A Caryn Review: Midnight Flit (The Carstairs Affairs #2) by Elin Gregory


Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I did not know when I read Eleventh Hour 3 years ago that there would be a sequel.  Three years, for me, is plenty of time to forget a book that wasn’t a standout, especially when I’m not waiting for a sequel.  Well, I remembered this book, and these characters, and was very excited to see they were coming back for another adventure!  This is another action story with espionage, danger, exotic locales including – wait for it – the Orient Express!  And, of course, silk stockings and fabulous frocks for my favorite cross dressing spy.

1931.  London.  A time of considerable political unrest in Europe, with the rise of the fascists in Italy and the Nazis in Germany, and Britain trying to determine who were allies and who enemies.  Miles Seward, linguist, cipher clerk, and occasional cross-dressing spy, received an encoded message from his mother, stationed at the British embassy in Bucharest.  She was in danger, and he embarked upon what was supposed to be a quick and simple extraction to bring her back to London.  The stakes were much higher than either of them thought, and they were immediately ambushed on their way to the air strip.  Fortunately, Miles brought the accoutrements for his transformation into his alter ego, Millie, and with some quick thinking they escaped Bucharest and made their way to Belgrade, where Briers Allerdale was stationed undercover.  Miles and Briers had maintained and deepened the relationship they started three years earlier during their joint mission in London, and despite the peril, working together as Brian and Millie Carstairs was a true pleasure.

The rest of the story is a classic high class spy adventure – evening dress and beautiful jewelry, aristocrats, luxury trains, explosions, car chases, gunfights, witty banter, blackmail – as Miles, Lady Siward, and Briers made their way across Europe to deliver the secrets Lady Siward had so carefully guarded to British Intelligence in London.  It was more than a little over the top, to me reminiscent of a James Bond adventure – Roger Moore rather than Daniel Craig – but I loved it anyway.  As in the first book, alongside the adventure was the romance between Miles and Briers.  There was actually a little more emphasis on the romance in this book than in the first, with both men considering what life might be like if they were out of the intelligence game.  What life could be like together.  And again, the complex role that Millie played in both the men’s psyches.

The cast of secondary characters included some old friends from book one – including Falk, the German spy once again temporarily allied with them but with his own agenda – as well as new ones including several clever and kick ass women.  Millie wasn’t the only woman who was strong and resourceful and took no crap from men.  Lady Siward, her secretary-cum-bodyguard, and the American actress were all courageous, intelligent, and the type of female character I think we need to see more of in historical fiction.

Once again, overall an excellent read.  Beautiful descriptions of scenery, strong characters, fast pace, humor, with well researched historical details and period appropriate dialogue and slang.  There is also what I considered to be a mostly satisfying ending that makes it clear this time there WILL be a sequel.  Which I am eagerly looking forward to, and hoping it doesn’t take another 3 years to come out!

Cover art by Manifold Press implies a darker and more serious story, but the train was totally appropriate.

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal Link

Book Details;

Kindle Edition, 210 pages
Published March 14th 2019
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesThe Carstairs Affairs #2
Characters Miles Siward, Briers Allerdale

Carstairs Affairs Series:

Eleventh Hour

Midnight Flit

Jump Back to Jazz Age Romance with the Book Blitz Tour for Midnight Flit (The Carstairs Affairs #2) by Elin Gregory (excerpt and giveaway)



Length: 73,000 words approx.
Publisher: Manifold Press
The Carstairs Affairs Series
Book 1 – Eleventh Hour – Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal Link

Miles Siward and Briers Allerdale return for another thrilling Jazz Age adventure .

“Silk stockings on expenses.”

Miles’s aristocratic mother has information of importance to the British Government and he must escort her home from Bucharest immediately, but their plans go violently awry and Miles and Lady Siward find themselves on a train to Belgrade – where Miles’s lover is posted. Since their pursuers are looking for a man and a woman, might two women slip past them unnoticed?

“Is anyone on this train who they say they are?”

Briers doesn’t know whether to kiss Miles or punch him but is delighted to accompany him and his mother on their journey. All he has to do is keep an eye open for their enemies – but who exactly are they; the enormous Russian, the sinister priest, the handsome jazz pianist, or maybe the winsome young movie star? And his mother-in-law might just be the most terrifying of all!

All aboard for the ride of a lifetime, with a cast of characters you’ll never forget!


Secret Intelligence service operative, Miles Siward, is preparing for a mission with the assistance of his gentleman’s gentleman, Pritchard.

“Do you miss working for Father?” Miles asked after a moment. “I feel bad that I’ve never asked before, but I was so grateful when you agreed to come back with me and run my little establishment that I suppose it never occurred to me to ask.”

Pritchard paused, his hands full of snowy linen. “Lord bless you, sir, no. Ronald and I were heartily sick of exchanging letters by then, and maybe seeing each other once a year – your father’s commitments allowing. To be offered the chance to come here, with private accommodation provided, was a Godsend. My only worry was that a relationship started in the trenches and continued on paper might not weather more frequent contact.”

Ronald – professional stage manager, natty dresser, a full head taller than Pritchard – was perhaps a little shrill, but one had to be shrill to be heard in theatrical circles. From what little Miles had seen of Pritchard and Ron together, though, they seemed blissfully happy and he wished them well and envied them with all his heart.

“I’m glad,” he said. “Going from valet to His Majesty’s Ambassador in Bucharest to the man-of-all-work of a clerk seems such a come down.”

“We both know that you are far more than a clerk, sir,” Pritchard grinned. “And speaking of more, Bucharest is not that far from Belgrade. While you are there, will there be any chance of meeting with the master?”

Miles snorted. “You mustn’t call Briers that, it only encourages him. He’ll turn up in plus fours and a monocle next, you wait and see!”

“It’s meant affectionately, sir.” Pritchard gave him a serene smile and tucked a rolled black tie and a pair of silk socks in beside the shirt.

“I know, and he loves it.” Miles paused in smiling contemplation of Briers Allerdale – tall where Miles was short, dark where he was fair, a hard-bitten field agent where Miles spent a lot of time at his desk − and thanked his lucky stars that opposites attract. “But sadly I am only going for one night, solely to retrieve Ma and bring her home safely in time for her appointment. A side trip is completely out of the question.

“I understand, sir.” From the sympathetic glint in Pritchard’s eye, Miles knew that he did understand, very well.

About Elin

Elin Gregory lives in South Wales and works in a museum in a castle built on the edge of a Roman Fort! She reckons that’s a pretty cool job.

Elin usually writes on historical subjects, and enjoys weaving the weird and wonderful facts she comes across in her research into her plots. She likes her heroes hard as nails but capable of tenderness when circumstances allow. Often they are in danger, frequently they have to make hard choices, but happy endings are always assured.

Current works in progress include one set during the Great War, another in WW2, one set in the Dark Ages and a series of contemporary romances set in a small town on the Welsh border.


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