The Right Sort of Man

The Right Sort of Man

by Allison Montclair


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"A delightful immersion in the period and personalities, with that touch of depth that transforms a good series to a great one." —Laurie R. King

First comes love, then comes murder.

In a London slowly recovering from World War II, two very different women join forces to launch a business venture in the heart of Mayfair—The Right Sort Marriage Bureau. Miss Iris Sparks, quick-witted and impulsive, and Mrs. Gwendolyn Bainbridge, practical and widowed with a young son, are determined to achieve some independence and do some good in a rapidly changing world.

But the promising start to their marriage bureau is threatened when their newest client, Tillie La Salle, is found murdered and the man arrested for the crime is the prospective husband they matched her with. While the police are convinced they have their man, Miss Sparks and Mrs. Bainbridge are not. To clear his name—and to rescue their fledging operation’s reputation—Sparks and Bainbridge decide to investigate on their own, using the skills and contacts they’ve each acquired through life and their individual adventures during the recent war.

Little do they know that this will put their very lives at risk.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250178367
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 06/04/2019
Series: Sparks & Bainbridge Mystery , #1
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 225,740
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

ALLISON MONTCLAIR grew up devouring hand-me-down Agatha Christie paperbacks and James Bond movies. As a result of this deplorable upbringing, Montclair became addicted to tales of crime, intrigue, and espionage. She now spends her spare time poking through the corners, nooks, and crannies of history, searching for the odd mysterious bits and transforming them into novels of her own. The Right Sort of Man is her debut novel.

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The Right Sort of Man 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
BayleyA 12 days ago
I always forget I love mystery novels until I am reading a mystery novel. Maybe this book will be the spark (see what I did there?) that will lead me into a hole full of untimely death and other elements of the criminal. I had so much fun reading this book! The Right Sort of Man is about Mrs. Gwendolyn Bainbridge and Miss. Iris Sparks, proprietors of The Right Sort Marriage Bureau! Their little business is doing fine during the summer of 1946, setting up couples in a London rebuilding from World War 2. Both women (and the rest of London we encounter) have been deeply affected by the war. Gwen lost her husband and is not entangled in a battle over her son with her inlaws. Iris has a mysterious past relating to the war effort, she is a stone-cold badass, and you know immediately she has certainly killed a man on behalf of England. These women are very different but have such a satisfying, funny, sweet relationship, and they are excellent partners. Our story starts when Tillie, a woman looking for love in the first chapter, is found murdered and the police think the man Iris and Gwen set her up with is the perpetrator. With Gwen spearheading, the women dive into Tillie's life trying to find her real murderer while also handling their critical issues in their personal lives. I loved this book! I was hooked trying to find the murderer, but along the way, I was really invested most in Gwen's fight to regain custody of her son from her mother-in-law. The emotional core of this story is so strong, and most certainly brought me to tears. The reveal of the murderer was so well timed, Montclair, a pen name for an author I cannot suss out, did a perfect reader figures it out RIGHT before the characters do. There was so much tension. I didn't love the motive, but it made sense and was very well executed. This was a fantastic start of a series; I cannot wait for book two! I want to see what Iris and Gwen get up to next! ARC provided by the publisher! All opinions are honest and my own! This book is currently out! Go get it!
Lillian Maddocks-Cummings 13 days ago
Should you interfere? Iris Sparks & Tillie Bainbridge run the Right Sort Marriage Bureau and they have had some success in getting some married but that all changes when one of their clients is murdered by another client. But they both don't believe that the young man killed anyone but how can they prove it? Tillie knows that Dickie Trower didn't kill Miss La Salle but the police won't listen as they have their man. They both decide to do some digging and they find out that there were so much more to Miss La Salle she wasn't so innocent. But before they can figure things out Tille is dragged into more problems with her mother in law and now she wants to send her son away but Tillie knows that she can't do anything to stop it unless she fights for custody but can she win? She misses her late husband so much and after his death, she had a breakdown and her in-laws were given custody of her son and now she has no choice but to follow their rules for now. Sparks knows that she is playing with danger but she is used to that, her years in the home office allowed her to learn certain skills and she is about to walk into trouble but she can handle it. She needs to keep Tillie out of harm's way and their former female client was mixed up with some dangerous people. But who is going to keep her safe? Can they find out who really killed their client and hopefully free an innocent man? Will Tillie be able to find the peace that she is looking for and will Sparks e honest with her about her past? A good read very interesting. I was lucky enough to receive a copy via NetGalley & the publishing house n exchange for my honest review.
gypsygrandmatv 13 days ago
Captivating and engaging The Right Sort of Man is a delightful first installment in a new historical mystery series. I thoroughly enjoyed this book! Iris and Gwen are my new favorite leading ladies...they are tough, smart, clever and witty. When they decide that their client could not have committed the murder that he is accused of they go all out to prove him innocent. Gwen is clearly out of her element and it's fun watching her learn her way around the city she lives in, but doesn't know. Iris is more suited to this kind of work and it's hinted that she did clandestine work during the second World War. Despite,or maybe because of, their differences they complement each other and are good friends. Ms Montclair does an excellent job depicting a post WWII London that is trying to recover from the war. Rationing was still in effect and young men just home from the war were wanting to begin new lives. A marriage bureau as a business for the two ladies makes perfect sense. I loved this book and I can't wait for the next book in what I hope will be a long and successful series. Thank you to Netgalley for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous 13 days ago
I absolutely loved this book. I am beyond grateful to the publisher for inviting me to read this and providing a free copy through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. I laughed and cried throughout this historical mystery. It was completely worth dropping all of my other current reads to pick up. Gwen Bainbridge and Iris Sparks run the Right Sort Marriage Bureau, providing matchmaking services for men and women in post-WWII London. When one of their clients ends up murdered and the person they matched her up with is arrested as the culprit, things look bad for women and their fledgling business. Convinced of his innocence and desperate to save their company, Gwen and Iris put their detective skills to the test. These two are brilliant. They are intelligent, sassy, and determined. It was also a joy to read a murder mystery that did not have graphic, violent scenes. The cast of secondary characters is fantastic as well and I really hope this is the start to a long series, because I want so much more of Gwen and Iris and their adventures. I bought a finished copy and am enthusiastically recommending this to all my friends. 4 1/2 stars.
Bedford_Bookshelf_1 15 days ago
From Kirkus Review: “A war widow joins a former spy in setting up a matrimonial agency.” Reading that I expected to be reading something lightweight. The Right Sort of Man is anything but. This was a story of real women with real issues, complex characters whose backstories unfold in a way that makes you feel as if you are getting to know someone. Gwen and Iris have each come through WWII with scars and issues that must be dealt with. Their decision to investigate a murder that has affected their new business becomes a means by which each can begin to resolve those issues. The language is natural with dialogue that flows. The mood is never too dark or too light. Humor abounds and the banter is witty and intelligent. The prose is descriptive and made it easy to visualize London in the aftermath of the Blitz.  I definitely recommend this one to anyone who enjoys a good mystery or historical fiction. Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martins Press for my digital copy.
Jolie 15 days ago
I was intrigued when I read the blurb for this book. I have read plenty about pre-WWII London. I have also read plenty about London during the war. But I haven’t read anything about the years after the war. So, that made me want to pick up The Right Sort of Man. I am glad that I did because The Right Sort of Man was a great read!! The Right Sort of Man takes place in June of 1946. A young woman approaches The Right Sort Marriage Bureau with hopes of being matched with a young man. She leaves the agency with high expectations. But, a few hours later, she is found dead in an alley. A young man is arrested and charged with her murder. What do they have in common? They were both clients of The Right Sort Marriage Bureau. Eager to clear the agency’s name and prove the innocence of the young man, the owners launch an investigation of their own. Will they be able to clear their names? Will they save the young man from execution? Like I stated in the first paragraph, I haven’t read any books that dealt with the aftermath of World War 2. The author did a fantastic job of showing the damage that London endured during the bombings. She also did a tremendous job of showing how the people of London were recovering. I enjoyed the mystery angle of the book. The author did a fantastic job of keeping who the killer was until the end of the book. I thought that it was two people and it ended up being neither. The killer was revealed in a plot twist that took me by surprise. I liked that the author had the two main characters be female. I also liked that she had them running their own business. There was a sense of woman empowerment throughout the book. Gwen and Iris didn’t back down when a man told them too. They were dismissed throughout the book. In the end, they ended up freeing an innocent man from jail and getting a killer off the street. I did feel bad for Gwen. She lost it when her husband was killed, which is understandable. She was committed, and in that week, her in-laws were granted custody of her son. I did like seeing her start to realize that she didn’t have to take their crap anymore. I cheered her own when she began taking back her life. The scene where she told off her mother in law was fantastic. I liked Iris but couldn’t get a handle on her. All I knew was that she was a spy and she was engaged twice. But, as the book went on, the author revealed the different aspects of Iris’s life. I am going to stop right here with her. But I will say this. Don’t take anything about Iris at face value. I did, and I was surprised at what was revealed during the last half of the book. The end of the book was exciting. I loved how the killer was revealed. Never, in a million years, would I have thought that person was the killer. I liked how the author left the book open for other books in the series.
gmcootie 16 days ago
Solid start to a new series. It’s just after World War II in London. Iris Sparks and Gwendolyn Bainbridge have started The Right Sort of Marriage Bureau. It’s a very interesting premise – the war is over and Iris and Gwen believe people are going to be looking for love and romance again. They’re very different women. Iris is single, quick-witted and impulsive, with a secret past she won’t talk about. Gwendolyn is practical and widowed with a young son, can read people on the spot, and has secrets of her own. The story begins when their newest client is found murdered and the man arrested for the crime is the prospective husband they matched her with. The police think they have found the murderer and aren’t going to investigate further. If they are to save their business Iris and Gwen must solve the crime on their own. Be warned that this book gets off to a very slow, often irritating start. The speech and dialogue are very formal and seem to come from a time prior to WWII, and the author overdoes clever and cute. I was annoyed with Gwen staying out all hours when she insists her main goal is to regain full custody of her child. The mystery seemed rather predictable. But stick with it. As the story proceeds, the plot becomes more intricate, clues are revealed, and the dialogue and cuteness factor settle down. You get a sense of just how hard it was for women to be taken seriously even in what we consider “modern times” and the story deals honestly and effectively with discrimination, the aftermath of the war, both economic and psychological, and demonstrates how solidly class distinctions were still in place. As you learn more about Iris and Gwen and their pasts and their hopes for the future you begin to identify with them, and when Gwen says of her son, “Of course he’s my first priority, which is why I am trying to make this place work so that I can convince everyone that I should be in charge of his life” it is very empowering. Thanks to Minotaur Press and NetGalley for providing an advance copy for my honest review.
Momma_Becky 16 days ago
3.5 stars Admittedly, I don't read a lot of historical fiction, and this one is more cozy mystery than gripping thriller, so it's a little out of my wheelhouse. That said, it's well-written, and the atmosphere of the story kept me turning pages as much as the mystery if not more so. This is the start of the series, so we have a lot introduction to characters, and the story is very dialogue driven, which isn't something I normally care for, but I did enjoy the back and forth between Gwen and Iris. All in all, The Right Sort of Man is a good start to a promising series, and I've enjoyed my little trip outside the box of what I normally read.
iiiireader 16 days ago
Miss Iris Sparks and Mrs. Gwendolyn Bainbridge are two survivors of World War II England. They come from different backgrounds (though they knew each other slightly before the war.) The are trying to find their way after the war has shattered the futures they envisioned for themselves. They come together to make new lives for themselves. Iris is looking for a way to forget her past and settle into a safer life. Gwendolyn is a war widow and is struggling to prove that she can support her young son and wrest control of his future from his father’s family. The come up with The Right Sort of Marriage. It is a modern marriage bureau and promises its prospective clients that they will help them find a mate who is the perfect one for them. They are doing okay but they do have an individual who collects payment when it is not forthcoming. This is one of the funnier parts of an amusing tale. This is not a rom-com, it is a murder mystery. For that you need a murder and one is forthcoming. Unfortunately, it involves one of their new clients and the finger of guilt is pointed at another client. In order to save the reputation and, in fact, the very existence of their marriage bureau, Iris and Gwendolyn determine they must solve the mystery of the murder and clear their company of any hint of wrongdoing. It’s a great start to a new cozy murder mystery series and I will be looking forward to many more books about the exploits of these two intrepid ladies. I was provided a digital advance reader copy of this book by the publisher via Netgalley.
Irene_SZ 16 days ago
Kept me guessing until the end.. Before there was a, Iris and Gwen set up a new marriage service to help women find the right sort of man after WWII. When a female client is murdered, Iris and Gwen are certain that Mister Trower did not murder the woman and the police have arrested the wrong man. Coming from very different backgrounds, Iris and Gwen decide to investigate. The reputation of their new agency and their own reputation is threatened. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher through Netgallery. I don't want to spoil the book, by telling any more about the plot. The mystery kept me guessing until the end. I love this book and look forward to reading the next one in the series.
4GranJan 16 days ago
Outstanding Whodunit This wonderful story takes place in 1946 London. Two women who the war left broken try to clear a client of murder. This is written with that witty repartee common to the 1930s and 1940s. One can imagine Carole Lombard playing one of the roles. It is written very well with a great plot with clues for the reader to find. It is all so obvious at the big reveal, but I had no clue. I will be reading this book again as well as more of this author's work. I received this ARC book for free from Net Galley. This is my honest opinion and review.
Horsebranchjess 16 days ago
After World War II, Iris Sparks and Gwendolyn Bainbridge start a matchmaking business. Gwen is a widow with a young son whose life was forever changed when her husband didn't come home from the war. Iris is secretive with a quick mind that served her well working for the intelligence branch during the war. Iris and Gwen are opposites who combine innocence and experience to become good friends and even better detectives when a client is murdered and another is blamed. Wading into the shady side of town and relying on some impressive acting skills, the girls skirt the edge of danger trying to save their business and an innocent client while solving not one but two cases. The characters are fun, interesting, and smart with the right touch of sass to make the story interesting and the pages fly by. I enjoyed the twisty and original whodunit and look forward to more of Iris and Gwen. My voluntary, unbiased review is based upon a review copy from Netgalley.
Monnie777 16 days ago
I really enjoyed this book. It was interesting to see how these two ladies minds worked to solve this case. It was also interesting to see that it was taking place right after WWII. Gwen and Iris both have different upbringing and both are overcoming things from the war. Together they make the perfect team. I am quite interested to see how these two ladies make out in the next book. There is a lot of description on what London looks like after the war and also what life is like during that time. If you like a good mystery then pick up this book. *I received a free copy of this book via the NetGalley and am voluntarily leaving a review.*
CozyUpWithKathy 16 days ago
an ingenious mystery, intricately plotted THE RIGHT SORT OF MAN by Allison Montclair The First Marriage Bureau Mystery As London continues to recover from World War II its inhabitants are looking for stability and happiness. Tillie La Salle wants a life that will lead her out of her neighborhood and into matrimony. Enter the Right Sort of Marriage Bureau. Although Miss Iris Sparks and Mrs. Gwendolyn Bainbridge, proprietors, find Tillie to be somewhat shady, they arrange a meeting with a prospective match. But instead of a happy ending, Tille just gets an ending. Police arrest her intended beau for her murder, but Sparks and Gwen believe their client innocent. Now the duo will use their unique skills to find the real murderer. I enjoyed my foray into the Right Sort of Marriage Bureau. Witnessing the ramifications of the war, especially as it affected the women of London, seeing the world of spivs, and noting the importance of stockings made for a captivating read. It's the little details that make this book special; the fact that Sally is a budding playwright, daydreams featuring Ronald Colman, and, perhaps most specially, a goldfish named Herbert. THE RIGHT SORT OF MAN is a smart book. There's an ingenious mystery, intricately plotted and filled with fascinating characters. The book is filled with witty banter. It's smart, but superficial. There is tremendous backstory, some of which is teased out periodically. The characters are so interesting, but somehow still come out somewhat two dimensional. It wasn't until the very end that I felt a true connection. THE RIGHT SORT OF MAN brings readers to 1946 London. There are ruins, rebuilding, and ultimately hope. This book has the potential to become a wonderful series. FTC Disclosure – The publisher sent me a digital ARC provided through NetGalley, in the hopes I would review it.
KrisAnderson_TAR 17 days ago
The Right Sort of Man is an entertaining historical mystery. The author captured post-war London with her vivid descriptions of the bombed out areas, rationing and modes of public transportation (tube, tram, and bus). Numerous items continued to be rationed in England for many years after the war (food, clothes, petrol). I enjoyed Allison Montclair’s writing style with its appealing dialogue and her delightful protagonists. Iris Sparks is an intelligent woman who did special work for the government during the war (which she cannot talk about). Sparks has a unique skill set and is well connected. She thrives on action and has left a string of unhappy beaus in her wake including DS Mike Kinsey. Sparks does love her typewriter though. I especially loved Iris Sparks droll wit. Gwen Bainbridge is a widow with a six year old son and a fascination with Ronald Coleman. Gwen had a hard time after she was notified of her husband’s death. She needed some medical assistance which her in-laws used to grab guardianship of their only grandchild. Gwen is now forced to live with the in-laws to be near her son. Going into business with Iris is her way of obtaining some independence and getting her self-confidence back. When one of their clients is murdered and another accused of the crime, the only way to save their business is to solve the murder themselves. While Iris has the skills for investigating, it is new to Gwen. She soon finds herself enjoying new experiences like riding a tram. I liked the evolution of Gwen’s character. Salvatore “Sally” Danielli was a pleasing addition. He is a complex man with hidden depths (he is working on a play too). There are two mysteries in The Right Sort of Man. One is more complex and dominates the story while the other drifts along in the background (and is simpler). I had a good time following the clues and solving both puzzles. The Right Sort of Man has a great ending. I am hoping there will be more novels featuring this enterprising duo. You will find yourself rooting for Gwen and Sparks in the charming The Right Sort of Man.