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Reviewed by Grant Leishman for Readers' Favorite
Flipping Rich Bastards by Julie G. Murphy is a rather whimsical look at “society” life in England at the end of the nineteenth century. England is still a very classed society and everyone knows his and her station or place in life. The only way for anyone to rise in the “ranks”, so to speak, is through marriage. Lady Eleanor Albright, however, is determined that her feminine sex will not preclude her from enjoying and practicing that which she finds fascinating – chemistry and detective work. Reeling from a bad marriage to a brothel-loving and abusive husband, Eleanor has left the man and is living with her mother, Lady Adele Darnley, who has struggled with a lifetime of trying to shuck her humble Irish ancestry and fit into English high society. Much to her mother’s chagrin, who is desperate to get Eleanor and her husband back together, Eleanor is enamored with a young barrister Lord Henry Faraday who is seven years her junior. When Eleanor attends a grouse shoot at the Baron of Tweedmouth’s residence, the party is disrupted by the death of the Baron, whom it seems has fallen from his balcony whilst having an asthma attack. The Baron was universally disliked throughout the county and suspects for a crime would not be at all hard to find. Despite the local Chief Constable’s assertion that the Baron died from his asthma, Eleanor is certain foul play is afoot and, against all odds, is determined to track down the real killer. Her hunt will prove both dangerous and exciting for her and her young accomplice Lord Faraday.
Flipping Rich Bastards captures well the indolent wealthy class of England at the time. The descriptions of the excess that accompanied a grouse shoot were well related by author Julie G. Murphy. Her leading lady, Eleanor, was drawn to perfection. She was a woman of her times trying desperately to break out from the stereotypical feminine role of Victorian England. Intelligent and driven, she nonetheless still portrayed the feminine instincts and self-doubts that made her even more endearing as a character. I could definitely picture Eleanor as a strident suffragette in years to come and could equally imagine her mother’s chagrin at such an idea. Eleanor wasn’t prepared to be typecast merely because of her sex and I admired that in her. I felt the idea of a relationship between a young man and an older, married woman was clever and the author did an excellent job of developing and exploring the nuances of love at that time. There was a clear connection between the two that both felt but neither could find the ability to express to each other. The plot, although seemingly obvious at times, contained a few twists and turns and “red herrings” that made it impossible to draw a full conclusion until right at the end – always the hallmark of a good murder/mystery. This was a “flipping good read” and one I can highly recommend.