Tag Archives: Victorian Crime

The Casebook of Inspector Armstrong Volume One

26 Sep

“The Casebook of Inspector Armstrong Volume One” is written by Martin Daley and published by MX Publishing.

Inspector Cornelius Armstrong is a police inspector in the Northern English city of Carlisle in the Edwardian period.

The book contains two stories:
“The Italian Murder” in which Armstrong investigates the murder of a young Italian immigrant, and
“King Edward’s Ghost” in which ghost stories told at Christmas lead Armstrong into a case of deceit and betrayal going back to the reign of Kind Edward I.

Both stories are excellent reads. They are well-plotted and fast-paced, and salted with interesting historical details. “King Edward’s Ghost” had a slight supernatural frisson that just adds to the story’s depth and delight.

I am looking forward to reading Martin Daley’s other Inspector Armstrong stories.

Highly recommended.

“The Casebook of Inspector Armstrong Volume One” is available directly from MX Publishing

Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Beer Barons

29 Aug

“Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Beer Barons” is written by Christopher James and publishhed by MX Publishing.

The delivery of a beer barrel containing the body of a man to 221b Baker Street is the catalyst for a new adventure for Sherlock Holmes and Dr John Watson. This one takes them to the beer capital of Great Britain – Burton-on-Trent.

The story is fast paced and exciting with a fiendish plot that has more twists and turns than a corkscrew.

One thing I also look for in a Sherlock Holmes pastiche is the relationship between Holmes and Watson. In this book the friendship is rock solid.

There are many interestly and lively characters, including Miss Gertie Cresswell, private detective. Miss Cresswell is wonderfully well rounded and I would love to see her in a book of her own.

All in all an extremely fun read. Highly recommended.

My thanks to MX Publishing for the review copy.

You can get your own copy directly from MX Publishing: https://mxpublishing.com/products/sherlock-holmes-and-the-adventure-of-the-beer-barons?_pos=1&_sid=c4f7ba5e9&_ss=r

Sherlock Holmes and the London Particular

13 Aug

“Sherlock Holmes and the London Particular” is part of the American Literati’ series by Daviel D. Victor and published by MX Publishing. The books see Holmes and Watson work with noted American writers of the period. The writer in this book is Richard Harding Davis, whom I freely admit I had not heard of.

Be that as it may, it is still an excellent book with the plot involving a stolen diamond necklace, two corpses and a Russian connection. A plot which made for an intriguing case and a ripping read.

For those that don’t know the London Particular was a type of thick, almost poisonous, fog that frequently filled London. It creates an atmospheric start to the story.

The characters are interesting and the denouement of the case suitably exciting.

Well worth a read. THe book is available directly from MX Publishing: https://mxpublishing.com/products/sherlock-holmes-and-the-london-particular?_pos=1&_sid=28d8159f9&_ss=r

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.

The Detective Wore Silk Drawers

14 Jun

The discovery of a headless corpse washed up on the banks of the Thames near Blackfriars, drags Cribb from his pint at the pub and into a case involving the brutal and illegal world of bare-knuckle prize fighting, in this, the second of the Sergeant Cribb books by Peter Lovesey.

With his trusty assistant Thackeray and a well-bred young copper, Cribb dives into a case that, if he’s not careful will have them all knocked out for the count.

“The Detective Wore Silk Drawers” is fast paced and exciting. The characters are well-rounded and believable.

As well as a fine detective story, you get a gritty look at the less than glamorous world of boxing at a time when the hard and dirty fighting with bare fists was banned, and boxing with “mittens” and the Queensbury Rules had become the norm.

An interesting and absorbing read, as well as being a first-class crime thriller. Highly recommended.

The Instrument of Death

31 Mar

A priceless ruby is stolen, but just as Holmes reveals the truth, the thief, a wealthy titled woman, is found dead. Strangled by a mysterious intruder. A deadly game of cat and mouse begins.

“The Instrument of Death” is another great book from renowned Sherlockian, David Stuart Davies. The book is an enjoyable read. David Stuart Davies has an excellent touch with the characters of Holmes and Watson, and his Lestrade is a little stuffy, but quite acceptable.

The book utilizes the character of Dr. Caligari from the the 1920’s German horror movie “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari”. We know from the beginning who the killer is, and how it’s done, so this is less a whodunnit and more a thriller. There are sections of the book that are a little graphic, so if you are at all squeamish this book may not be for you.

As always, David Stuart Davies has a light touch with description: “He wore a pair of heavy dark spectacles on a curved beak of a nose that gave him the appearance of a weary owl.”

“The Instrument of Death” is a fast paced and exciting blend of murder and mesmerism. Highly recommended.

The Real Mary Kelly

7 Feb

Written by Wynne Weston-Davies, “The Real Mary Kelly” is the story of Elizabeth Weston-Davies, who was the real Mary Kelly. Even at the time of her murder police considered her name to be false but could not find the real woman. The real woman who was the final victim of the killer known as Jack the Ripper.

Wynne Weston-Davies, her great-nephew, sets out to bring his great-aunt to life. From her time as lady’s maid to the Marchioness of Londonderry, to an expensive brothel in Kensington, to an ill-advised marriage, to France, to the East End of London, and, finally, to her violent and gruesome death.

Wynne Weston-Davies has written and interesting and well-researched book that gives a degree on insight into the life of the woman that history knows as “Mary Kelly” and also to the man that we believes killed her and the other woman in those dreadful months of 1888.

Well worth a read. recommended.

Mrs Hudson Goes to Ireland

28 Dec

Grieving the ‘death’ of Sherlock Holmes, Mrs. Hudson travels to Ireland with her friend Kitty Melrose to try and stop an arranged marriage. What they find is a mess of death and despair.

Published by MX Publishing, “Mrs Hudson Goes to Ireland” by Susan Knight is a fun book.

Obviously years of being Sherlock Holmes’s landlady had rubbed off on Martha Hudson, as she makes quite an excellent detective.

The novel is well plotted and well written. The research is impeccable. Susan Knight weaves details of Irish beliefs and superstitions through the story in a manner which brings the people and the place to glorious life.

HIghly recommended.

‘Mrs Hudson Goes to Ireland” is available directly from MX Publishing: https://mxpublishing.com/products/mrs-hudson-goes-to-ireland?_pos=3&_sid=dd1e9e640&_ss=r

You can check out my work available from MX Publishing here: https://mxpublishing.com/search?type=product&q=Margaret+Walsh

Sherlock Holmes and the Ley Line Murders

13 Dec

In “Sherlock Holmes and the Ley Line Murders” by Allan Mitchell, body parts are discovered distributed along the ancient ley lines of Wiltshire. Holmes and Watson journey to Salisbury to assist Inspector Fleming with the case. They are soon joined by Inspector Lestrade, and the game is well and truly afoot.

The level of historical detail in this book is excellent. Allan Mitchell supplies a lot of facts about the ancient monuments of Wiltshire and the resurgence of Druidism in the 18th and 19th centuries, without straying into lecture territory.

The plot is detailed and delightful. An old-fashioned ripping yarn, in fact. Holmes and Watson work well together, and Mitchell’s Lestrade is a complete delight.

The only qualm I have is that the dialogue is in italics, which did make reading a little difficult.

All in all, “Sherlock Holmes and the Ley Line Murders” is a very good read. Recommended.

Thank you to Steve at MX Publishing for the review copy.

You can buy “Sherlock Holmes and Ley Line Murders” directly from MX Publishing: https://mxpublishing.com/products/sherlock-holmes-and-the-ley-line-murders?_pos=4&_sid=693d1ea22&_ss=r

And check out my MX Publishing profile while you are there: https://mxpublishing.com/collections/sherlockian-author-profile-margaret-walsh

Waxwork

3 Dec

“Waxwork” by Peter Lovesey was the last of the Sgt Cribb books.

The scene is London in 1888: Mrs Miriam Cromer has confessed to the murder of the assistant to her photographer husband, because he was blackmailing her. Miriam is sentence to death, but before she can be hanged, doubts are cast on her confession. Sgt Cribb is tasked with investigating the matter. Is Miriam Cromer truly guilty of a most heinous murder?

The story is split between Cribb’s investigation and the actions of hangman James Berry in the run up to the execution. The result is a story with verve and bounce that keeps you in its grip right up to the final denouement.

The thing I found interesting was that as I read the book I kept getting mental flashbacks to the television adaptation of the book, which was done around the time of the Granada Sherlock Holmes adaptations. Which only goes to show just how strong the story is.

Highly recommended if you can get hold of a copy.

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