Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Sophia Rose Reviews: An Inquiry into Love and Death by Simone St. James

Today Sophia Rose is back reviewing An Inquiry into Love and Death by Simone St. James stop by and see why she gave it a 5 star review.

An Inquiry into Love and Death by Simone St. James

Historical Romantic Suspense

Publisher:  Berkley

Published: 3.5.13

Pages:  368

Rating: 5 stars

Format: Trade Paperback

Source: Bought

Sellers:  Amazon

ADD TO: GoodReads


GoodReads blurb:

After her ghost-hunting uncle Toby dies, Oxford student Jillian must drive to the seaside village of Rothewell to pack up his belongings. Almost immediately, terrifying events convince Jillian that an angry spirit is trying to enter the house. Is it Walking John, the two-hundred-year-old ghost that haunts the bay? And who besides the ghost is roaming the local woods at night? If Toby uncovered something sinister, was his death really an accident? The arrival of handsome Scotland Yard inspector Drew Merriken leaves Jillian with more questions than answers and the added complication of a powerful mutual attraction.


Sophia Rose's Review:

After enjoying three previous books that enveloped me in the realm of the gothic in a taunt atmosphere that had me clutching my cat and blankie for comfort, I was ready to step into the world of a Simone St. James’ story once more for spookiness and romance.


An Inquiry into Love and Death takes place in the early twenties when England is picking herself up after the First World War and women like Jillian daringly invade the hallowed halls of Oxford for degrees.  But, her ordered scholastic world is interrupted when she’s called upon to go identify her estranged uncle’s body and pack up his effects in a small coastal village where he had come for his ghost-hunting work.  The presence of a dashing yet edgy Scotland Yard inspector and some inexplicable elements make her determined to get to the truth about Toby’s death even if it means confronting the supernatural as well as physical danger.


Jillian was a good blend of plucky and unsure as she stepped off the beaten path of her life and confronted some big secrets and a bizarre mystery.  She’s terrified by hair-raising events around Toby’s cottage and the nearby woods and this was written in a way that the reader felt all that same emotion. 

Even though Jillian had the narration, I felt that Drew, the Scotland Yard detective, was also an interesting layered character like Jillian.  He flew a plain in the war and didn’t come back unscathed.  The results of the war haunt this section of the English coast as does the centuries’ old ghost of a smuggler. 

They were attracted, but are on two different paths.  Still, they made a good detecting team and couple even if it couldn’t last for good.

The characters from the village were a good bit of color and felt organic to the setting.

There are two mysteries going on- no, three.  And, they all balanced and wove together nicely.  I worked some of it out, but not all that much before the characters did.  Good rising and falling action with just the right amount of chill factor for a non-fan of horror like me.


All in all, I couldn’t be more satisfied with this older book on the author’s backlist and will definitely be continuing with others.  Those who love atmospheric historicals with ghosts and romance should definitely give this one a whirl.


Author Bio:

Simone St. James is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of THE SUN DOWN MOTEL and THE BROKEN GIRLS.

After years of writing and collecting rejections, Simone’s debut novel, THE HAUNTING OF MADDY CLARE, won two RITA Awards from Romance Writers of America and an Arthur Ellis Award from Crime Writers of Canada. AN INQUIRY INTO LOVE AND DEATH was nominated for another Arthur Ellis Award.

Simone spent twenty years behind the scenes in the television business before leaving to write full-time. She lives just outside Toronto, Canada, with her husband and a spoiled rescue cat. She is addicted to sushi, rainy days, coffee, and My Favorite Murder. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, and Pinterest (though not all at once).



Sophia’s Bio:

Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, piano-playing, and gardening. Road trips and campouts, museums and monuments, restaurants and theaters are her jam. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate.

As a lifelong reader, it was inevitable that Sophia would discover book blogs and the joy of blog reviewing. Sophia is a prolific reader and audiobook listener which allows her to experience so many wonderful books, authors, and narrators. Few genres are outside her reading tastes, but her true love is fiction particularly history, mystery, sci-fi, and romance. Though, sorry, no horror or she will run like Shaggy and Scooby.






  1. Replies
    1. Oh yeah, it had some good thrills and chills, Nadene!

  2. I've enjoyed this author recently but I like the sound of this one better than some of the new ones. Great review Sophia!

    Anne - Books of My Heart

    1. I've got a few more of her older ones before I get caught up and I can't wait. :)

  3. So many mysteries going on. Sounds good.

    1. Yeah, it was interesting to see how the author kept it all from getting confusing and kept up the suspense.

  4. Atmospheric vibes in historicals are always the best! And never can resist a good mystery!

  5. Ohh... Sounds interesting! Glad you are enjoying this backlist.

    1. Oh yeah, each one has been a treat, but I'm taking my time since she doesn't have a huge backlist.