I really enjoyed the first book in this series, Still Life with Murder, but this second-- while good-- just isn't as dynamic as its predecessor. The mystery itself is tissue paper thin, and even with some misdirection added, the killer is rather obvious. As I kept reading, it became clear to me that Murder in a Mill Town isn't really about the mystery, it's about the growing relationship between Nell and Will and about Nell's past. A few of her secrets were revealed in Still Life with Murder, but there are plenty more to share in this one.
Will continues to be a fascinating character and is every bit as flawed as Nell-- but in a completely different way. Both are brave and smart and possess a dry wit. They certainly showcase Ryan's skill in rich, nuanced characterization. These two definitely will not have a smooth trip to any sort of relationship, and not just because they come from such different backgrounds. Two people in particular are going to cause them problems every step of the way, and it will be very interesting to see what develops in future books. I only hope that those future books have stronger mysteries to solve.
Living in the Gilded Age of 1868 Boston, young Irish immigrant Nell Sweeny may not have much, but she does possess both a keen mind and a brave heart. As goveness to the wealthy Hewitt family, she finds plenty of opportunities to use both - especially when the seamy side of society shows itself...
It took a little to get into it but all in all a great mystery!