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Reviewed by Saifunnissa Hassam for Readers' Favorite
Malia Zaidi's mystery and historical fiction novel, The Golden Hour: A Lady Evelyn Mystery, is set in Scotland in 1927. Malmo Manor is Evelyn Carlisle's Scottish family home of her aunts Iris and Agnes. Evelyn is at Malmo Manor for the upcoming wedding of her cousin Gemma. A May Day celebration at the nearby estate of Elderbrooke Park ends in the horrifying murder of Tilly Stockwell. Elderbrooke is a retreat for artistic veterans of the Great War. Suspicion falls on one of the veterans as the murderer. Tilly was a young maid at Malmo Manor. Evelyn is committed to finding the murderer or murderers when she learns about an unsolved murder of another young woman, Josslyn Moore, in the nearby woodlands six years ago. Puzzling clues emerge, including connections to her own family, to the nearby village of Falkland, and to Elderbrooke Park.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Malia Zaidi's The Golden Hour: A Lady Evelyn Mystery. I loved the character of the talented and determined sleuth Evelyn Carlisle. I liked her insight and sensitivity to people's fears. I liked the development of her character and strengthening of family bonds when she takes her Aunt Agnes and cousin Lucy into her confidence. I liked Evelyn's friendly and vital rapport with Detective Inspector Callum Lockhart of St. Andrews. The novel's title "The Golden Hour" refers to the warm glow of sunlight at sunset and sunrise. I loved Malia Zaidi's contrasts of sunlight with the dark and dense woodlands to underscore the sinister and eerie awareness that the murderer may yet strike again. The suspense, twists, and turns grow as the tangled web of possible suspects expands. A well-crafted mystery novel of tragedy, loss, and grief.