Disturbing the Dead

Book Review

Disturbing the Dead by Kelley Armstrong
Mystery | Time Travel | Historical Fiction

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The third book in Kelley Armstrong’s A Rip Through Time series is the latest in this fascinating genre-blending series about a modern-day homicide detective caught in the body of a Victorian-era housemaid.

Reader’s Thoughts:

Disturbing the Dead is the latest installment in the A Rip Through Time books and, in my opinion, it may just be the best book of the series yet!

For those new to this series, let’s first get caught up on the premise: Modern-day homicide detective, Mallory, and Victorian-era Catriona were both attacked in the same dark alleyway, 150 years apart. This opened a rip in time, in which Mallory was transported back to the 1860s, and woke up in the body of the much younger, untrustworthy housemaid, Catriona. (While I highly recommend reading this series in order, if you accidentally happen to jump in at Disturbing the Dead, the author does a good job at catching you up on past events!)

In this third novel, Mallory is adjusting to life in the Victorian-era (even if she still isn’t entirely comfortable living in someone else’s body.) Fortunately, by this point, she’s developed some true relationships and friendships with the household she’s staying in. Those closest to her know and understand her secret and I love how Mallory can be herself around them. The collision of past and present creates opportunities for some great dialogue and interaction, and Mallory’s modern references amidst the historical backdrop add a fun and lively dynamic to the story! There is also some great character progression from the previous novels, and I really enjoyed the level of care and endearment between all our main characters.

Mallory is easy to follow along with and root for. She’s smart and witty, honest and quick. Fortunately, she’s also landed in a very forward-thinking household, which allows her opportunities that she might not otherwise get in that setting — including her specialty, solving murders! (The unlikelihood of landing in a household with so many 21st-century-aligned views is something that Mallory herself acknowledges in this book, which I thought was a fun “meta” moment given that it’s probably one of the more common critiques for this series.)

As someone who has been actively following along with this series from the beginning, there was one particular element to Disturbing the Dead that moved the story from a four-star read to a five-star. It was exactly what I needed when I needed it. (I won’t say any more than that!)

The mystery aspect of this book was also fast-paced and well-plotted with numerous suspects and red herrings. The writing flows well and the historical context feels accurately researched. This was a really enjoyable read and the time-travel aspect adds such a fun, brightness to what would otherwise be a traditional-feeling historical mystery.

With such a strong third book, I can’t wait to see what the series brings next! For fans of time travel, historical mysteries, and the A Rip Through Time series, you’re in for a treat!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Recommended for:

Fans of historical mysteries with a unique twist!

This post contains affiliate links; as an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Advance copy of the book provided courtesy of the publisher, Minotaur Books. All opinions expressed are my own.

About the book:

(From the publisher) Disturbing the Dead is the latest in a unique series with one foot in the 1890s and the other in the present day. The A Rip Through Time crime novels are a genre-blending, atmospheric romp from New York Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong.

Victorian Scotland is becoming less strange to modern-day homicide detective Mallory Atkinson. Though inhabiting someone else’s body will always be unsettling, even if her employers know that she’s not actually housemaid Catriona Mitchell, ever since the night both of them were attacked in the same dark alley 150 years apart. Mallory likes her job as assistant to undertaker/medical examiner Dr. Duncan Gray, and is developing true friends―and feelings―in this century.

So, understanding the Victorian fascination with death, Mallory isn’t that surprised when she and her friends are invited to a mummy unwrapping at the home of Sir Alastair Christie. When their host is missing when it comes time to unwrap the mummy, Gray and Mallory are asked to step in. And upon closer inspection, it’s not a mummy they’ve unwrapped, but a much more modern body.

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