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Caught in Time by Julie McElwain is the third novel in the Kendra Donovan historical mystery series with a time-travel element.
I first started reading this series because it was advertised as a time-travel mystery. I love both time travel and murder mysteries, so I was pretty sure I would be in for a wild ride.
The first book, A Murder in Time, was indeed a time-travel story. Kendra Donovan, an FBI agent, while pursuing a villain, jumps through a wormhole that takes her to 1815 to England.
In the first book, it was all about her adjusting to her new life and trying to find a way to go back home.
The second book, A Twist in Time, takes place all in the past as it deals with murder and Kendra solving it.
Now, we’re at the third book, Caught in Time, and Kendra’s adventures in the 19th Century England continue.
This time, Kendra is on the road with her benefactor and guardian, the Duke of Aldridge, heading towards one of his smaller estates. On the road, due to heavy fog, they have to stop in village of East Dingleford where they head to an inn.
While they are there, they learn of the murder of the local mill manager who was found in his office just around the time some Luddites decided to destroy the place. So, obviously, everyone believes it’s the Luddites. Yet, Kendra and the duke take it upon themselves to investigate.
The entire story takes place in East Dingleford with Kendra investigating a series of murders, starting with that of the mill manager. The more she and the duke investigate, the stranger things will become.
Of course, Kendra uses everything she’s once learned during her time as an FBI agent, except for the modern technology, which she doesn’t have access to.
It’s interesting to see how everyone is wary of Kendra and how many don’t want to accept or even acknowledge her as anything more than a woman who should stay in her place.
Still, she manages to find her authority and point at the clues that show the Luddites were not at fault for the murder.
At some point, Alec, the Duke’s nephew and Kendra’s lover also joined the team, along with Sam Kelly, a Bow Street Runner whom we have met in the previous two books as well.
The story is following closely the format of the second book in the Kendra Donovan series. It is not extremely fast-paced, but it does pick up towards the end of the book when Kendra’s own life is in danger.
I have to admit that I didn’t see the final reveal coming. It was quite intriguing and the possibilities were quite scary.
At some point, I really fantasized about Alec going to the 21st Century instead, but those dreams were shattered during the final reveal. So much for that.
I still miss the time-travel element, as without it the series is really a classy historical detective mystery, but nothing more. I seriously hope at some point the author will bring the wormhole once again as the focal point. But even without it, the book – and the entire series – is well-worth reading if you enjoy historical Regency mysteries with a dash of romance (and a lot of sexism, albeit that was part of the historical time).