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A Murder in Montague Place
Martyn Beardsley

Robert Hale
31 December 2012/ ISBN 9780719807046
Historical Mystery / 1844 / London
Amazon US || UK

Reviewed by Rachel A Hyde

Inspector Bucket of the newly formed Detective Department housed in Scotland Yard has a new and challenging case on his hands. The respectable Dr. Scambles has been imprisoned for murdering one Edward Mizzentoft, and his distraught wife Eleanora insists that he is innocent. This is not Bucket’s case but that of his colleague the flamboyant“Flash”Billy Stope but following the mysterious theft of valuable ferns from a nearby house he becomes involved. Keenly aided by new recruit Mr. Gordon, the heir to an Earldom, he is determined to find out who the real killer is.

I do hope that this is the start of a new series, as there is much to recommend this novel. The fog-bound, grimy streets of Dickens’ London come to life, as the wryly-humorous Bucket and his noble but naïve sidekick sally forth to discover whodunit. Not many novels are set in the 1840s and I have never read one about the founding of Scotland Yard so there is also the added bonus of originality, something much needed in yet another book about Victorian London. There is an interesting feeling of much as yet uncovered in the background of both the detectives and as the interlinked cases started to gather momentum I was gripped. It is not easy to add much to such as popular time to set mysteries in this one succeeds in being pacy, entertaining, by turns amusing and tragic and possessing some sense of the decade in which it is set. I would certainly read another, and look forward to finding out more about the pair if more titles in the series are forthcoming.

Reviewed 2013