My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
We are instantly swept along the streets of Victorian London in all its glory, where we meet the darkly handsome, Mark Hawksley and his companions, for the third in Carol Hedges’ Victorian Sensational Novel Series.
Across London, we are introduced to the beautiful red-head, Miss Belinda Kite (pronounced Keet), as she takes on new employment, and our favourite detectives, Sergeant Jack Cully and Detective Inspector Stride, return to pound the pavements and shuffle paperwork.
As the story unfolds, we find the aforementioned, Mark Hawksley, enticing huge sums of money from the business elite, as he gathers investors for his Diamond Mine. This is of no concern to Stride and Cully, however, as they are kept busy by the Undershaft’s and their poisoned cakes, as well as the unwanted vandalism of prominent landmarks by the ‘Red Hand Gang’ (aptly named by our favourite reporter, My Dandy).
As with Carol’s first two books, the atmosphere and characterisation are flawless. Her descriptive writing pulls you through the back streets of London and the grand establishments of Regent Street, until you can almost smell the murky water of the Thames, and taste the delicate scones and tiny sandwiches.
I especially loved Sergeant Evans and the effortless way he dealt with people, as well as his relationship with Cully. The no-nonsense northerner, Josiah Bulstrode and his dear sister, Grizelda, also found a spot on my favourite character list. I also quite liked Mr Hawksley’s character, which no doubt reflects badly on my taste in men!
The thing I enjoy most about this series is how Carol wraps it all up so beautifully at the end. Balance is restored, and order returned to the streets of London once more – or until book four comes out!
When Detectives Stride & Cully are called in to investigate a fatal case of arsenic poisoning, they quickly realise that there is a lot more to it than meets the eye. Despite their best efforts, secrets and lies will dog the investigation and frustrate their efforts. It will take all the skill and ingenuity of two of Scotland Yard’s finest to get to the truth of the matter.
Meanwhile London is playing host to two enigmatic strangers: Darkly handsome Mark Hawksley has come to enrich himself at the expense of the gullible and greedy by selling fake shares in a bogus diamond mine company. Beautiful Belinda Kite has come to find excitement and adventure, and maybe bag herself the prize of a rich husband in the process. What will happen when their paths cross?
Murder, love, trickery and false identities abound in this third Victorian crime novel, set once again in the foggy gas-lit streets and twisting alleyways of 1860s London.
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