Murder in the City of Liberty

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 27 Jun 2019

Member Reviews

When this book popped up for review, I was thrilled! I haven’t read the first book in the series, but it has been on my radar. Then this one came up and I was eager to dive in.

I am absolutely in love with the cover and can’t get enough of the colors and the gorgeous art deco details in the background. I felt like the cover absolutely captures the time period and would make readers excited to pick this one up……I know I was excited!

With this being the second book, I was hopeful that I hadn’t missed too much of the character back stories and that I wouldn’t be too lost. I also liked that it was set in Boston and not the typical New York or London settings that are so popular in many historical mysteries.


Determined to make a life for herself, Reggie Van Buren bid goodbye to fine china and the man her parents expected her to marry and escaped to Boston. What she never expected to discover was that an unknown talent for sleuthing would develop into a business partnership with the handsome, yet shy, Hamish DeLuca.

Their latest case arrives when Errol Parker, the leading base stealer in the Boston farm leagues, hires Hamish and Reggie to investigate what the Boston police shove off as a series of harmless pranks. Errol believes these are hate crimes linked to the outbreak of war in Europe, and he’s afraid for his life. Hamish and Reggie quickly find themselves in the midst of an escalating series of crimes.

When Hamish has his careful constructed life disrupted by a figure from his past, he is driven to a decision that may sever him from Reggie forever . . . even more than her engagement to wealthy architect Vaughan Vanderlaan (summary from Goodreads).


So, I think I should have read the first book before this one. I did feel like I was missing some plot holes and little nuances of the story. I think the author attempted to help new readers orientate in the story, but for me, I felt like I would have appreciated more of the story if I had read the first book and then started this one.

I did like that this book had a lot of romance, but I was surprised that the romantic elements outweighed the mystery in some spots. It’s such a delicate balance when incorporating romance into mystery novels but even if this was a little heavy handed on the romance, I found that I enjoyed the romantic elements and continued to mostly stay invested in the mystery. I thought Reggie and Hamish has great chemistry but I would have liked to have had a little more focus on the mystery itself as this book series seems to be more of a detective series.

I did like how well Boston was described by the author. I felt like I was there and could see everything. But then I felt like that same descriptiveness didn’t carry over all the time. There were some times in the action sequences that needed more descriptions about how things happened.

This one landed firmly in the middle for me. On one hand I didn’t love it like I was expecting to but on the other hand I wasn’t sure if that was because I hadn’t read the first book or if I truly just didn’t like the novel. In the end I decided to go for a 3 star review. I don’t know that I would read any more books in the series without first going back and reading the first book as it seems like things would make a lot more sense then,

Book Info and Rating

Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Published May 28th 2019 by Thomas Nelson
Free review copy provided by publisher, Thomas Nelson in partnership with TLC Book Tours, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and in no way influenced.
Rating: 3 stars
GenreL historical fiction, historical mystery
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My Thoughts:
This was such a fun read.  I loved this view on a time in history that I’m always trying to learn more about.  It’s 1940’s but before the United States enters the war.  There are all kinds living here.  It’s a great melting pot in Boston.  But not everyone is happy.  

There are those who don’t like the black or the Irish.  But then there are those who don’t like the Italians and the Jews.  They want them gone and will stop at nothing to get what they want.

I love a good mystery book and this definitely qualifies.  What could Boston and Toronto have in common?  Why target an up and coming great ball player?  Because he’s black?  And why beat up his nephew?  It gets worse before it gets better.

Also, where is Hamish’s cousin Luca?  And what is going on with Nate?  Why is he so preoccupied and why does Hamish get the feeling he’s being lied to?

Full disclosure, I have not read book one of this series.  I wish now I had so if you’re like me and want to know the back story that will be alluded to please read book one first.  

Other than not knowing everything that is mentioned since I didn’t read book one, this is a great read.  I’m a huge fan of mysteries and this was excellent.  I loved getting to know the characters and found myself shaking my head at Reggie multiple times.  The descriptions of her clothes were awesome too.  As I said, this is a time period I like and the clothes are the best!

Favorite character:  Reggie and love how she insists it is Reggie.  I think it’s fun how she’s trying to be so self-reliant.

A character I loved to hate: Dirk.  Enough said. Everyone is going to love to hate him.

The one you can’t help but want to thump over the head but still love anyway: Nate.  I mean you want to thump him for keeping secrets but he’s really so loveable.

Vaughan, I felt sorry for.  He seems like an up and up guy.  Hopefully, there will be a book soon where he gets some good thrown his way. 

Recommended!  It starts off a bit slow.  I’m not sure if that’s because I was a bit lost not having read the first book or if it’s just the writing style.  There were a few things the book could have done without.  The one thing that really pops into my head is the scene at Hamish and Nate’s house after Reggie almost drowns and needs to be warmed quickly. 

I have voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from Celebrate Lit. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.  I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.  All opinions expressed are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC regulations.
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DNF--the writing wasn't my cup of tea. I had a hard time identifying with the characters. I requested it for the setting and the fact it was a mystery.
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Hamish DeLuca and Regina “Reggie” Van Buren have a new case—and this one brings the war in Europe dangerously close to home.

Determined to make a life for herself, Regina “Reggie” Van Buren bid goodbye to fine china and the man her parents expected her to marry and escaped to Boston. What she never expected to discover was that an unknown talent for sleuthing would develop into a business partnership with the handsome, yet shy, Hamish DeLuca.

Their latest case arrives when Errol Parker, the leading base stealer in the Boston farm leagues, hires Hamish and Reggie to investigate what the Boston police shove off as a series of harmless pranks. Errol believes these are hate crimes linked to the outbreak of war in Europe, and he’s afraid for his life. Hamish and Reggie quickly find themselves in the midst of an escalating series of crimes that seem to link Boston to Hamish’s hometown of Toronto.

When an act of violence hits too close to home, Hamish is driven to a decision that may sever him from Reggie forever . . . even more than her engagement to wealthy architect Vaughan Vanderlaan.

My Thoughts:  I had a hard time starting into the book but as the reader gets further along in the storyline, it becomes a very interesting read.   This is a second book in the series, and I do recommend to the readers that they read the first book "Murder at the Flamingo" to help get to know the main characters a little better.  A murder mystery with a little romance as Hamish has to deal with his feelings toward Reggie, being friends and co-workers for two years.   This novel takes place in the 1940's pre-war era, with the main character Hamish trying to get past his relationship with a shady cousin.      

It was interesting to learn a little about Boston; especially the housing situation during that era.  The writer has an enjoyable style of writing that brings the characters to life for the reader.   This is a good book for those who love mysteries.  

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Murder in the City of Liberty
A Van Buren and DeLuca Mystery #2
Rachel McMillan
Thomas Nelson, May 2019
ISBN 978-0-7852-1696-4
Trade Paperback

From the publisher—

Hamish DeLuca and Regina “Reggie” Van Buren have a new case—and this one could demand a price they’re not willing to pay.

Determined to make a life for herself, Reggie Van Buren bid goodbye to fine china and the man her parents expected her to marry and escaped to Boston. What she never expected to discover was that an unknown talent for sleuthing would develop into a business partnership with the handsome, yet shy, Hamish DeLuca.

Their latest case arrives when Errol Parker, the leading base stealer in the Boston farm leagues, hires Hamish and Reggie to investigate what the Boston police shove off as a series of harmless pranks. Errol believes these are hate crimes linked to the outbreak of war in Europe, and he’s afraid for his life. Hamish and Reggie quickly find themselves in the midst of an escalating series of crimes.

When Hamish has his careful constructed life disrupted by a figure from his past, he is driven to a decision that may sever him from Reggie forever . . . even more than her engagement to wealthy architect Vaughan Vanderlaan.

Ahh, Reggie and Hamish are a charming couple although, strictly speaking, they aren’t really a couple because they’re studiously resisting any kind of romantic attraction. They do, however, have a strong partnership in their detective agency and, even in these early days, they’re getting noticed.

Their latest case involves a black man, a baseball player who wants to break the color barrier in the big leagues. Errol Parker retains Hamish and Reggie to look into what the police call pranks being played against him but they soon realize these are acts of racism and there is nothing prankish about these attacks. This is 1940 and Boston is a hotbed of racism, particularly against blacks and ethnic minorities, so they have a formidable task identifying the perpetrator(s) and stopping them.

Meanwhile, Hamish is dealing with a kind of anxiety disorder and a tricky relationship with the criminal world and Reggie is fighting to maintain a distance from her high society background. This story is, realistically. more of a character study of Reggie, Hamish and a variety of peripheral players than a mystery but, for all that, Murder in the City of Liberty is an entertaining tale.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, July 2019.
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As Van Buren and De Luca help the residents of North End Boston, they find themselves investigating their own relationship!
 Three years have passed since the infamous case of murder at the Flamingo Club that left Hamish shot on the club floor.  His nefarious cousin Luca Valari has vanished back to Chicago but may have an opportunity to return to Boston to pursue some racketeering for the possibility of the United States entering the second great war.  Meanwhile, Hamish and Reggie have been building up their investigative practice of Van Buren and De Luca.  The pair have grown much closer during the time, but still haven’t crossed any lines of intimacy.  They get a call from Pete Kelly, who has been using the harbor area in the North End for black market business for years but keeps the tenants with decent prospects and jobs.  The prestigious architectural firm Hyatt and Price (the same firm that the Vaughn of Reggie’s past is employed) is working to develop the area into affordable housing.  But after learning of Hamish’s connections to his cousin Luca, Kelly steps away from working with them.  Shortly after, Hamish receives a visit from a colored farm league baseball player for the Boston Patriots, Errol Parker.  Errol has always been on the receiving end of pranks, but lately they’ve escalated to threats.  Hamish and Reggie agree to investigate this and shortly a murder takes place at the stadium.  As the investigation continues, all the events that have been taking place begin to become intertwined and it will take both of them to figure it out.
 Although three years has passed from when the previous book ended, it was evident that Hamish and Reggie have grown closer.  The was a parallel investigation of their personal relationship to that of the murder that was being investigated.  It was put through a very trying time in this book and readers will finally get to see what it is made of.  The previous book did a great job of setting up a new series including character development and the scenery of the time of the North End of Boston.  Since that had already been done, this book just took that previous momentum and carried it forward.  There wasn’t as much descriptive scenery, but both Reggie and Hamish continued to develop.  Several of the supporting characters from the previous book continued in their progress as well.  As a reader, I still didn’t like Vaughn because of his relationship with Reggie, but he was such a good guy and had matured.  Dirk of course was still lowly and easy to dislike.   I still enjoy the series and will be looking forward to what comes next.
 I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.
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“Murder in the City of Liberty” features characters from a previous novel in a 1940’s noir-type story. Since I did not read the first novel, I felt as if I walked into the theater in the middle of the performance. I was totally confused at the outset of the novel. It took quite a while for me to get the idea of who the characters were and what was going on. 

The story evokes the dark feeling of crime as well as gaiety, and also prejudice against certain groups of people during this time period. The main characters involve themselves in an investigation about slum lord housing, making their mark in advocating for the immigrant people of Boston. I liked the historical aspects of the novel and the time period in which it was set. Having visited Boston, I found the setting interesting and could “see” the locations in which the action took place.

While the plot was interesting, and I liked the main characters, I had a difficult time staying involved and interested in the storyline. I felt as if it bogged down and I wanted it to move along faster. The romance between the main characters also became tiresome after a while. They loved each other, but did not want to admit it.

The author did a good job of sensitively portraying a character who suffered from and coped with anxiety, something that a lot of people today seem to encounter.  

I received this book from the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed here are entirely my own.
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I must say, I love the covers!  I came into this series in this second book. I wasn't a bit lost, though I'd like to read the first one. It's the 1940's, Boston and detectives; this is like some of my favorite movies. Hamish and Reggie have been working together for about two years on their agency, and it has all the mystery, light romance, drama and suspense I expected, plus the added benefits of lots of history with lightly handled Christian themes. That means anyone can read this book and get drawn into a series that is going to lead into much more if I don't miss my guess. I am looking forward to more of this series!
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My Thoughts:
I’m happy to be back with the duo of Hamish and Reggie. I love the quirky relationship they have, it really makes them look like they belong to each other. Sometimes it is somewhat difficult to tell, but they make the story fun! There is a wealth of intrigue and not very friendly guys in the book. At times I really didn’t know who was good and who was bad. If I had to pick a favorite book, I would definitely go with book number one of this series. There are some scenes in this book that are very confusing. There where a LOT of characters and not very defined personalities. The romance was a bit too much for a mystery book, in my opinion. The story covers a little about baseball and prejudice during that time period. This story also covers racial discrimination in baseball during that time in history, so there is some upsetting content covered. The plot development was very slow in my opinion and would have loved to see things speed up, especially on the ”middle” section of the book. What I found a little weird is the fact that this book is listed under Christian books, and I sincerely didn’t notice a Christian message.

Plot: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 3/5

Characters: ⭐️⭐️✨ 2.5 /5

Cleanness: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 3/5

**I received this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion. All thought are my own and I was not required to write a positive review.**
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I want to start by making this abundantly clear: I love Hammish.  As a person who suffers from anxiety attacks, this character is my hero.  As Hammish is experiencing his "episodes," I am right there with him.  The description are so well written that I had to be careful, because I could feel my heart start to respond with Hammish.  It was almost as if my body knew these feelings and physical symptoms so well, that it began to mimic them.  Have you ever been reading along with a book, and a character winks, smiles, or shrugs, and you find yourself  making the same motions?  It was that but with panic attacks.  Hammish's story makes me so grateful for modern medicine and the increasing awareness of society to the truths of mental illness.  Characters like Hammish are so important in our continuing battle to raise awareness and remove the stigmas of mental illness.

As for the book itself, it was a joy to read.  I'm slowly falling in love with the city of Boston.  I want to see the Paul Revere statute, take in a game at Fenway park, and smell the maple syrup on a hot day.  Not only is it ripe with historical places, but it seems the streets are  a perfect setting to unveil mystery and weave intriguing storylines.  There is so much of the racial, political, and socioeconomic undercurrent that this book almost feels like a history lesson, except way more fun.  

The love story is sweet, and at times frustrating.  When two people should be together, and aren't, that's frustrating for a reader.  But, honestly, if couples just jumped into each others arms upon meeting, there wouldn't be a book and we wouldn't be interested.  It's the conflict that hooks the reader, and I really enjoyed reading how these characters navigated their choices (trying really hard not to give away spoilers).  

In my opinion, this is not a true standalone book.  Technically, all of the information you need from book 1 is included in book 2.  However, I believe this is a series and should be read as such.  I don't know how anyone could understand Hammish and Reggie without having read book 1.  The backstory is so much of these characters.  From understanding why cannoli is so important to Hammish's cousin, you need book 1.
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I'm happy to be back with the duo of  Hamish and Reggie. They are a great team and for some reason remind me of the duo from the show Moonlighting. They have this quirky relationship that seems to compliment each other. I'm not quite sure if there are sparks between them at times, but they sure liven up the story.

There is an abundance of intrigue and not so nice people in the story. At times I didn't know who was good and who was bad. I remember reading the first book and thinking how much I enjoyed it. This book had me confused. There seemed to be too many characters and I didn't know if I was reading a mystery or a romance book.

The story covers a little about baseball and prejudice during this time period.  I enjoyed reading about the great baseball players during this time period. My blood boiled as Errol Parker explained how he has been treated in the baseball world due to his color. He is the best at stealing bases, but someone is not happy with him playing. When he describes how his nephew was beat up at a game, you could feel Hamish and Reggie become angry and ashamed of how cruel people are.

Lies are being spread about different nationalities and the tension has built up to where it is infiltrated the baseball world. Why is this group spreading hate? Baseball is America's favorite pass time, but Errol thinks his life may be in danger.  I wish the author would have not spent so much time on  if Hamish and Reggie liked each other. This book is listed as a Christian fiction book, but I found no reference to faith at all in the book.

I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.
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She has done it again! So much mystery solving and suspense that you can’t put it down. Fast paced and quite the page turner – it will keep you on your toes to keep it all straight.  I just adored Hamish and Reggie! Such swoon worthy sparks and fun dialogue that they feel like family and friends you have known forever.  I have never been to Boston – but I felt I knew the city and its atmosphere while reading. Great talent for building that scenery in my head! Hamish and his personal struggles make you fall in love with him and realize we all are special and can make a difference. 
I got this book from Celebrate Lit and this is my own opinion.
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Rachel McMillan captures 1940 Boston with  the second Van Buren and DeLuca mystery.  Canadian lawyer Hamish DeLuca is partners in a detective agency with Reggie Van Buren.  Her parents are pressuring her to wed another blue blood Bostonian and DeLuca has a cousin involved with the crime syndicates in Boston.  Prejudice against Italians and African Americans show up in a white supremacist group and the death of the nephew of a black baseball star.  Reggie's father has invested in the development scheme meant to dislodge poor Italian and Black renters in favour of white middle class Bostonians; De Luca's cousin is engaged in the sleazy side of the scheme.  Interesting period mystery with romance weighing in.
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I wish that I had read the first two books in this series.  I was a little confused in the beginning of the story and this confused me for a little bit of time.  I really loved how this story ended.  All of the main characters learned many old secrets about themselves and their families.  I received a copy of this book from Celebratelit for a fair and honest opinion that I gave of my own free will.
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It’s been three years since the events of the previous book, Murder at the Flamingo, and it’s hard to say whether the characters had any growth or merely remained stagnant. As with the first book, I began this one having a very difficult time latching on to the author’s writing style. The atmospheric descriptions are delicious, but her action sequences (Reggie’s near drowning at the beginning) are ridiculously hard to follow. And are we supposed to like Luca or is he the enemy?

That all being said, I simply adore Hamish and Reggie. I can appreciate their struggles and frustrations, even if I don’t always understand their choices (ie Reggie and Vaughn). And I do look forward to where the next story takes them, especially with the US’s involvement in WWII looming before them.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. All opinions are my own.
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I love mysteries, but had yet to read one by this particular author.

So, I dove in and started reading....the first chapter (see excerpt below) kind of caught my attention...and I kept reading.

I didn't find the story to be extremely fast paced or anything. But it did intrigue me nonetheless.

I wanted to get to know more about Reggie. And Hamish. And see how they go about solving crimes.

What I found was a charming, slightly enchanting, attention-grabbing story. (and now...I really want to go back and read the first book in this series!)

Disclaimer: I receive complimentary books from various sources, including, publishers, publicists, authors, and/or NetGalley. I am not required to write a positive review, and have not received any compensation. The opinions shared here are my own entirely.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255
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Oh. My. Word. I thoroughly loved every second spent with Reggie and Hamish in this fantastic murder mystery. Murder in the City of Liberty is SO, SO good. The plot is insanely fast paced and highly engaging. Hamish and Reggie are outstanding protagonists. The chemistry between the two — it’s a delicious blend of hope, romance, and tension. It kept me furiously turning pages well into the night! And the history. I learned so much about 1940s Boston and the political climate in the early days of WWII. Murder in the City of Liberty has a depth and complexity that avid murder-mystery readers will not want to miss!

When I fell in love with my husband, I don’t believe I had one clue as to what true love really is. I felt in love. When I looked at him my heart would flutter and I would go a bit weak in the knees. And I definitely had glorious expectations that only he could fulfill — the happily-ever-after, white-picket-fence, married-for-50+-years kind. These were the kind of feelings I knew only he could inspire. So I must have been in love, right?

Wrong! I went into my marriage with my eyes so firmly shut to reality. Love isn’t a feeling. As one of my favorite pastors says, “Love isn’t glandular.” In the novel, it is clear that Reggie and Hamish have deep feelings for one another. But Reggie is hesitant to admit her that feelings are love. Her biggest issue is how she has built Hamish up in her head. To Reggie, Hamish is the perfect man — a knight in shining armor. He is strong, intelligent, dependable, stable, kind, and selfless. And, she knows he loves her with his whole heart. But there is a moment where Hamish makes a grave error in judgment. Reggie realizes that Hamish is human just like everyone else, and she gets mad at him. The proverbial rose-colored glasses have been slapped off her face, and she now sees Hamish for who he truly is, the good parts and the bad. This is essentially what happened to me too. Six months after we said, “I Do,” life took a turn for the worse and I realized I didn’t really know the man I had married. In retrospect, I don’t think he realized the women he had married either. In one very bad moment all of my notions about love and marriage were stripped from me and what I was left with was real life. I didn’t want real life. I wanted my expectations and dreams. Reggie becomes angry with Hamish because she didn’t want real life either. She wanted the dream of Hamish that she had concocted.

BUT Reggie realizes that “love [means] accepting the lowest of a person.” People have positives and negatives. When we “fall” in love, we fall for the absolute best parts of each other. The negative parts of personalities seem to be nonexistent. In these “lovey-dovey” moments people knee-jerk react and get married. Then reality hits and the notion of romantic love falls away and we’re left with someone who has flaws. What I have learned in the decade since my husband and I first began a relationship is that love means being there for one another to the best of our abilities. But, we are going to make mistakes. We are fallible human beings. If love means being there for one another to the best of our abilities, it also means realizing that “the best of our abilities” is limited. I’m grateful for Reggie’s moment of clarity not just because I really want something to happen between Reggie and Hamish (which I do so, so much), but because it is a great reminder for me. I need to be a little more gracious towards my husband. God, the creator of the known and unknown universes, loves my husband just as he is warts and all. I need to do the same if I truly love him (which I do)! Reggie realizes she needs to be a little more gracious to her Hamish as well.

Murder in the City of Liberty is a wonderful story, and I highly recommend it. I am going to miss my time with Reggie and Hamish. Book 3 cannot come fast enough for me!

I received a review copy of this novel in eBook form from the publisher via NetGalley and Celebrate Lit. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.
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Set in early 1940’s Boston, this story took some time for me to get into - perhaps because I had not read the first book in the series. It was a time when WWII was already happening, even though the USA was not yet involved. Boston was a melting pot with crime and corruption, racial tension and antisemitism. Our intrepid hero and heroine find themselves involved in cases that go way beyond their normal work of employment and property law contracts. The author has done a fine job of using the anxiety and other problems that Hamish struggles with, to highlight the fact that overcoming is possible. The romantic tension brought some smiles and some head shaking, wondering if they would possibly get it figured out. 

In all, this was an interesting book with rich detail about the Boston area, making me wish to visit there once again. The statement made by Hamish to Reggie seems to sum up many of the twists and turns in this book and one that requires a great deal of thought for all of us.

‘You can make yourself believe a great many things about the choices you make.”

I received an ARC of this book through NetGalley and CelebrateLit. The impression and opinions are my own.
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Regina "Reggie" Van Buren has discovered a passion for sleuthing with her partner Hamish DeLuca. In the second book of the series, the teamwork for baseball player Errol Parker, a victim of hate crimes. With a tie into the outbreak of war in Europe, "Murder in the City of Liberty" pushes Reggie and Hamish to make decisions about their family relationships and personal attraction. 
I enjoyed the historical aspects of this book, including the discussions of hate crimes, white supremacy and female empowerment in the 1920s/30s. I'm also grateful that author Rachel McMillan includes an accurate depiction of anxiety and panic attacks, which raises awareness for these conditions. The writing isn't very smooth, though, and I didn't really understand what was happening until halfway into the book. I also didn't enjoy the romance - that's a personal preference. I only finished the book out of obligation. I might have enjoyed it more if I had read the first book in the series. 
While I probably won't read another book in this series, I will read other books by this author. Her commitment to raising awareness for anxiety and panic attacks is something I support!
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Luca Valari is still the man of mystery behind the shady goings on in this second book in the Van Buren and DeLuca series. But Reggie Van Buren and Hamish DeLuca are definitely front and center in this atmospheric story of pre-WW2 Boston.

Although, just as in Murder at the Flamingo, it’s almost halfway through the book before the dead body turns up, there’s already plenty of shady goings on.

Nate Reis, Hamish’ roommate and the unofficial Jewish prince of the city’s immigrant North End, is hiding something – not that the increasing amount of Antisemitism and anti-immigrant fury is hiding anything from him.

Hamish and Reggie find themselves in multiple kinds of trouble when they investigate what looks like a potential housing development that plans to create substandard housing on land that is certain to be not merely unsuitable but actually unstable – and not with the consent of the current owner.

The situation gets even dicier when a figure from their past with Luca Valari and his Flamingo Club appears in the shadows – and someone pushes Reggie into the freezing waters of Boston Harbor.

The client they do manage to retain is the Black minor league baseball player Errol Parker, better known as Robin Hood for his base-stealing prowess. Parker has been the victim of an escalating series of so-called pranks, and he wants Van Buren and DeLuca to get to the bottom of it before someone roughs up his 16-year-old nephew. Again.

When the boy turns up dead in the locker room wearing his uncle’s jersey, they are left to investigate whether his murder was due to the color of their client’s skin, the shady people the boy was doing errands for, the rise of racial tension in general – or something else all together.

Something that might lead back to Luca Valari.

Escape Rating B: There’s something about this entry in the series that feels much darker than the previous book. Not that there isn’t plenty of mystery in both, but it feels like there were more lighthearted moments in Murder at the Flamingo – at least before said murder – than there are in Murder in the City of Liberty. Or it may be that Reggie Van Buren and Hamish DeLuca were just a lot more naive in the first book than they are, three long years later, in the second.

Some of that is the time period. While Flamingo takes place during the Depression, which was no picnic, this book is set in 1940. By this point in history, World War II had already begun in Europe, Hamish’ home country of Canada was already involved, and people in the U.S. were dealing with the sense that they would be caught up in the war, whether they wanted to be or not, sooner or later. Most likely sooner.

Which doesn’t mean that there weren’t plenty of isolationists doing their level best – or should that be absolute worst – to keep the U.S. out of the war as long as possible. And a lot of their reasoning revolved around their disgusting propaganda campaigns to keep America white and Christian and to denigrate, persecute and even murder anyone who was not. A propaganda campaign – with its associated violence – that has both Hamish and Reggie’s client Errol Parker and their friend Nate Reis squarely in its sights.

The threats hanging over Parker and Nate are part of the darkness that permeates the story, as is shadowy presence of Hamish’ cousin Luca – who is up to his neck in something shady yet again. Someone is following Hamish, but whether it’s Luca’s agents attempting to keep Hamish safe, or Luca’s enemies trying to get at Luca through Hamish is all part of the puzzle. A puzzle that keeps Hamish – and the reader – guessing until the very end.

Speaking of that end, at the end of Murder in the City of Liberty Hamish is brought face to face with his parents’ past – a past that has been hidden from him all of his life. However, that past is not hidden from the reader – or at least not the readers of the author’s Herringford and Watts historical mystery series, which features Hamish’s mother and her bestie – and eventually leads to the events which led to the “falling out” between Hamish’ parents and Luca Valari’s.

It seems like everything in Hamish’ life comes back to Luca, one way or another. But the Herringford and Watts series looks scrumptious! So it looks like the first book, The Bachelor Girl’s Guide to Murder, will be going on my TBR pile as something to tide me over until the next installment in the Van Buren and DeLuca mysteries!
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