Lizzie Newton: Victorian Mysteries is a manhwa first serialized in Issue magazine, a publication by Daiwon, under the title of Lady Detective. It has been licensed in English by Seven Seas and the first volume printed in August 2012.
The Gist: (from publisher) Lizzie Newton, a young upper crust lady with a budding career as a mystery writer, is expected to know her place in Victorian society. Her father has arranged for her to marry the handsome Edwin White, who has put his rising career as a lawyer on hold to prove his love to Lizzie. While the headstrong Lizzie tolerates earnest Edwin, she is not yet ready to accept him as her fiance. Besides, Lizzie is distracted by something far more important: an apparent suicide has occurred in the manor, and Lizzie is ready to solve her first real life murder case!
The Characters/Romance: Lizzie Newton is a typical headstrong, intelligent protagonist that abhors the societal expectations for women of her time. She is a published author of mystery novellas and has a mind that is witty and sharp. Her deductive reasoning skills prove her ability above the local police and Scotland Yard. While the mystery in the first volume is a rather simple one, Lizzie and Edwin are able to prove the case using scientific evidence. The local investigator deems it a first occurrence of forensic evidence, kind of like CSI for the Victorian era.
While no evident byplays occur in the first volume, the author does leave the development of Lizzie and Edwin’s relationship wide open. I myself was left with many questions. The biggest perplexity being that Edwin would become Lizzie’s steward when he was already a famous lawyer? There’s more to that story yet to be told. I just hope it’s entertaining.
The Art: From horse drawn carriages to mansions, corset tight dresses and elegant suits, Ki-ha Lee drops us right into Victorian London. The characters are very expressive and detailed, from costuming to poses. The paneling flows freely and looks very clean. Lettering and translation were a pleasure to read. I look forward to seeing more colored art on future covers.
The Audience: Rated Teen, Lizzie Newton: Victorian Mysteries does include mild gore and crime, so it’s best for a teen audience, but a mature tween could probably handle it. All relationships are platonic at this point so I would rate it cuddly.
The Media: Lizzie Newton: Victorian Mysteries vol. 1 is available from Seven Seas publishing. Volume 2’s expected release date is February 2013.
Heart of Manga Rating: ♥♥♥♥ Highly Recommend
Mystery and romance, attractive artwork, and well developed characters make this volume a highly entertaining read.