Out of Step and Out of Time: A Woman’s Trip to the Past

A Murder in Time

A MURDER IN TIME coverby Julie McElwain
Narrator: Lucy Raynor
Time Travel Murder Mystery
Tantor Audio
Formats available: Paperback, Electronic, Audio
Pub Date: 2.28.17 | 18 hours 39 minutes

REVIEWER: Sophia Rose

MP3 edition provided by publisher for review. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.


Beautiful and brilliant, Kendra Donovan is a rising star at the FBI. Yet her path to professional success hits a speed bump during a disastrous raid where half her team is murdered, a mole in the FBI is uncovered and she herself is severely wounded. As soon as she recovers, she goes rogue and travels to England to assassinate the man responsible for the deaths of her teammates.

While fleeing from an unexpected assassin herself, Kendra escapes into a stairwell that promises sanctuary but when she stumbles out again, she is in the same place—Aldrich Castle—but in a different time: 1815, to be exact.

Mistaken for a lady’s maid hired to help with weekend guests, Kendra is forced to quickly adapt to the time period until she can figure out how she got there; and, more importantly, how to get back home. However, after the body of a young girl is found on the extensive grounds of the county estate, she starts to feel there’s some purpose to her bizarre circumstances. Stripped of her twenty-first century tools, Kendra must use her wits alone in order to unmask a cunning madman. https://tantor.com/a-murder-in-time-julie-mcelwain.html




In my experience when it comes to the Time Travel genre, the offerings tend to be either sci-fi or romance-related. So, I was particularly elated to discover a murder mystery paired with time travel and a a whiff of romantic suspense for good measure.

There were lots of curiosities when I was listening to this one. It was long and felt long in places, but it had a lot of work to do introducing the modern situation and then the past and how she got from one to the other. Then, the slow work of solving the case and getting the heroine settled in to a new situation after establishing the old one. But yes, there is some plodding.

I thought the author captured the reaction of a modern woman to such circumstances very well. How would one deal with the sensation of time travel? Then, how would one deal with the reality of another time? Is there a responsibility not to mess up time or is the existence in a new time part of it all?

I have to confess that at first l didn’t warm up to Kendra. She had issues in dealing with people. I changed my mind as I understood her better and saw hints that she honestly didn’t know what to do with overtures of help and friendship. In her mind, other people were help or hindrances in her work and she didn’t have a private life with people in it. The duke, Rose, and Rebecca, from two different classes in society, gave generously and trustingly to her and it opened the door. Ha! And, then she met Dr. Munro later in the story and it was a shocker to her to discover that others knew a little something about the art of forensics and investigation, too. Oh, and let’s not forget the big bad FBI gal nearly panicking when a handsome Regency gentleman is impressed with her including her intelligence and shows an interest making her more jumpy than had she been a true virginal school girl of the time. The romance was never a main element.

So, yes, the main character was a brilliant bit of writing as were the surrounding cast. Time travel as a plot device was handled famously. So, that leaves the mystery…. the author delivered a dark, twisted serial killer who was preying on and torturing young women and wouldn’t stop unless Kendra and the others brought him down. It was not a difficult mystery to put my finger on the culprit since the storyline gives the villain a part of the narration along with Kendra, Alec, and the duke. It was fascinating seeing her do profiling and forensics work with what she had on hand in the past. Oh, and it was a little fun to see the reactions of the others to what they saw as an odd kick in her gallop because they thought she was an American servant class woman from their own time.

I listened to the story and the narrator, Lucy Rayner, was a first for me. I found that it took me quite a bit to get used to her storytelling and, in the end, it was still something of a mixed bag. She distinguished each member of the cast. Her accents were great as was her voice when narrating the events. Some of her gender voices were great while some men were froggy or, in one case, pinched. My struggles were the sing-song quality to her narration and the tiny voice she chose for Kendra. Many times it sounded petulant or whiny to me so I struggled not to see the character that way. When things got exciting or intense, I didn’t notice the rhythm issues. Far from putting me off, I will be continuing the series in audio format.

In summary, it was a solid start to a new to me series that I can’t wait to return to and delve in to this author’s colorful descriptions, characters, and tales modern woman doing police work in the past. Those who enjoy historical mysteries and/or time travel stories are a good audience.

My thanks to Tantor Audio for the opportunity to listen to this book in exchange for an honest review.

Links Blue Horizontal

AUTHOR: https://www.juliemcelwainauthor.com/
PUBLISHER: https://tantor.com/
AMAZON: https://www.amazon.com/Murder-Time-Kendra-Donovan-Mysteries/dp/B06WVB88J2
B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-murder-in-time-julie-mcelwain/1122137527?ean=9781681773636#/
GOODREADS: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33369849-a-murder-in-time