My jaw literally dropped as I was reading Murder in Thrall when DCI Michael Acton of the Scotland Yard proposed to the young Detective Constable who had started to assist him. The lucky girl was Kathleen Doyle who is Irish, not well educated, naïve, very Catholic and orphaned; the perfect target for a predator. It wasn’t the last time my jaw dropped.
The Yard and London had rarely seen such a misalliance in marriage. Acton is a member of the peerage, with wealth, estates and very loyal minions. I loved Murder in Thrall despite probably losing several political correctness points, not to mention tarnishing my feminist creds. It just kept surprising me.
Oh I forgot, Kathleen Doyle is also fey, she can almost always tell when someone is lying, said talent making her an invaluable asset in criminal investigations. Also dead people Doyle once knew visit her in her dreams, usually with unclear but dire warnings.
Doyle is now Lady Acton; she lives in a penthouse apartment with Acton and their young son. To the relief of most of her coworkers a car service drives her to and fro work as she hasn’t quite gotten the hang of driving in London traffic; actually driving at all. Lady Acton now has a butler, nannies and a personal protection officer. Nope, marriage hasn’t changed much in her life.
Doyle is about ten or fifteen months pregnant, or so it seems. She is mostly sidelined at the Met, only assisting other detectives on their cases.
One day DI Thomas Williams asks Doyle to accompany him to a crime scene which bears almost all of the hallmarks of grave yard love, another way of saying “If I can’t have you, ain’t nobody going to have you.” The murder-suicide theory goes out the window when Doyle, Williams and another colleague look closer at the crime scene.
One of the victims has a connection to the secretive Public Accounts investigation which seems to be weighing heavily on Acton. Acton finds himself in the position of finally having things not going exactly to his plan.
Doyle trys to be the moral balance to her husband and guide him away from his worse impulses. Doyle’s Catholicism is very important to her and she has brought Acton into the church. Acton’s main goal in life is to protect Doyle and keep her safe. Doyle’s main goal is to keep Acton safe from his schemes. This means whatever Acton is planning he tries to keep away from Doyle. Never works out for Acton as Doyle usually discovers whatever he is hiding of his activities.
Murder in Immunity and the rest of the series is like a long running TV show with a strong cast of secondary figures. One grows invested in them, one wants to see them, and is unhappy if a favored character is off the pages for a particular book. Murder in Immunity continues the intense love affair between Acton and Doyle and the strong loyalties between them and their friends.
The plot can be very convoluted at times, but I don’t care. Some of the characters can be completely morally skewed. I don’t care. Doyle’s paranormal talent? I don’t care. I have been totally charmed by the entire series, darkness, or not, and I buy the latest book as soon as it drops.
The Acton/Doyle series is a long running morality play with even Doyle finding herself morally compromised a time or two. But it works. It really works.