Another Review at MyShelf.Com


Steps To The Gallows
The Bow Street Rivals - Book II
Edward Marston

Allison and Busby
16 February 2016/ ISBN 9780749016968

Reviewed by Rachel A Hyde


Thief takers and identical twins, Peter and Paul Skillen, are back with a second case, this time trying to find out who killed newspaper editor Leonidas Paige. Due to the scurrilous nature of the paper, a lot of prominent people were baying for his blood, so there is a wide range of suspects. But who drew the caricatures, going under the name of Virgo, and are they at risk of murder as well? The Skillens must discover whodunit before their arch rivals, the Bow Street Runners.

This is the second in Mr Marston’s new Regency set series (Shadow of the Hangman is also up on our site). Set in 1816, it gives a lively depiction of London’s low life in nice contrast to the ton, who are usually the protagonists of books set at this time. Indeed, apart from the odd famous name, this book could have been set anytime from the mid 18th century to the mid 19th. The brothers get to visit a debtor’s prison, delve into the world of print selling and journalism, as well as having to always stay a step ahead of the opposition. There is plenty of detection as they chase around investigating the various suspects, and although it is not too hard to guess whodunit, reading about it is a lot of fun. Adding to the general sense of fun are the Runners, a trio of comic bunglers who get everything wrong. They are corrupt and untrained, a far cry from the way they are usually depicted, but then they are not the heroes in this series. This broad comedy fits well with the Hogarthian world they inhabit, and like all of this author’s work, this novel is an entertaining page turner, albeit one that could stand some careful editing. To date I would not say that this is one of Mr Marston’s finest series, but perhaps that is his fault for setting the bar for this type of novel rather high. A jolly, escapist read

Reviews of other titles in this series

Shadow of the Hangman #1
Steps To The Gallows #2
Date With The Executioner #3
Fugitive From The Grave #4

Reviewed 2016