5 star, YA

Review: Escaping From Houdini by Kerri Maniscalco

Stalking Jack The Ripper #3

Audrey Rose Wadsworth and her partner-in-crime-investigation, Thomas Cresswell, are en route to New York to help solve another blood-soaked mystery. Embarking on a week-long voyage across the Atlantic on the opulent RMS Etruria, they’re delighted to discover a traveling troupe of circus performers, fortune tellers, and a certain charismatic young escape artist entertaining the first-class passengers nightly.

But then, privileged young women begin to go missing without explanation, and a series of brutal slayings shocks the entire ship. The disturbing influence of the Moonlight Carnival pervades the decks as the murders grow ever more freakish, with nowhere to escape except the unforgiving sea.

It’s up to Audrey Rose and Thomas to piece together the gruesome investigation as even more passengers die before reaching their destination. But with clues to the next victim pointing to someone she loves, can Audrey Rose unravel the mystery before the killer’s horrifying finale?

Wow. Wooow. Honestly this was my favourite one so far! It’s a bit surprising that the third book in the series would be my favourite, but perhaps it’s that the characters have developed to such a point where I relate to them more now. Or perhaps I’m just more invested. Either way Andge and I both give this book a 5 Drink Me Potions rating, and honestly if you were at all on the fence about this series, by now you should know that we both seriously enjoyed this journey and highly recommend it.

Escaping From Houdini revolves our favourite dynamic duo, Audrey Rose Wadsworth and Thomas Cresswell, as they embark on the RMS Etruria to America. Their week-long journey is not without excitement though. A fantastical and mysterious magic show runs every night aboard this ship, with its entrancing masked leader Mephistopheles at its helm. As the first bodies start turning up, will Audrey Rose and Thomas be able to solve the mystery before more lives are lost?

As if I haven’t already praised the character development before, I was particularly beguiled by this book in the series (hence my highest rating too). I think for me it’s because we’ve exited out of that initial lovey-dovey excitement and into more of the communication and trust conundrums. The interesting relationships that exist between Audrey Rose and all the other characters also develop in unique ways, since everyone is stuck on this ship together. These all felt realistic really helped to push the series forward.

The whodunnit murder mystery part of the novel was also really good in my opinion. I love these classic “no one in, no one out“ types of scenarios so that you know the murderer is likely hiding in plain sight. The mystery unravels itself really nicely, and I found it hard to guess who the perpetrator was all the way till the very end. The way the denouement is handled is quite good too, I was overall very satisfied by the mystery and suspense portion of the novel.

Perhaps these things that I have mentioned so far may be more commonplace in an average murder mystery novel, but the highlight that sets this series apart is the historical aspect of this historical fiction. Set in the late nineteenth century, Maniscalco does a good job doing her research and including so many elements from the past. I think the more you know about the historical characters and events, the more you might enjoy the way the author has cleverly tied things together. There may be some facts slightly changed but nevertheless the tone is completely appropriate for the time and place, which lends itself to a whole new level of satisfaction in a murder mystery.

I think Andge and I both agree on this: there needs to be something extra special to earn our 5 star rating. And these books have it. The well-researched historical backdrop is just a great place for a YA mystery to take place. It is something we find extra special, in addition to all the other already great things about this series. Have I not gone on about this enough, read and enjoy for yourself!

Overall Recommendations

Escaping From Houdini (Stalking Jack The Ripper #3) once again follows our lovely duo, Audrey Rose and Thomas, as they embark for America aboard the Etruria. Set in the late nineteenth century, once again the two get wrapped up in a series of vicious murders aboard the ship. Follow along as they try and solve the mystery, will they be able to find the killer before they are targeted next? A riveting murder mystery where everyone is stuck on a ship for a week, where could the perpetrator possibly be hiding? We once again highly recommend this series here at Down The Rabbit Hole.

3 thoughts on “Review: Escaping From Houdini by Kerri Maniscalco”

  1. I read the 1st and 2nd of this series. I had stopped because of the lovey dovey relationship that you had mentioned in your review. I’m glad to hear that their relationship has matured and now I might continue the series. I loved the historical research involved in her books and the storylines were so good!

    Liked by 1 person

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