Intrigue in Istanbul is the fourth book in Erica Ruth Neubauer’s Jane Wunderly series, featuring an American war widow in the 1920s. Each book has a different setting: the first takes place in Egypt, the second at an English country manor, the third on a transatlantic voyage on the sister ship of the Titanic, and the fourth, obviously, in Istanbul. Neubauer makes great use of the setting in each of her books, and this is no exception. She takes the reader to Istanbul along with Jane, as her intrepid heroine searches for her missing father as well as a legendary relic. This is a tribute to Indiana Jones, but with some significant nods to Agatha Christie.
Danger on the Atlantic is the third novel in Erica Ruth Neubauer’s series set in the 1920s, featuring American war widow Jane Wunderly and the handsome, enigmatic Englishman Redvers, the only man who might change Jane’s mind about remarriage. As readers of the previous two books, Murder at the Mena House and Murder at Wedgefield Manor, will know, Jane was traumatized by her abusive first marriage and still has scars on her back. She was relieved when her husband was killed in World War I. For years she has refused to consider the thought of another marriage. Then she met Redvers while working on a case in Egypt in the first book of the series, and their relationship has developed steadily through the next two books. She cannot deny her attraction to Redvers, but she is still fearful about marriage, even though she knows he is nothing like her first husband.
Murder at Wedgefield Manor is the delightful second book in Erica Ruth Neubauer’s series set in the 1920s, featuring the adventurous American World War I widow Jane Wunderly. After solving a mystery in Egypt in the first book, Murder at the Mena House, Jane, her matchmaking Aunt Millie, and Millie’s secret daughter Lillian arrive at Wedgefield Manor, the English country estate of Lord Hughes, who had been Millie’s lover years ago. Quite possibly, Millie and Hughes are rekindling their romance. Lillian is the product of their brief affair. Lord Hughes and his wife had adopted Lillian and raised her as their own, and as far as Jane knows, Lillian is not aware of the fact that Millie is her mother–a fact that Jane had uncovered in the course of her investigation in Egypt, where she met Lillian for the first time.
Erica Ruth Neubauer’s debut novel is lots of fun, much in the vein of Kerry Greenwood’s delightful Phryne Fisher books. It’s 1926 and Jane Wunderly is on vacation with her slightly prickly Aunt Millie, from her dead husband’s side of the family. Aunt Millie has selected the exclusive Mena House in Cairo for their trip, a place nearly at the foot of the Great Pyramids. (It’s also the spot where Agatha Christie wrote Death on the Nile).
While this novel is steeped in all things Egyptian – camel races, pyramids, the sphinx, stolen and found artifacts, along with a visit to the museum – it is not about an archeologist or archaeology. I thought this was an interesting choice given the time and place, but a sensible one. It allowed Neubauer to tell a full on traditional golden age style detective story.