30 June 2015/ ISBN 9780719816611
by Rachel A Hyde
|There is a serial
killer at large on Hampstead Heath in late Victorian London.
He seems to pick his victims at random, and overpowers them
with ease. Scotland Yard has hired two investigators to look
into this, Major Henry Steele and Sergeant Mason, whose army
careers stand them in good stead for this type of work. Their
sleuthing takes them to where the last victim expired, the home
of the Austins who appear to have some secrets of their own.
This is possibly the start of a new series, and I will be eagerly
awaiting the second book if it is. There is a definite whiff
of the gothic about this fast-paced novel, and the dry wit of
Steele is just the right touch to counteract some of the story’s
darker elements. A dodgy doctor, a shady lawyer, a dying comedian
and the violence of Mr. Austin add up to a lively tale of murder
and secrets that is not exactly original, but makes up by being
very entertaining. The various twists and turns throw up red
herrings and although guessing whodunit is not that difficult,
the fun is in the plot and characters and what they get up to.
If you like historical mysteries with a frisson of the bizarre
then this ought to please.