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Inspector Abberline and the Gods of Rome
Inspector Abberline Mysteries - Book I
Simon Clark

Robert Hale
30 June 2014/ ISBN 9780719810848
Historical Mystery

Reviewed by Rachel A Hyde


Inspector Abberline is famous for his part in the Jack the Ripper case, but here he is having another adventure. Sir Alfred Denby has been killed in an explosion, but it is soon revealed not to be an accident, but murder. Things become more mysterious when another Denby reveals that nearly all of a large family of brothers have met strange ends. Now it is up to Abberline to try and save Professor William Denby, who is an inventor and is working on a balloon project for the army. William lives in the wilds of Wales, so Abberline and his trusty reporter sidekick, Thomas Lloyd, have to travel there to prevent his death and work out what it all has to do with some Roman statues.

The game is afoot! No, this is not Holmes and Watson but Abberline and Lloyd. At times I almost forgot. There is plenty of room for another Victorian pair of investigators, and I enjoyed this story, which combined mystery with adventure and the classic Conan Doyle frisson of the strange. This is a pacy novel, as the duo has to save the professor amid some imaginative plots to bring down the Denbys and grab the statues, a business replete with colorful characters and some eerie moments. Mr Clark is better known as a writer of horror stories, and those hoping for just a detective story with any strangeness explained away a la Conan Doyle might be disappointed. I truly enjoyed this story apart from the superfluous insertion of a servant girl’s talent for seeing visions of the future. This is a supernatural element that detracts from the main story and skews the whole novel into a different genre, but that is merely my opinion. I would certainly read more in the series, although I hope for more mystery and less paranormal.

Reviewed 2014