventures, I’d certainly read more featuring this likeable character.
My thanks to the publishers, Headline Accent, for my review copy of this book. Hope for the Innocent is available in paperback and as an ebook. You can order copy online here: Hope for the Innocent
From the back of the book
It is 1939 – World War II is looming, Oswald Mosley has awoken fascist sympathies among the British aristocracy and, in London, socialites are gathering for the start of the Season.
Enter astute, Oxford graduate Hope Stapleford, whose quick wit, love of books and keen observations set her apart from her peers. Her rebellious friend, Bernadette, has persuaded her to take part in the Season, and Hope expects little more than a round of dull engagements and dreary introductions. But when an innocent, young debutante goes missing from their very first house party, feared to have been kidnapped or worse, Hope’s curiosity is piqued. With Bernie and their new acquaintance, the amiable rogue Harvey, Hope soon finds herself thrust into a web of political intrigue that threatens the very heart of the nation…
About the author
Having previously worked as a journalist and then a psychotherapist, Caroline Dunford enjoyed many years helping other people shape their personal life stories before taking the plunge and writing her own stories. She has now published almost thirty books in genres ranging from historical crime to thrillers and romance, including her much loved Euphemia Martin mysteries and a brand new series set around WWII featuring Euphemia’s perceptive daughter Hope Stapleford. Caroline also teaches creative writing courses part-time at the University of Edinburgh.