TO A DYNAMITE PARTY
By Peter Lovesey
Allison & Busby - May 2002
ISBN 0749005521 PB
1884 London, England
Reviewed by: Rachel A Hyde, MyShelf.com
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I always look forward to Allison & Busby
re-releasing another of Peter Lovesey's timeless classics of historical
crime fiction. There is so much to enjoy in these novels, which are just
long enough: the meticulously researched background of Victorian London,
the wry humor, and well-rounded characters and the fast-paced, scintillating
plots that feature startling surprises.
This novel first appeared back in 1974. In it, Lovesey turns his attentions
to the historical (though ever-topical) subject of Irish Home Rule and
the Fenians. The hapless Cribb is sent on a course to learn all about
the making of "infernal machines" and explosives following a
series of bomb attacks in London, and is also cautioned to keep an eye
on a certain constable suspected of being a closet sympathizer - none
other than his own faithful sidekick Constable Thackeray. Then Cribb gets
involved with the fortunes of an Irish-American hammer thrower and finds
himself an reluctant member of the Dynamite Party alongside a beautiful
woman and a disfigured genius.
This is, to my mind, one of Lovesey's best novels, a thrilling tale that,
if it featured Orientals, could have come from the pen of Sax Rohmer.
I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. You couldn't cram much more into
the pages and even if you were hoping for a whodunit, which this isn't,
so much happens that it also compensates for the lack of surprises. I've
read stories like this before - this isn't groundbreaking original fiction
by any means - but if you want a fast novel with humor and spot-on historical
research then you will enjoy this one. You could say that the whole thing
goes with a bang.