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Michelle Cox Books In Order

Publication Order of Henrietta and Inspector Howard Books

A Girl Like You (2016) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Ring of Truth (2017) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Promise Given (2018) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Veil Removed (2019) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Child Lost (2020) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Michelle Cox is an award-winning American author of mystery, historical fiction, and romance novels. Her Henrietta and Inspector Howard books have won multiple awards. She believes that she may have once lived in the 1930s and because she hasn’t found any time machine, she resolved to write books set in this era as a way of getting herself back in time. Her books have received positive critics from Publisher’s Weekly, Kirkus, Booklist, Library Journal, and many others.

A Girl like You

A Girl Like You is the debut novel in Her Henrietta and Inspector Howard series by Michelle Cox. The novel is set in 1935 Chicago amid the Great Depression, and we meet the beautiful and lively Henrietta Von Harmon. She is the oldest of the eight children and is struggling to solve a crime and save her family. Her father recently committed suicide, and her mother is resentful and distressed about making ends meet. Henrietta undertakes whatever it takes to help make ends meet, working in a dance hall as a taxi girl and at a local tavern. She earns a modest salary, but then the job ends abruptly because her boss, Mama Leone, is killed.

But an opportunity comes knocking when the Inspector working on the case, Inspector Howard, requests Henrietta to apply for a job as an usherette at a local theater, The Marlowe. Inspector Howard needs someone to infiltrate the theater and report back to him on the seedy activities. The pay for this job would see Henrietta earn twice what she was paid as a taxi girl, but it’s far more dangerous. Some of the usherette and dancers have gone missing under mysterious circumstances, and all the employees are afraid of the theater owner, Neptune.

Because Henrietta wants to prove that she’s worthy to the detective and because one of the missing girls is her friend’s sister, she agrees to take the job. Inspector Howard, the charming but instructable man, is tight-lipped about his personal life. In his thirties, Henrietta is afraid that the detective couldn’t be possibly interested in her the way she’s attracted to him unless she surprises him with her unique amateur detective skills.

It’s an uphill task given Henrietta’s innocence. She witnesses things at the theater that make her jaw drop. The usherettes are intimate with one another, and some of the dancers perform seductive choreography in sparse costume, though none of these scenes are graphic. Henrietta is a fast learner, and she presents herself as more assured than she feels. There’s a strong comradeship amongst the usherettes, beautiful women who look out for each other and are also trying to investigate and piece together the puzzle of the missing girls. They caution our main character about the green door; each strongly believes that there are some seedy goings-on that connects to the disappearances. Determined to solve the case and impress Detective Howard, Henrietta is willing to put herself in a dangerous situation.

There’s so much to admire and love about Michelle Cox’s romantic mystery novel. Readers will be sent back in time to the streets of Chicago in the 1930s. The author conveys people, the neighborhoods, and everything else convincingly. She is equally accomplished with her depiction of a large family living in compact conditions; Henrietta is forced to assume a mother’s responsibility to her siblings because their mother is emotionally absent. Even if the mystery aspect of the novel didn’t unfold, A Girl like You would be a satisfying novel because of the rich historical details and fascinating characterization of the very companionable heroine. The embedded mystery is what takes the novel to another level, an accomplishment of the successful blending of genres.

A Ring of Truth

What happened after Henrietta put a let in her pocket and decided that she was aware of what to be done next? Then it dawns to you that, A Ring of Truth is the second novel in Henrietta and Inspector Howard series set in Chicago in the mid-1930s featuring the charming Henrietta and her cute and wealthy fiancé Inspector Clive Howard. We’ve been so caught up following the romantic love story of the two, who’ve just had a wonderful engagement party and have already set their wedding date for a couple of months away, that we have forgotten that A Ring of Truth is the second in a series that all started with A Girl Like You. This is so clever of the author to hook her readers in a series that transports them back in time to streets of Chicago amid the great depression.
A Ring of Truth is a quaint and intriguing story which follows Inspector Clive and Henrietta on the love journey. Henrietta is from a low-income family, and she has no clue about her family’s noble root and at the same time doesn’t quite know anything about the background of the man she’s dating. Arriving at his castle-like home is a daunting and a shocking surprise. But because of her humble upbringing, she is uncomfortable with the new life she’s about to begin and instead spends her time associating with the servants. She is fascinated by their everyday lives and soon finds herself entangled in a mystery strong enough to ruin her new life.

While the main focus in the second book in the series is the love story of Clive and Henrietta, which is a great reminder of the classics My Fair Lady and Pretty Woman or Pride and Prejudice, it comes with an evil subplot involving violence against women, criminals, theft, and murder. It’s this subplot which brought the main character together and at the same time leaves Inspector Howard worried of what may befall his fiancé in the months ahead while she and his mother plan their wedding. Simultaneously, the plot leaves the reader anticipating of what would happen next and in the coming books. Her Henrietta and Inspector Howard series will appeal to those who enjoy reading historical fiction, romances, mysteries, and for those who like the three, this is a jackpot.

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