“A Deadly Affection” Becomes A Murderer’s Defense

th-1Deadly Affection was a Victorian novel with a spunky heroine who was intent on becoming a psychotherapists in a field dominated by men. When Dr. Genevieve Summerfold learned that one of her patients, Eliza, was accused of murder she just had to investigate the crime to see for herself whether her patient was guilty. This was a smart mystery perfect for readers with an interest in medicine. The investigation into the murder was more of an inquest into the suspect’s medical condition than a typical murder investigation. Genevieve’s investigation relied heavily on her medial training when she compared the symptoms of a newly discovered disease to the behavior of other characters to see whether there was a genetic link that could explain the murder. The result unknowingly led her to conclusions about parentage that had deadly impacts.

In a lot of ways this had all the elements so typical for a novel with a time period of the early 1900’s. The male police officers and detectives were obtuse and treated Eliza and Genevieve as if they were children, doubting everything they said and patronizing them. Genevieve was assertive with them, but was less so with her own family. Genevieve’s father didn’t approve of her being a doctor and treated her like a child. He demanded that she abide by a curfew and obey his sexist and arbitrary orders. Her mother was only concerned with how the members of their social circle would perceive her actions, and definitely did not want her to have a career. She hoped that Genevieve would also busy herself with dress fittings, dances, and climbing the social ladder. The result was that Genevieve was a character with many facets, who was both weak and strong. That made her seem realistic.

This moved along very well. It was an interesting premise for a story and I liked Genevieve immensely. I could have actually used a little more in the romance department. There was a beau that Genevieve flirted with but I wished more came of the relationship sooner. I would read the rest of the novels in the series.


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