Jun 132016

UndercoverElizabeth Bennet Solves Crimes as a Femme Fatale

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Source: Review Copy from Author

Whether it’s visiting a vibrant Italian-American salon in Elmont, New York, dancing the tango in Seville, or observing a steamy calendar shoot with hot NYC firefighters, Cat Gardiner’s contemporary Pride and Prejudice stories are incredible and memorable adventures. In her fourth book, Undercover, Ms. Gardiner takes readers on a sojourn to 1952 and introduces them to a world of fedoras, smoke, hot joints, and crime detectives.

Elizabeth Bennet, a tenacious private eye with a copious amounts of moxie and brains, has been on the hunt for the man she believes kidnapped (and possibly murdered) her best friend. She met George Wickham years ago and she knows he is guilty of all sorts of crimes, but what Elizabeth doesn’t know is where is he now and what he did with Mary King? After receiving a tip from one of her reliable informants the trail for “Slick Wick” is hot once again. But there seems to be someone else interested in Slick Wick’s actions…the reserved and brooding Fitzwilliam Darcy, the wealthy son of a former senator. What is his connection to Slick Wick? What does he have to hide? You can be sure this clever dame will find out!

This recreation of Elizabeth Bennet is my hero! Career girl, independent, determined, and quick as a whip – she has the assets and charm to get whatever she wants from whoever she wants! I loved witnessing her close relationship with Oscar the restaurant owner and Detective Brandon (the only flat foot who respects her profession). They both flirt and tease, but I like how Elizabeth (even though she is a gorgeous siren with “a body made for sin”) doesn’t “give it up for just any man.” A true lady professional earning respect and achieving results in a man’s world – she is a marvel!

Other parts of the story that I thoroughly enjoyed were the atmosphere, the banter, and the sexy smoldering between Darcy and Elizabeth. I think Ms. Gardiner wonderfully captured the essence of a noir – her story was smoky, misty, and steamy. With her evocative language and descriptions, I imagined the story in black and white in my head with just small flashes of color for Lizzy’s ruby-red lips. 😉 Speaking of flapping lips, the quick and provocatively-charged exchanges between Darcy and Lizzy almost gave me whiplash! These two are definitely hard-boiled and their flirtatious banter and smoldering looks could heat up an igloo. Lizzy may be a femme fatale, but I think she’s met her match with this brooding and enigmatic Mr. Darcy! (Warning: contains intimate scenes and descriptions suitable for Mature Audiences.)

Now, while I absolutely adored this novel and thoroughly enjoyed the unique setting and inventive premise, I did notice that I didn’t feel as emotionally invested with these characters as I did with Ms. Gardiner’s previous novels. Both these characters were interesting and there were some mentions of their pasts, but I guess there wasn’t enough there to help me feel fully connected to them. I’m sorry to hold Ms. Gardiner to such a high standard, but it is her own fault! 😉 Her previous novels and complex characters were so captivating and consuming!

Communist schemes, sizzling chemistry, and solving crimes – Cat Gardiner’s Austen-Inspired noir mystery is an enthralling adventure that envelopes readers in the sights, sounds, and realities of another time and world. I loved the combination of intrigue, history, danger, and scorching-hot romance! Thank you, Ms. Gardiner for another supremely creative and engrossing tale!

PS – loved the glossary of crime detective terms! Super helpful!

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  23 Responses to “Undercover – Cat Gardiner”


    I love noir, the book sounds intriguing



    Meredith, what a great review. Your description draws you in and wants you to read more. As always, thanks for sharing your insights with the readers. Jen Red


      Thank you for saying such kind things Jennifer and for reading my review! There is always so much I want to talk about in my reviews, but I try to keep them succinct and non-spoilery!


    I simply adore anything Cat Gardiner writes. Her descriptive writing is the best and I find myself lost in the story. I haven’t got this one yet . . . but I will!


    Great review (as always), Meredith! Thank you!


    Wow, Wow, Wow! Thank you, Meredith for this wonderful review! So happy you had a good time with Eli and Darcy.


    Great review Meredith as usual. And another really great book from Cat. I loved the steamy interaction between Darcy and Elizabeth. And the way they worked together. Turned out to be the perfect pair.


    I’ve only recently read Cat’s book A Moment Forever. I haven’t yet read any of her austenesque stuff. However, if they’re as good as AMF I’ll definitely be reading this one. AMF was brilliant and unputdownable (if there’s such a word 🙂 ). I really enjoy books set in the 40’s and 50’s.


      I love hearing your praise, Teresa! It sounds brilliant – and Cat is so talented when it comes to establishing a setting and history! I’m so looking forward to reading AMF! Since you like the 50’s you may want to try Undercover next! 😉


    I have read and absolutely loved all of Cat’s stories. She has such unique flavor for each story. You believe she has lived there as you feel totally immersed.


      Flavor is definitely the word I’d use to describe it! 🙂 I will willingly go wherever she wants to take us! I love seeing different places and times through her characters’ eyes!


    love reading crime books, have added this to be wish list


    I tend to get nostalgic when I read her books and this one was no exception. She does so well with her settings so I feel immersed.

    Great review, Meredith!


    I haven’t read this one…yet….but I hope to! Your review was very enticing! Thank you!


    I will be starting this book very soon. Can’t wait!

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