Date: April 2003
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Historical Crime [1893, London]
Rachel A Hyde
Russell formerly swam against the tide with his Gothic whodunits
featuring the Warwickshire-based duo of Inspector Jackson and Sergeant
Bottomley. Now he turns his attention to Scotland Yard and DI Box
with his large sidekick, Sergeant Knollys, who have their work cut
out for them in foiling a fiendish plot to give the Kaiser the upper
Dr Otto Seligmann is blown up in the garden folly that he used as
a library, it is a blow for England, as he was in favor of peace.
But others are rattling the sabers and want war and a brave new
Germany that will have an empire greater than England’s. Box
has to find out who the conspirators are. He is aided in his task
by the sinister Colonel Kershaw, head of secret intelligence, who
is also keen to enlist a young female friend of Box’s. As
events overtake them, they are engaged in a desperate race to avert
a disastrous war.
Bombs, sinister spies, charismatic
agents and dastardly plots abound in this delightful thriller that
mixes whodunit and spy story elements. Swiftly-paced and introducing
the entertaining character of Colonel Kershaw, this novel has at
once the old-fashioned charm of a Victorian adventure story whilst
being pleasantly unlike many other historical crime novels. There
is a compelling plot, but it might have been even better if it had
been less predictable. Otherwise, good Boys (and Girls) Own stuff.
Russell continues to have fun with the historical crime sub-genre.