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by Donna Huber For the A to Z Challenge, I discussed different book genres/categories. Each day, I gave a few details about the genre/catego...

October 21, 2023

A Traitor in Whitehall by Julia Kelly ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

1940, England: Evelyne Redfern, known as “The Parisian Orphan” as a child, is working on the line at a munitions factory in wartime London. When Mr. Fletcher, one of her father’s old friends, spots Evelyne on a night out, Evelyne finds herself plunged into the world of Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s cabinet war rooms.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

book cover of amateur sleuth mystery A Traitor in Whitehall by Julia Kelly
October 2023; Minotaur Books; 978-1250865489
audio, ebook, print (304 pages); historical mystery

I always look forward to Julia Kelly's new book. For quite a while her new book would be my first read on the new year. This year we had to wait a little longer for a new book. And it was worth the wait.

Kelly went in a slightly different direction with A Traitor in Whitehall as it is her first amateur sleuth murder mystery. I have always found elements of mystery and intrigue in her purely historical fiction (The Last Garden in England is my favorite Kelly novel), but in this book, she invents a murder. I'm pretty sure this is also her first series as everything else I've read by her has been stand-alone stories.

I really liked the characters. Evelyne Redfern and David Poole work well together and are quite likable so I'm pleased they will continue to be paired together in future novels in the series. The other characters we meet are also well-written and feel almost real (I think some personalities were a bit more exaggerated in order to push the story forward). I'm not sure how many of the secondary characters we will see again since I assume we won't have a murder in the PM's cabinet war rooms in every installment.

I don't think this story drew me in as much as her historical fiction. At times, I had to remind myself that Julia Kelly was the author as there seemed to be a change in her writing. Perhaps it is just because of the changed genre. It might also be that it was a bit similar to another WWII amateur sleuth series I read. I can't really point to anything specific to support the feeling. The closest I can come is that the level of historical accuracy and details seemed to be lacking compared to her historical novels. Again, it might be a result of having to make trade offs to move into the crime fiction genre.

Overall, it was still an enjoyable murder mystery and if you haven't given Kelly a chance because you don't read historical fiction, then know that she has writing chops and a knack for creating great characters. I'm looking forward to seeing more of Evelyne and David in future books (but I hope Kelly doesn't give up her purely historical fiction writing).

If you missed it, be sure to check out Susan's review of A Traitor in Whitehall.

Buy A Traitor in Whitehall at Amazon

Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the founder of Girl Who Reads and the author of how-to marketing book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour

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