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Deadly Curious

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1834. Sophia Thompson wants nothing more than to be one of the famed Bow Street Runners, London's most elite corps of detectives. Never mind that a woman has never before joined their ranks--and certainly never mind that her reclusive family has forbidden her from pursuing such an unladylike goal.

She gets the chance to prove her capabilities when an urgent letter arrives from her frantic cousin Daphne, begging Sophia to come look into the suspicious death of Daphne's brother.

As Sophia begins to unravel the tangled threads of the case--with the help of a charming young policeman--she soon realizes that the murderer may be even closer to her family than she ever suspected.

352 pages, Hardcover

First published June 23, 2020

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About the author

Cindy Anstey

7 books641 followers
Cindy fought a courageous (and stubborn) battle with cancer for 10 years. She took delight in proving several doctors’ prognostications wrong, until, finally, the disease won out. Cindy will be greatly missed.

She lived on three continents, had a monkey in her yard and a scorpion under her sink, dwelt among castles and canals and enjoyed the jazz of Beale St.

Cindy loves history, mystery and... a chocolate Labrador called Chester. The Hummingbird Dagger, her first YA mystery, was released April 2019; her second, Deadly Curious, was released in 2020.

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5 stars
94 (16%)
4 stars
179 (30%)
3 stars
215 (36%)
2 stars
72 (12%)
1 star
22 (3%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 158 reviews
Profile Image for Jasmine from How Useful It Is.
1,294 reviews341 followers
June 23, 2020
This book was an excellent read! I like Sophia's dad and his clever subtle ways of allowing his daughter to do things that others don't like for their daughters to do. I enjoyed reading this mystery because it was full of actions. Also the ending was a good one because I couldn't guess who the killer was. I like that the killer's role in the story was not a minor one where the author mentioned of and then left in the back burner to just later do a tell-all. Now shifting through my mind after the read, I should have been able to catch who the killer was.

This book started with a guy waiting for the right time to take action. Then as he made his move, he thought he was being followed and he ran for it but tripped and fall with someone standing over him as he died. Then the story began in 1834, following Sophia, 18 as she read a letter from her cousin Daphne. Daphne's brother Andrew has been killed a year ago and the crime remained unsolved. Daphne wanted Sophia to investigate. The second view was Jeremy, 20, a Runner (investigator trainee). He's assigned to solve Andrew's murder. Back in the day, ladies busy themselves with ladies activities so it was frowned upon for Sophia to want to become an Investigator.

Deadly Curious was well written and a fast paced read with likable characters. I enjoyed the slow burning romance and it was very innocent throughout the book. I liked reading historical fiction for their sophisticated conversations. I don't grow up talking like that but I loved reading their well mannered speech. I like Sophia and her determination to reach her goals. Overall, a good mystery and I recommend everyone to read it.

xoxo, Jasmine at www.howusefulitis.wordpress.com for more details

Many thanks to Fierce Reads for the opportunity to read and review.
Profile Image for Marly DiFruscio.
41 reviews2 followers
June 10, 2020
I received an ARC of this title from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Tl;dr – Feminine figurehead Sophia presents determination and drive but lacks in complexity of character. Jeremy feels like a cardboard cutout of the “ideal boy next door” with no true personality. The romance is fluff, the plot is watered-down, and the mystery can be quickly solved by the reader. 2/5 stars.

I was disappointed after finishing this book—and even then, I had a hard time finishing. I initially picked up on this ARC based on the cover alone (I have to say, I’m a sucker for pretty books). Once I read the description, I was really looking forward to a murder-mystery, potentially Sherlock-type piece, but with a strong female character to lead the way. I was desperately wrong. Instead, I was treated to a watered-down Nancy Drew and a plot that didn’t really go anywhere.

Summary: Sophia is contacted by her rather dramatic cousin Daphne after Daphne’s brother was murdered. Sophia, deadest on being a detective, rushes to her aid in order to prove herself. She is joined by a Bow Street Runner named Jeremy who is on the cusp of being ousted, and romance blossoms. The three need to solve a murder before anyone else is harmed.

To start, Sophia is a weird juxtaposition. She has the drive and determination to get what she wants, which presents the strong female figurehead you want to see in novels like this. She gives off that Nancy Drew aura, but unfortunately, isn’t as amazing as the renowned female detective. Instead, Sophia is convinced she can be Bow Street Runner after reading a single book on being a detective. That logic alone is so flawed and juvenile, that it soured a great deal of the book for me. Overall, she’s naïve and I wouldn’t flag her as the next great female detective. It doesn’t help that I was able to flag the killer before she did.

If we move on to look at Jeremy… it doesn’t really get much better. He’s handsome (and we are reminded regularly). From the very beginning, when Sophia’s thoughts lingered on his eyes, I immediately knew the relationship would be shallow. I wasn’t disappointed by my predetermination. Their relationship felt simple and vapid.

In summation, the characters are flat and lack any kind of legitimate complexity. I typically teach lessons in young adult or middle-grade works that focus on character development. If anything, I would use this story as an example of how NOT to develop your characters. Sophia provides a very basic view of a strong female who won’t be pushed around, but there are better female protags out there to read about. The plot was also lackluster and dissatisfying, with a neatly laid out mystery that was obvious for the reader but somehow impossible for our detectives to solve. This novel would be great for younger readers who are working their way through literacy levels in the middle-grade area. I’d recommend this to younger female students over male students and would promote it for leisure reading rather than something of substance.
Profile Image for Patricia.
524 reviews100 followers
June 23, 2020
I did so enjoy reading DEADLY CURIOUS which is a Young Adult novel. Being so readable was very nice and I believe Young Adults will really enjoy this novel. The ending was unexpected and took me by surprise!
Profile Image for Pamela.
136 reviews1 follower
April 13, 2020
One might have forgiven the egregious anachronisms if the mystery had been more, well, mysterious.
Profile Image for AziaMinor.
433 reviews54 followers
December 27, 2020
Overall Rating : C+

"To know why is to know who...or, at least, to have a better idea of who."

Damn this for being so cute and fluffy at the end! If this was just a regency love novel I would've given this a higher rating. But there was a mystery to solve, and the book suffered for it.

The fact that Jeremy and Sophia didn't have a clue about anything made me wonder if they are really up to being Bow Street Runners at all! Random things happening, too many coincidences to be real, and, let's be honest, the culprits were pretty obvious.

The love interest actually made up for the subpar plot, which surprises me, considering that isn't my choice of genre. Sophia and Jeremy had a connection I adored, and the way everyone, including her father, supporting gave me all kinds of flutters!

If you're wanting to step into mystery books that aren't really all that important but still crave that romance, this is it.
Profile Image for Kelsea Yu.
Author 7 books121 followers
September 15, 2022
Mystery with a light-hearted tone. Felt cozy mystery-ish to me, though I'm not super familiar with the sub-genre, so I can't say whether or not it checks all the boxes for more experienced cozy mystery readers. Has a fun Agatha Christie vibe.

Thank you Fierce Reads for providing a free advanced copy of the book.
Profile Image for Online Eccentric Librarian.
2,906 reviews5 followers
April 1, 2020
More reviews at the Online Eccentric Librarian http://surrealtalvi.wordpress.com/

More reviews (and no fluff) on the blog http://surrealtalvi.wordpress.com/

This was a hard one to really get into. The characters were all superficially drawn, each very naive and rather boring. Our main character, Sophia, seems to think that she can be a detective after reading one book. The male main character spends most of the book bemused. Sophia's cousin Daphne (and nearly every other character) is more caricature than nuanced person. The mystery is banal, solved by accident rather than clues, and fairly obvious from the beginning.

Story: Sophia travels to her help her cousin Daphne after Daphne's brother was murdered. The family is grieving, bow street only sees fit to send a runner a year later, and Daphne feels she is now being targeted. With the help of Bow Street Runner Jeremy, the three will attempt to solve the mystery of cousin Andrew's death - hopefully before more bodies begin to pile up.

The big problem I had with this book is that it is very inert. The characters are flighty and silly, unrealistic, and lacking in strength and sense. If anything, it is the anti-Austen novel - fluffy, silly, and shallow. Our heroine Sophia has the logic of a six year old and believes she can become a detective after reading a book on the subject. And so she inveigles herself in the investigation into the death of her cousin and people don't seem to have a problem humoring her. Because, yes, she's pretty. And the runner Jeremy of course is very handsome (if simple). There's not a lot to chew on here and the banal mystery does nothing to uplift the cardboard nature of the characterization.

The writing was also problematic at times - it felt like there were a lot of logic holes. Perhaps because I did not have the final draft, there were inconsistencies in how long ago Andrew had died and logic in the investigation considering how long ago events happened. I'm not sure if the book was rewritten or not but there were several instances where one scene did not segue clearly to another or had a gaping logic/plot hole. Overall, there was a lack of coherence that affected all areas of the story, from plot to characterization.

I had a hard time finishing this book. It was so bland and I didn't like any of the rather charmless characters within. The mystery was obvious and could easily have been solved by our hero/heroine being a bit smarter in the beginning, which was frustrating as a reader. It's a chaste book so I imagine appropriate for younger audiences. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.
Profile Image for Nicole.
391 reviews22 followers
April 11, 2020
I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

So, I honestly asked to read this book because I thought two things:
1) The cover looks pretty!
2) The description makes this sound really cool.

Lies. So many lies. Well. Not about the cover. It is pretty.

Sophia, our fetching protagonist, has read one (1) book on being a detective and has now decided, since she is a spinster at 18 (20? I can't remember and I don't give any fucks.) that she's going to be a detective. And that she knows everything about detecting and will be the best detector who ever detected. No, I am not kidding you, that's the entire premise of the book. Sophia's cousin, Daphne, who is a walking flat character if I've ever read one, writes to Sophia, begging her to come visit and solve her brother's murder. Which Sophia does, while falling in love with the young Bow Street Runner, Jeremy who was sent to solve the case (oh, and just to add some drama, if he fails at solving the case, then he's fired from the Runners).

To be honest with you, dear readers, I wouldn't have been nearly as frustrated by this plot if the characters had any depth. They were all as flat as a board and could have been replaced by paper dolls. I've read these tropes before (hell, I love these tropes), and they do work. But I love the tropes when the author sells it; this author doesn't. This arc was riddled with typos and ridiculously worded sentences. Honestly, I don't think Anstey was that into this book either. The whole thing just felt half-assed to me.
Profile Image for Natalie.
2,445 reviews52 followers
March 21, 2021
It took me almost 2 weeks to read a not even 300 page book. TWO WEEKS.

So many anachronisms, and the two main characters were unbelievably BAD at crime solving.
Profile Image for Shelley.
5,158 reviews458 followers
June 22, 2020
*Source* Publisher
*Genre* Historical / Mystery / Fiction
*Rating* 3.5


Cindy Anstey's Deadly Curious is a twisty tale reminiscent of Jane Austen and with a dash of murder, is perfect for fans of Kerri Maniscalco and Agatha Christie. This historical mystery novel is set in the year 1834. 18-year-old Sophia Thompson aspires to be an investigator for the *Bow Street Runners which truly did exist but was disbanded in 1839 in favor of the Metropolitan Police.* She's read about murder investigations, but women were not allowed to be police in 1834.

*Full Review @ Gizmos Reviews*

Profile Image for Farha Mohammed.
29 reviews6 followers
January 27, 2020
Women giving the middle finger to the patriarchy and hanging out at murder scenes is my new jam. YES PLEASE.
Profile Image for ayoo.
8 reviews
December 8, 2020
DNF at 60 pages. How you make your main character annoying in less then 8 pages? Talent.
Profile Image for D. B. Guin.
825 reviews70 followers
March 10, 2020
Big meh.

Tragically, my renowned ability to not notice things is still at work. If I had realized this was by the same person as Suitors and Sabotage, I would have known better than to read it, but here we are yet again.

First of all, the characters. Sophia is an eighteen-year-old girl determined to make police work her career and join the detectives of the Bow Street Runners. (Which are, to my surprise, a real thing!) She's fine, as a main character, and I appreciate her refusal to be pushed aside. But often, she does come off as very naive and not terribly brilliant. Her desire to join the Runners sounds more like a child's desire to be an astronaut, half the time, than anything really feasible.

The romance wasn't amazing either. Sofia and Jeremy came rapidly to care for each other before I was able to care for either of them. Really, though, these things aren't vital. The PLOT is what's important, and a murder mystery with an interesting and satisfying puzzle can be forgiven lackluster characters and connection. Unfortunately, that is not the case here.

I called that it was Again, not terrible. What's interesting is the motive and how the detectives unravel it all. Unfortunately, Jeremy and Sophia fail to unravel anything. From the moment

Strangely, days later, they are still waffling around seemingly no closer to figuring out anything. The case ended up never being solved at all. No one ever put the pieces together. Instead, the killer just kept dropping body after body in an almost Criminal Minds-esque frenzy, and the mystery unraveled itself

Sheer dumb luck is a cheap, unsatisfying conclusion to a murder mystery. If the murderer hadn't continued to escalate, they may never have solved the case, judging by the glacially slow way they were moving. This book is a mediocre read, neither particularly offensive nor particularly praiseworthy, and I expect within a month I'll have forgotten that I ever read it.
Profile Image for Annette.
2,602 reviews117 followers
September 14, 2020
It's kinda weird. I used to be scared of everything, but more and more I notice that the things I can handle are slowly changing. Maybe it's because I'm living the books I read differently. Maybe it's simply because I'm older and survived a hundred percent of my days so far. However, this book intrigued me from the moment I saw it, so a few weeks ago I had to include it in my August book haul. And since it's not too big, I picked it up quite soon.

Let me start with saying that the book is not really special. Nothing about it really stands out. But, also not in a negative way. It's just a very decent book. It's kind of exactly what you might expect based on the blurb and all the reviews you find here. It's just an enjoyable and entertaining read. I had to get used to the flowery descriptions at first, but once I got into the flow of the writing the book read easily and quite fast too.

The plot is actually quite simple. On the one hand we have the love story and on the other hand we have the mystery. Although the mystery moves quite slowly and it takes a lot of time to get all the clues and information, it becomes quite soon quite clear in which direction it will develop. However, I personally didn't have a problem with the fact that I could puzzle things together, while the characters needed a little longer. Most of the clues were in the writing, not in actions and conversations.

The characters, and therefore the romance, is just like the rest of the book. I got the impression that the story was inspired by Stalking Jack the Ripper, although the characters never reach the same level. They are just not unique enough to stand out like that. However, they didn't annoy me either and although there was some instant physical attraction I liked that it took quite some time before both characters were ready to admit how they truly felt.

An enjoyable, although not very memorable, read!
Profile Image for Emily.
91 reviews
December 12, 2022
*3.5 stars

This was an enjoyable, cozy little historical mystery! I loved following Sophia and Jeremy’s story as they worked to solve the mystery at hand, and their blossoming romance definitely made this even more fun to read. The mystery factor was lacking for me, hence the rating I gave the story, since we could go multiple chapters with not much progress being made in way of solving the mystery. That said, the ending was action-packed and exciting, and the romance made it all worth it.
Profile Image for Jules.
102 reviews10 followers
June 18, 2022
4/5 🌟
i really liked this book! the characters were interesting and enticing, the storyline was well written and the romance was everything i wanted it to be.

the only thing i was disappointed with is i suspected the killer from the beginning. from the first line they said, i knew they were sus 😂 but i usually can guess the killer in books pretty quickly so i wasn’t surprised.
Profile Image for Erin Arkin.
1,662 reviews356 followers
June 26, 2020
Deadly Curious is a book I've had my eye on for a while. I have loved every book I've read by Cindy Anstey and this one is no different. Not only does she do a great job with the YA historical genre but with the added mystery, this book had me turning the pages to find out the real story.

This book opens with a murder and picks up from there. Sophia Thompson wants to be a bow street runner but a woman has never joined their ranks yet. Despite that, and the fact that her mother doesn't support her doing anything that will reflect poorly on the family, Sophia is determined. When she receives a letter from her cousin Daphne begging her to look into the murder of her brother, she knows she has to go so Sophia talks her father into going for a visit and that's when things start to pick up.

When Sophia arrives, it is clear there is something more going on surrounding her cousin Andrew's death and now Daphne is worried that she is being targeted. When her uncle finally gets the support of the Bow Street Runners, it's with a young, new policeman and her uncle isn't impressed.

I love how the relationship between Sophia and Jeremy progresses. Not only do they bounce ideas off of each other but they begin to see how they balance each other's strengths and weaknesses. Sometimes Sophia comes off as a bit thoughtless and makes some questionable decisions. Despite that, she is smart...she just doesn't make the smartest choices.

The mystery itself was solid. I think the motivation behind the murder made the mystery more interesting than the who done it portion but that's just my opinion. Overall, I enjoyed this book and if you haven't read any of Anstey's books, you should definitely go check out her backlist now. I enjoy them and will continue to buy her books.

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for the early copy in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for EP.
302 reviews15 followers
May 24, 2020
Unfortunately, Deadly Curious did not leave me curious about the murder or investigation, nor dying to finish the book. It wasn’t poorly written, but the characters were too flat or inconsistent, the plot contrived and simplistic.

Sophia fluctuated between being somewhat intelligent and silly, following appropriate customs and flouting them. It was all very naive - the idea that she could become a Runner just because she read one book and because she wasn’t marriage material. (Seemed very convenient that she didn’t want to get married after she was convinced she wouldn’t be able to.)

I’d say a younger audience may be able to overlook the silliness and fluff, and enjoy the simplicity. If you’re looking for a clever, witty heroine, with an interesting plot, this probably isn’t it.

Netgalley provided an advanced reader copy of this book.
Profile Image for Emelie.
321 reviews36 followers
June 17, 2020
DNF at 34%
Deadly Curious had me so excited! The description gave me Stalking Jack the RIpper and A Study in Charlotte vibes, but the execution fell so flat. I couldn't stand the main character, Sophie, who is so naive that she thinks she can solve and complex murder mystery after reading a book about solving crime. Also the mystery felt like it had no stakes, and I was not invested whatsoever. If I had connected with any of the characters or found the plot intriguing I would have continued, but everything (including the writing) felt basic. Even the love interest felt like the bare minimum portrayal of "the boy next door."
Profile Image for The Phantasm.
13 reviews9 followers
March 20, 2021
If you have never heard of crime, and you don't know what it is, and you need it repeatedly explained to you, and you need big red circles drawn around all the clues to help you, then this book is for you.

If, however, you are of reasonable intelligence, do not need a kindergarten teacher's condescension to help you understand plot, and know anything at all about the 1800s, I would recommend... anything else.
Profile Image for Faith Noelle.
117 reviews3 followers
November 4, 2021
This book was okay. It's a historical mystery, and I liked the mix of genres. I don't read a lot of historical fiction, though I like things I have read, but I think the style of writing felt a little too 1800s for me, in the sense that for my tastes it felt overly wordy and descriptive. I found the general premise interesting and liked following Sophia as a protagonist, a woman who wants to become a female detective in a male-dominated field. I think it was the mystery that fell a little short for me, because I didn't feel very invested. The story is about Sophia trying to solve her cousin's murder, but there wasn't anything in the story that made me care about the victim enough to care why he was murdered, other than the fact that it was an unsolved mystery. Readers never learn too much about him. Other victims turn up in the story, but most of them I don't care about either. Maybe I read too many thrillers, but the stakes didn't feel high enough for me, none of the characters pulled me in, and when it comes to mysteries, I like to try to make guesses throughout the novel as to who did it, but there aren't even enough hints throughout the novel for me to make an honest guess for most of it. The plot is believable and the reveal a little interesting, so if you're looking for a simple detective story, it's not a bad one. It just wasn't a favorite for me. 2.5 stars
Profile Image for Libby Ames.
1,449 reviews41 followers
August 28, 2020
Sophia Thompson wants to be the first female Bow Street Runner. So, when her cousin Daphne requests help finding out who killed her brother, Sophia feels the situation will be a perfect chance to practice her detective skills. However, as Sophia works to solve the mystery, she finds danger and other obstacles along the way.

This lighthearted mystery set in the Regency period is a fun read for characterization and entertainment, but not if you want a mind bending puzzle. The characters and story are engaging, but the mystery isn’t very deep. I enjoyed the read even though there isn’t a lot of depth.
Profile Image for Njkinny (Njkinny's Blog).
749 reviews177 followers
June 23, 2020
Deadly Curious by Cindy Anstey is a book more suited to young readers. It is light, easily solved and while entertaining still a long way from being a mystery for the fans of Agatha Christie as it says in the blurb. This was my first historical YA mystery and I enjoyed reading it. I give it 4 out of 5 stars because despite the areas of improvement, it still is an enjoyable one time read. Njkinny recommends this book to young lovers of mystery and people looking for light mystery books.

Read the complete Review on Njkinny's Blog: https://www.njkinnysblog.com/2020/06/...
Profile Image for Brenda Daae Destler.
89 reviews1 follower
June 3, 2022
Where do I even begin on this book? I don’t think it was quite as good as The Hummingbird Dagger, but the ending definitely made it a solid 4 stars for me! Anstey really knew how to wrap up a book and put a nice little bow on it, and I’m so sad that she passed away and we won’t be getting more content from her. I loved the mystery in this book and the romance as well! The whole thing was just such a fun read, and I would definitely recommend it!
Profile Image for Samantha Hastings.
Author 34 books198 followers
July 22, 2020
It’s an elegant mystery with a dash of Regency romance.

Sophia Thompson wishes to become a Bow Street Runner and thinks if she solves the murder of her cousin they’ll hire her. Meanwhile, the runners have sent their own man to solve the murder, Mr. Jeremy Fraser. Together they work on this cold case until it gets hot again—more murders and more suspects.
Profile Image for Alyson Kent.
Author 5 books29 followers
May 26, 2020
What a pleasant surprise to find I won an ARC of this. Thanks, goodreads and Swoon Reads! I found this novel enjoyable, though but had figured out The Who Dun It early on. It didn’t take away from enjoying the characters and the setting. 3.5 rounded up because it was also a swift read.
Profile Image for Angelina.
760 reviews3 followers
October 24, 2020
While Cindy Anstey is a master at characterization, this book felt like a Regency romance masquerading as a mystery.
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