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Date With The Executioner
The Bow Street Rivals Mysteries – Book III
Edward Marston

Allison and Busby
16 February 2017/ ISBN 9780749021108
Mystery/Historical

Reviewed by Rachel A Hyde

 

Mark Bowerman has been receiving training in shooting from thief-taker Paul Skillen to enable him to stand a chance in a duel. Before this can take place, the duel is interrupted by the Bow Street Runners, who have been tipped off, and everybody involved is arrested. This might have saved Bowerman’s life but shortly after he is found dead outside an empty house. The man most likely to have killed him is his rival in love, but it looks as though this is not the case. The Skillen brothers must untangle whodunit and get the better of their bumbling rivals.

Edward Marston invariably comes up with a lively and involving tale in all his books and although this is not my favorite of his series, this is the strongest entry in it to date. The characters are all well known to us now and we can enjoy their exploits as the Skillens skillfully detect, the Runners blunder about comically and Hannah emotes in her latest theatrical role. There is plenty therefore to enjoy in particular the complex plot involving a beautiful woman, her suitors and how they fit into the puzzle as well as a case of fraud, a kidnapping and plenty of general action. Mr Marston is at his best when writing about detecting and the other part of the story involving Hannah and her play gets a little wearing after it is revisited over and over again with no progress. The flyleaf says the story takes place in 1817, while on the first page there is a date of 1816; this latter was the famous “year without a summer” but this is not mentioned anywhere. These minor points aside, this is a book that hits the ground running with vigorous events happening on every page, and therefore a lot to recommend it. The Regency period is most often depicted in romances which focus usually solely on high society, so it is a treat to read about the seamier side and see what else was happening. This is now shaping up to be yet another of the talented and versatile Mr Marston’s entertaining mystery series.

Reviews of other titles in this series

Shadow of the Hangman #1
Steps To The Gallows #2

 

Reviewed 2017
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