Author Laura Joh Rowland is back with her third Victorian novel with the characters of Sarah Bain, Hugh and Mick. It’s my first time reading one of her books and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Great characters, a fun plot and a climatic ending with a mystery still left for future tales makes it one fun read.
Set in the year 1890 Sarah, Hugh and Mick are tipped off to a hanging death of Harry Warwick a pub owner and a man who does hangings. They rush to the scene and see a truly gruesome sight. Sarah (a photographer and the guys work for The Daily World newspaper in London) is able to get some pictures due to her boyfriend cop Barrett. They take the story to Sir Gerald who runs the paper and it makes the front page. He assigns them to try and find the killer. He makes it a contest who will solve the case first them or the police putting her up against Barrett and his boss Reid (who doesn’t like Sarah). It’s not the first time they have done an investigation.
They sleuthing soon takes them to a Newgate prison where they think it might have something to do with notorious baby murderer Amelia Carlisle. They talk to everyone that was there that night of the hanging (Harry was the one that did the actual hanging). No one will talk and they think something happened that night that got Harry killed. They are also attacked while there and that makes them even more sure someone knows something.
Sarah is also having other issues. Her long missing, presumed dead father reappears. He’s wanted from crimes from 24 years ago. She doesn’t believe he’s guilty and searches for him. Her search takes her to places she hasn’t been and she finds clues that may prove he’s innocent. And she finds shocking evidence about Amelia as well that could lead to her finding the murderer (another person involved in the hanging has been killed). Her sleuthing puts her, Hugh, Mick and Barrett all in harms way and could lead to their deaths.
The story has twists and turns, great characters and an interesting look at the times of 1890 and how people lives and what was considered decent and not decent for the times. I look forward to the next adventure with these characters.
You can pick it up in stores on Tuesday, January 8th from Crooked Lane.
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