[Rezension] Joan Kilby: Gentlemen prefer Nerds

Not only the title sounds like an hommage to 1950s crime copers, the story has a very old fashioned (in the best sense of the word) theme and feeling about it. Themes like jewel thieves, simple girl meets high society life, yachts, masquerades and the pacing stirr images of old movies with Cary Grant and/or Grace Kelly.

Two men enter the life of geeky Maddie Mahoney, a gemologist and mineralogist, who is working at the jeweler shop of her aunt, who is about to display The Rose, a huge pink diamond: Dr. Hauzenegger, a renowned gemologist, who is just as crazy about gems as she is herself and Fabian, a stylish, handsome and seemingly rich stranger, who warns her about “The Chameleon”, who is supposedly about to steal The Rose. Who can she trust? Her guts and upbringing tell her to distrust “the suit” and believe the nerdy professor.. Soon the diamond is indeed stolen and Maddie finds herself on the run from the police and on the mission to hunt down the jewel thief.

Maddie is a wonderful character, smart but insecure and clearly nerdy. I love her daydreaming moments when she sees herself as heroine clashing with the reality, but also the moments when she sees through the agenda of people around her, which she doesn’t always do. She is couraged, but having spent most of her time in labs and bent over microscopes, posing as a rich, sophisticated woman is a bit of a challenge. Fabian is great as well, most of the novel it is unclear what is on his agenda, which I enjoyed a lot.

The story is told in what seemed to be a charmingly old fashioned way, reminding me of old movies with Gary Grant. The chemistry between Fabian and Maddie is sizzling, dispite or because of their differences. I like their banter and jokes and their evident attraction to each other.

Some parts of the story seemed a bit unlikely or illogical to me and sometimes the reasoning behind actions seemed a little off, contructed to keep the story moving.

To be honest I had been waiting for more “juicy” bits throughout the story as the atmosphere was loaded with sexual tension between Maddie and Fabian, and the kisses they share were descibed really nicely, leaving me hoping for more, but when things finally get further between them it is a bit like a post scriptum, not really part of the story.

I enjoyed the novel a lot. Lovable characters and a fast and interesting story combined with a light and funny way of writing. I obtained a digital copy of this book as a ARC at NetGalley. © image: Carina Press

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