An Agent for Dixie (The Pinkerton Matchmaker Series. BackLit PR, 2020.)
By Linda Carroll-Bradd
Shy and reserved Dixie Fontaine is a young seamstress. Her older sister Liana is daring and adventurous. When Dixie allows her sister to talk her into applying to be an agent with the Pinkerton detective agency in 1872 Denver, Dixie is sure she won’t make the grade. But she surprises herself – and everyone else – by landing the job.
Dixie’s fate is soon intertwined with that of Alexei Zivon. He’s the son of a Russian diplomat. He’s also a seasoned Pinkerton agent. Used to working alone, Alexei reluctantly agrees to take Dixie on as an agent trainee per company policy. The catch? They have to enter into a “marriage of convenience” to pull off their undercover assignments at a swank health resort where someone has itchy fingers around priceless jewelry.
It takes a while for this story to get going. Close to half the book is taken up with preparations for Dixie and Alexie’s undercover assignment and travel. It’s five chapters(out of nine) before they even arrive at the spa and begin their assignment.
While the characters are adequate, their credibility is shaky. One may wonder about a hot shot Pinkerton agent who makes up plans on the fly and knows nothing about common social conventions of the time, like how long a widow should wear black or a wedding ring. Alexei also seems surprised when Dixie researches her undercover character and role.
This book can’t seem to decide what it wants to be – a detective whodunit or a romance. Attempting to straddle both genres, it’s an awkward fit. The plot is rather pedestrian, with a predictable conclusion. The identity of the jewel thieves is never a major mystery. Additionally, any burning desire to discover who’s filching jewelry from wealthy spa goers is never really kindled. Ho-hum.
Still, middle school readers may enjoy Dixie’s pluck and resourcefulness as well as vivid descriptions of the spa and its surroundings.
If you’re looking for a full course, stick-to-your-ribs kind of literary meal, this isn’t it. If you’re looking hungry for a snack and a clean, entertaining read for a beach trip, grab this book.
Mom and Kimber’s Score: 3.0