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The Blue and the Grey
A Grand and Batchelor Victorian Mystery – Book I
M J Trow

Severn House Digital (Ebook)post
1 April 2015 / ASIN: B00T9W1QVW
Historical Mystery

Reviewed by Rachel A Hyde


What happened at Ford's Theater one night in 1865 is history, and Captain Matthew Grand just happened to be there with his fiancée when Lincoln was shot. Grand tries to catch John Wilkes Booth but fails, and instead is drafted by two government agents to go to London to find the missing conspirator. Grand has encountered this man and will not forget his voice, but once in London he soon discovers how totally huge the place is, and alien to somebody only used to the States. Meanwhile, Telegraph reporter James Bachelor ends up getting arrested for the murder of a prostitute he met only a short while earlier. Soon the two are forming an alliance to stop the Haymarket strangler and find the missing assassin.…

I have been a fan of Trow's historical crime fiction since the first Lestrade book, and am pleased to have discovered another new series by this talented author. This one hits the ground running with Lincoln's assassination, and Trow manages to bring immediacy into this history book event with Grand's bystander outlook. At times it seems as if there are two stories running concurrently that do not have a lot to do with each other, and I felt that each one would have filled a book on its own. The more interesting of the two has to be Grand's mission, as there are already a great many stories about prostitutes getting murdered in foggy London streets and this is just one more. A different type of murder would have maybe brought the same freshness to Batchelor's investigation, as Trow manages to give to Grand's, and certainly it is the latter plot strand that stands out. There are also some fine thumbnail sketches of the various characters, including the Lestrade-like Tanner and many instances of Trow's trademark dry wit. We are treated to some excellent descriptions of the lively newspaper office and various theatres, from Ford's to a London performance by the Great Maskelyne. There is a lot to enjoy in here, and now the preliminaries are out of the way I will look forward to reading more about these two sleuths.

Reviewed 2015