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The Body in the Thames
Chaloner’s Sixth Exploit in Restoration London
Susanna Gregory

Sphere (Little, Brown)
20 January 2011 / ISBN 1847442536
Historical Crime /1664 London
US || UK

Reviewed by Rachel A Hyde

Thomas Chaloner is doing something that he actually wants to do for once – getting married. But even at this happy event a body is found in the church bearing the sinister message “do not interfere”. Could this have any bearing on the other body that was found in the Thames recently who just happens to be Thomas’ former Dutch brother-in-law? There is a delegation from Holland in London engaged in talks and trying to bring about peace between the two countries. Then there is a plot to steal the crown jewels, and just who is it who is trying to ensure that whatever happens there will be a war?

It can truthfully be said that there is nothing quite like Ms Gregory’s inimitable mix of eccentric characters, humor, murder, espionage and history. Books set during the Restoration are sadly rare (I’ve always wondered why) and as usual there is plenty to fill up a fat novel with; court intrigue, the uneasy relationship with the Dutch, coffee houses, newspapers and of course plenty of furtive backward glances at the recent Commonwealth period. You can expect plenty of story in one of these books and you won’t be disappointed in this sixth adventure; plenty of surprises too and as many twists and turns as London’s maze of seedy alleys. As ever with a series like this you can find out more about the various characters and even when nothing much is going on…well, I guess there never actually is a moment that can be thusly described. I’m not even sure that editing is needed as despite the considerable length the action never lets up, so I can happily say that this series shows no sign of running out of steam and this particular entry is the best yet. Who said the Restoration was boring anyway?!

Reviews of other titles in this series

A Conspiracy of Violence
Blood On The Strand
The Butcher of Smithfield
The Westminster Poisoner
A Murder on London Bridge
The Body in the Thames

Reviewed 2011