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Terror By Gaslight
Edward Taylor

Robert Hale
30 June 2015/ ISBN 9780719816611

Reviewed 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.
Reviewed 2015