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Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder

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3.64  ·  Rating details ·  279 ratings  ·  121 reviews
The letter was short. A name, a time, a place.

Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder plunges readers into the heart of London, to the secret tunnels that exist far beneath the city streets. There, a mysterious group of detectives recruited for Miss Brickett’s Investigations & Inquiries use their cunning and gadgets to solve crimes that have stumped Scotland Yard.

Late one nigh
...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published December 29th 2020 by Park Row
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Average rating 3.64  · 
Rating details
 ·  279 ratings  ·  121 reviews


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DJ Sakata
Favorite Quote:

But that was the thing about death, as Marion knew so well. No matter how much the deceased were loved, life does not wait for the grieving. Though on the inside everything will change and what used to matter falls away, the routine and ordinary remain unchallenged.


My Review:

This is not my typical genre and I struggled a bit with the unfamiliar world-building, complex storylines, and vast cast of uniquely drawn and unorthodox characters, but my curiosity was well and truly poked a
...more
Linden
It's 1958, and 23 year old Marion, who lives with her abrasive grandmother in London, is invited to apply for a job at a small bookstore. It turns out that this is a cover for a group called the Inquirers, mysterious detectives who operate beneath the city of London. When her friend is arrested for murder, Marion is determined to find the answers, even risking both her job and her life. This book is described as appealing to fans of the Harry Potter universe. It had some fantasy elements, but I ...more
Jennifer
Dec 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thoughts to come...
Amanda McGill
Dec 29, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2020, netgallery
Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder reminded me so much of Harry Potter and it brought back so many amazing memories. Marion is an intern learning about the secret world of detectives in underground London. The gadgets reminded me of the spells in Harry Potter and the tunnels in the underground felt like the many passageways in Hogwarts.

Unfortunately that is where the similarities ended. JK Rowling created a magical world where you remember traits about every single character, regardless how mi
...more
Sarah Penner
Nov 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is so delightfully fun & escapist! An underground investigative organization...clocks and keys and hidden rooms...a secret map...alchemy and old war secrets...there is so much to love here! Brava to Willberg for a brilliant, adventuresome debut.
tomisin ✨
2/5 stars ⭐️⭐️

It's like Harry Potter but without the flavor.

It started out pretty great and was super engaging, but that fell apart pretty quickly. The whole mystery was pretty bland and uninspired to me, honestly.
...more
Ks.
Sep 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wow. Just wow. I often say that I "couldn't put the book down," but this time I literally could not put it down! All that I remember from the last two days is sleeping and reading this book! I absolutely adored this steampunk-ish, alternative history mystery.


The plot of the novel revolves around a super-secret organization of sleuths, who live in the tunnels (!) under the 1950s London, while pretending to work at a bookstore. There they invent all kinds of cool gadgets and investigate whatever c
...more
Michelle
3.5 stars
Review to come.
Sarah-Hope
Nov 20, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: edelweissplus, 2020
This book was very engaging at the beginning—an alternate, post-WWII London with an unofficial "investigative" force that emerged out of the Bletchley Park code-breaking program and that is housed in tunnels under the city. Unfortunately, for this reader at least, the engagement didn't last. The title never seemed to decide what it wanted to be: mystery, alternate history, horror novel. And, yes, those can be successfully combined, but that wasn't the case here. ...more
Kidlitter
Mar 31, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The perfect read for a rainy day, set in foggy, smoggy, dirty old post war London town. It's 1958 and Marion Lane loves her detective apprenticeship with the mysterious agency Miss Brickett's Investigations & Inquiries. She may be young, orphaned, and a bit timid, but she's determined to become an Inquirer. When a filing clerk in the agency is horribly murdered and the entire agency is threatened by dangers without or within, Marion must rise to the challenge of solving whodunnit. Her investigat ...more
Wildrie Du Plessis
Suspence and mystery with James Bond style gadgets. Kept me intrigued to the end!
Connie
Jun 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The suspense in the secret tunnels of London took me right into Marion’s world! A very ingenious plot written wonderfully twisty.
Luanne Ollivier
Dec 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
I loved the description of Willberg's debut novel! What's not to love - a hidden detective agency below the streets of London, wondrous, magical gadgets to aid in investigations, a spunky female apprentice - and that last descriptor - Agatha-Christie-style-locked-room murder mystery.

Initially on starting to read, I thought of Platform 9 ¾. And our lead protagonist reminded me a bit of Nancy Drew. That should give you an idea about the feel of Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder. I just knew I wa
...more
Darla
Nov 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This debut feels a little bit Harry Potter, a little James Bond, and includes a whodunit that is tailor-made for Christie fans. A secret agency operates underground and independent from the London police force. When a murder occurs, the list of suspects is limited to those with access to the tunnels. There is a killer in their midst. Marion is an Apprentice and when family friend Frank is framed, she must act to defy direct orders and save him from banishment. A camaraderie is developing among t ...more
Renee
Sep 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020-netgalley
It is 1958 in London, and Marion Lane who thought she would never be happy is working at her dream job. Marion's father died when she was three, her mother is now deceased, and she lives with her grandmother Delores. Finding Marion a suitable husband is her grandmother's mission and she has little interest in what Marion wants.
Delores and most people believe Marion works at Miss Brickett’s Secondhand Books and Curiosities. This is in fact a cover for her real work as an apprentice investigator a
...more
Janet Martin
Jul 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An alternate 1953--or is it? Twenty-something Marion Lane, a lowly bookstore employee, is secretly an apprentice in a very special and clandestine detective agency. Things happen. People die. People have disappeared. In order to save an old family friend who is being blamed for a murder, Marion finds herself exploring the tunnels below London to solve the current mystery, and a batch of old ones. This charming story moves right along at a good clip with both suspense and plenty of action. I coul ...more
Annette
Sep 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-read-2020
This was a strange twisty type of book. A little James Bondish and a little Agatha Christie type mystery. It also has a steampunk feel to it. It all seemed a bit cloudy at first but then the smoke cleared away and a neat little mystery appears. I enjoyed the story
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the early copy
Kathy Martin
Nov 18, 2020 rated it liked it
What a gray and dreary story! The setting is London in 1958. The main character is Marion Lane. She worked for an auto repair shop and learned a lot about mechanics until a lack of business forced it to close. Now her grandmother, who moved in after her mother's suicide, is trying to pressure Marion to marry. She even goes so far as to sell her home out from under her.

Marion's mentor Frank who was a friend of her late mother's finds her a job with Miss Brickett's Investigations & Inquiry where
...more
Elliot A
Jan 04, 2021 rated it did not like it
Thank you to the publisher, Park Row, for providing me with an ARC of Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

The Gist

I have wasted almost an hour trying to write this review. During that time, I have cleaned the kitchen, made myself a tea, ate chips, moisturized my hands three times and watched 22:39 minutes of an episode of Grey’s Anatomy.

The thing is, I don’t want to sound mean. I am not a mean person. This is not going to be a positive r
...more
Shomeret
Dec 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
I agreed to review Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder because it features underground tunnels underneath the city of London. I've been fascinated with urban underground existence ever since I first watched the Beauty & The Beast TV series starring Ron Perlman as the Beast and Linda Hamilton as the Beauty . In that series New York City had an underground secret society beneath its streets.

An underground agency employee named Frank was suspected of murder by the investigative agency. Agency app
...more
WeLoveBigBooksAndWeCannotLie
Dec 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An underground secret society of detectives? Count me in! What a great concept! Thank you so much @parkrowbooks for gifting us a copy of Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder by T.A. Willberg!!!

Marion is an apprentice on her way to becoming a full detective. These detectives solve cases that the police either can’t solve or don’t have time to solve. A lot of mystery surrounds the agency and they go to great lengths to keep it that way.
One night, one of their own is murdered...within the walls of t
...more
Lacey
Dec 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2020
A bright eyed and bushy tailed Marion Lane works for a secret detective organization in 1950s London. ”Miss Brickett’s Investigations & Inquiries” has it’s headquarters below an old bookshop located in the miles of hidden tunnels below the city. But when a murder takes place inside the organization, the detectives realize it was one of their own who committed the crime. Marion knows that her accused friend isn’t capable of murder and takes it upon herself to solve the case putting herself in imm ...more
Geonn Cannon
Dec 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Last book of 2020! I don't love the cover - it's a bit too cozy for what the book turns out to be - but the story itself is really enjoyable. How could I not love a book about a secret cadre of investigators working in hidden tunnels below London? I wish there had been more focus on some of their cases rather than a more in-house mystery (the Scorch case seemed particularly interesting but never really goes anywhere. Maybe in a sequel?) but for a first novel it had to do some worldbuilding and s ...more
Ann
Jun 30, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Marion Lane is an apprentice operator of an underground crime solving organization set in London in the 50's. They work in a series of tunnels solving Scotland Yard's unsolved cases. A murder of an agent in the tunnel has Marion saving her friend and mentor who is being framed for the killing. I hope this is book 1 in a series. A good cozy to solve with lots of interesting characters and a unique premise. I received a copy of this ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review. ...more
Alix
Jan 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I absolutely LOVED Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder. What a great way to start off 2021. This reminded me of a steampunk Harry Potter mixed with murder, underground labyrinths, cool gadgets, and alchemical secrets. There was a lot going on in this book but it all worked together seamlessly. I love the idea of an underground detective agency and I sincerely hope there’s a sequel where we can see Marion in action again.
Melinda Beatty
Dec 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
A fun, twisty mystery in an alternate 1950’s with a plucky, mechanically minded female protagonist.
Sheryle
Sep 20, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
This book introduces us to Marion Lane, a first year apprentice at an underground detective agency in 1958 London; located, literally, underground. The agency is organized like the Ministry of Magic from the world of Harry Potter, and James Bond’s Q would feel at home in the Gadgetry Department. It’s all very clever and a bit cute and cozy

And that’s the problem. This was almost a cozy mystery. I was expecting something more hardcore and dramatic. It also seemed like more time was spent in intro
...more
Diane
Dec 09, 2020 rated it it was ok
1.5 stars Interesting concept: a school for private investigators based underground in 1958 London with imagery and devices reminiscent of Harry Potter. For me however the multiple characters and the resolution of the mystery didn't come together. ...more
Chelka Posladek
Dec 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mysterious
I loved the genre mashup in this debut novel. It's part cozy mystery and part locked room mystery with a sprinkling of historical fiction and steampunk. I shy away from modern suspense and thrillers, and also dislike traditional police procedurals. Still, I like a good mystery novel. If you're as picky as I am, you might be taken with Marion Lane. It definitely got me out of my reading slump, and I'm eagerly awaiting Book 2. ...more
Andréa
Note: I received a digital review copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.
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T.A. Willberg grew up on a small-holding in South Africa. At 27, she moved to Malta with her partner and wrote her debut novel, MARION LANE AND THE MIDNIGHT MURDER. Though the novel is set in London, much of the inspiration for the story setting arose from the labyrinthine corridors beneath Malta's ancient capital - Valletta.

T.A. credits her father, a mechanical engineer from Germany, as the infl
...more

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“But that was the thing about death, as Marion knew so well. No matter how much the deceased were loved, life does not wait for the grieving. Though on the inside everything will change and what used matter falls away, the routine and ordinary remain unchallenged.” 0 likes
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