It’s 2019, and Canadian homicide detective Mallory Atkinson visits Edinburgh to be at the bedside of her dying grandmother. But an evening jog turns horrifying when she’s attacked and blacks out – only to wake up in the body of a nineteenth century housemaid. Even worse, it appears that her trip through time hasn’t made her any safer, as someone seems to be trying to get her attention – through murder.
Kelley Armstrong is a reliably excellent author, writing mysteries that usually carry at least a hint of the paranormal, and a healthy dash of romance. The romance aspect is minimal in A Rip Through Time – though there’s absolutely some very promising potential in a couple of directions. Instead, the focus is on the mystery, and on well-researched historical details; everyday life in the mid-1800s is detailed and accurate, without bogging down a well-paced story. The forensic aspects are fascinating, and allow the Victorian investigators to be forward in their thinking, while staying realistically true to attitudes in the time.
While there’s a lot to like here, the characters are the strongest part of the book, to me. It’s hardly surprising – Kelley Armstrong has a great track record – but it’s still such a delight to spend time with these people. Mallory is kind, intelligent, and able to handle unexpected time travel surprisingly well; she’s easy to root for. Her new Victorian allies are similarly likable, and they all feel like genuine people, ones with lives, cares, and dreams.
While A Rip Through Time wraps up the first mystery very satisfactorily, there’s still plenty of open ends to play with for the next book in the series. I, for one, will absolutely be following the further adventures of this historical series.