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Bills of Mortality
Inspector Box Series· Book VIII
Nortman Russell

The Priory Gate Press
1 September 2011 /ISBN: 9780956772404
Historical Crime / 1894 /London and Yorkshire
Amazon --- AMAZON UK

Reviewed by Rachel A Hyde

Dr Antoine Landru is a benevolent man who runs a free clinic for the inhabitants of one of London·s poorest districts. Apart from having old-fashioned ideas concerning how diseases are transmitted, he seems a philanthropic pillar of the community. When plague pit dating from the ·Great Visitation of 1665 is opened he does not hesitate to tell people that soon they will start dying from the bubonic plague, and surely enough they do. With riots on their hands, the police are soon busy; but when Inspector Box hears of a plot to start a war in Europe, things take an even more sinister turn.

The game's afoot! Sherlock Holmes might not feature in this thrilling Victorian tale of death and derring-do, but there is so much else to enjoy you are unlikely to miss him. Box, Knollys and Colonel Kershaw make a formidable team, and pages fly as the action soon heats up and leads in some surprising directions. This is not a mystery novel as such, as it is not hard to guess whodunit and why; categorize it instead as a crime/adventure novel. Victorian London and snowbound Yorkshire come to life with some remarkably tactile descriptions, whether of riots, open plague pits, discussions with shady characters or chases through snowy landscapes. There might not be that many pages in this book, but there is plenty of story as well as, like all good book series, more information about the recurring characters. I know I can always expect a good yarn with Mr Russell, and once again I am not disappointed.

Reviewed 2012
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