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Rose Donovan Books In Order

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Publication Order of Ruby Dove Mysteries Books

The Mystery of Ruby's Sugar (2017)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Mystery of Ruby's Port (2018)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Mystery of Ruby's Smoke (2018)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Mystery of Ruby's Stiletto (2018)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Mystery of Ruby's Tracks (2018)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Mystery of Ruby's Mistletoe (2018)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Mystery of Ruby's Roulette (2019)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Mystery of Ruby's Mask (2019)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of 1930s Partners in Spying Mystery Books

Death in Velvet (2021)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Art of Murder (2023)Description / Buy at Amazon

Rose Donovan is an American author that writes cozy mystery novels. Rose is best known for the Ruby Dove Mystery series which features a pair of fashion designers who solve mysteries.

Donovan only appeared on the publishing scene in 2017. However, she was writing for many years before that. Donovan’s passion lies in Cozy mysteries. She has spent several years consuming the genre, though it was only in the late 2010s that she took a leap of faith and published her first cozy mystery novel.

When the author did write in previous years, it was to produce nonfiction. To be more specific, Donovan wrote articles. Even in those days, she had a knack for tackling politics and injustice in society.

So it probably came as little surprise to her fans when she brought those same sensibilities to the Ruby Dove Mystery series. The Ruby Dove Mystery books, for which is primarily known, are categorized as historical fiction.

Her first book, ‘The Mystery of Ruby’s Sugar’, is set in 1934. It introduces readers to Dove and Fina, a pair of dress designers from Oxford whose lives take an interesting turn when they are hired by Lady Charlotte.

The women are initially brought on board to accomplish strictly sartorial tasks. But when a death occurs, Dove and Fina realize that it is within their power to find the culprit and bring them to justice.

Rose Donovan spends the rest of the series delving into Dove and Fina’s adventures as they traverse the British Empire, righting wrongs and honing their sewing skills. Donovan’s writing style places a lot of emphasis on her settings.

She endeavors to explore the minutiae of the culture, society norms and fashion of the times. But Donovan never allows the mysteries to suffer, throwing a spotlight on the unique sleuthing capabilities of Dove, not to mention the elements that drive her character to seek out justice with so much fervor.

The stories that Donovan writes are typically quite simple and straightforward.

+The Mystery of Ruby’s Sugar
Ruby Dove and Fina Aubrey are dress designers. Their skills were honed at Oxford. However, when the time comes, they do not hesitate to leave the books and the exams behind in favor of deploying their talents under the watchful eye of Lady Charlotte.

Lady Charlotte thinks she understands the girls that have entered her life. She doesn’t know that there is so much more to Dove and Ruby than their dressmaking abilities, and she definitely does not realize that Dove is plagued by a vendetta; a desire to do great harm to an empire, avenging her family in the process.

As Christmas in 1934 runs on, the unexpected happens at Paunefort Hall. Lady Charlotte is playing host to an intriguing gathering of guests which include a starlet and a princess when a murder happens.

Two people are poisoned and everyone naturally presumes that one of Lady Charlotte’s guests is the murderer. Dove and Fina have plans of their own. But they cannot ignore the murder that happened right under their noses.

With the heavy snow having slowed the arrival of law enforcement, Dove and Fina are forced to get their hands dirty. They must find the culprit while the snow still has the guests of Pauncefort Hall confined.

Rose Donovan has been compared to the likes of Barbara Neely and Rhys Bowen. Her debut novel has also been praised for being witty and intelligent even while remaining loyal to the structure of the average cozy mystery novel.

The novel is strongest in the descriptions Donovan uses to bring the atmosphere of her setting to life. Ruby stands at the center of the tale as an amateur sleuth with hidden motives. She does the bulk of the investigating and, more often than not, her conclusions are the ones that allow the plot to progress.

Fina is more like the Watson of the team. She has a role to play in the solving of the case at hand but it is a muted role. As is often the case with cozy mysteries, Pauncefort Hall is home to a rich collection of characters.

There is a litany of wild motives in play, not to mention the many secrets of Pauncefort Hall that Dove and Fina must uncover before they can close the case. There is little in the way of sex and violence.

Those aspects are hinted at and even touched upon but Rose Donovan largely downplays them. She chooses to emphasize the dramatic interactions between the staff members, the family and the guests in the hall.

Donovan makes ‘The Mystery of Ruby’s Sugar’ feel like it was written during the golden age of mysteries. The heroines at the center of the story are determined women with tragic histories.

+The Mystery of Ruby’s Port
It is springtime in 1935. Ruby Dove and Fina Aubrey are on the SS Sanguine. The dress designers are sailing from the Bahamas and they are pretty excited about the prospect of finally landing in Trinidad.

The girls have a mission of great importance. They want to bring the British Empire down. Their mission on the SS Sanguine was arranged by Dove’s brother. They must make contact with an important contact.

Ruby boarded the SS Sanguine as the assistant to a French fashion designer. Fina, on the other hand, secured a position as a wealthy Widow’s governess, charged with caring for a little boy.

Dove and Fina suspected that identifying the secret contact would prove difficult. They did not expect to encounter such eccentric passengers on their journey.

Things are only made more complicated by a difficult mystery. A passenger is found dead in a cabin. However, there is very little blood at the crime scene. Dove and Fina must locate their brother’s contact and a nefarious killer.

This is as they contend with scandals, storms and suspicious stewards. So many lives hang in the balance. Dove and Fina cannot afford to fail.

The second novel in the Ruby Dove mystery series has a complicated case at its center. This is as Rose Donovan sheds more light on her protagonist’s mission against the British empire.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Rose Donovan

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