Tag Archives: 19th Century

The Silver Locomotive Mystery

16 Jul

In “The Silver Locomotive Mystery” by Edward Marston, Inspector Robert Colbeck and Sgt Victor Leeming are called to Cardiff to investigate the murders of a young silversmith and the theft of a silver coffeepot in the shape of a locomotive that he was taking to hand over to a customer.

Edward Marston is a dab hand at historical crime fiction over a wide variety of eras. The Railway Detective series set in the mid 19th century is every bit as good as his other series. The research is impecable.

Marston evokes the time and place beautifully. His characters are well-rounded and interesting. Marston’s descriptions of people are both sharp and acidic at times. Of one character he says “He’s the kind of man who swallows nails and shits screws”.

The plot is exciting an gripping, with enough twists and turns to take your breath away.

Highly recommended.

Dodger

4 Jul

“Dodger” by James Benmore takes us into the adult life of Charles Dickens’s immortal character.

Jack Dawkins aka The Artful Dodger is back in London after having been transported to Australia for seven years. With a pardon signed by a dodgy, and more than a little insane, aristocrat, Dodger is a man with a mission: find the Jackapoor stone and return it to the aristocrat…otherwise Dodger is going to end up dead.

The story is a delicious romp through 19th century London. Murder, mayhem, and a reunion of sorts with Fagin’s other “boys”.

It was nice to see the inclusion of an Australian aboriginal character. Warrigal, known as Peter Cole, to the English, is a nicely balanced, very human character. So much so, that I really want to see this character get his own book. I really want to learn more about Warrigal.

The plot is fast paced and with enough twists and turns to make you stop and go Whoah!

I think Charles Dickens would be very proud to see Jack Dawkins all grown up.

Fabulous book. Highly recommended. I can’t wait to bet my hands on the other books in the series

The Angel of Darkness

20 Apr

“The Angel of Darkness” is the sequel to “The Alienist”, but instead of the narrator being John Moore, it is young Stevie, the youth that Dr Laszlo Kreizler took from the streets.

As per “The Alienist” there are dreadful crimes and death and mayhem in New York City in 1897. In this case a headless corpse in the Hudson and the kidnapping of the child of a Spanish diplomat. As the USA is on the brink of war with Spain this adds a sense of desperate urgency to the proceedings.

The main characters from the first book are present. Sara Howard is given the best line of the lot towards the end of the book. Speaking of which: Be warned that at over 800 pages this book is not for the fainthearted.

A well researched and entertaining book.

The Alienist

3 Oct

My latest book to read and review is “The Alienist” by Caleb Carr.

The scene is New York City in 1896. Young male prostitutes are being brutally murdered. Police Commissioner Theodore Roosevelt turns to prominent alienist, Dr Laszlo Kreizler, for assistance.

Kreizler, along with a journalist named Moore, who is the narrator of the story, two police detectives, and police department secretary Sara Howard, join forces to track down the killer.

The book is a tense psychological thriller, though I did find I got bogged down a little with the actual psychology part of it. Carr gave his main character, Kreizler, a tendancy to lecture and I found that my attention wandered away at times.

The digressions into New York CIty’s past, both criminal and otherwise, were interesting. As were the vibrant descriptions of 19th century New York’s underworld and its inhabitants.

On the whole, I found “The Alienist” to be an enjoyable read.

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