Michael Brennan and his trusty sidekick, Constable Jaggery,
are called to investigate a death at Wigan’s George
Street Elementary School. Miss Dorothea Gadsworth was applying
for a position there as a teacher but was unsuccessful. The
next morning the caretaker found her dead in a locked classroom
with a suicide note. An open and shut case? Not to Brennan,
who soon discovers evidence to make it a murder. With a missing
child to hunt for as well it starts to look more sinister…
Last year I reviewed the first in the series Striking
Murder and was impressed enough to want to read about
Brennan and Jaggery again. The first case painted a grim,
gritty picture of Wigan in the bitter winter of 1893, with
its striking miners and vast gulf between the rich and poor.
A year on and the focus is on the more contained world of
a school. But despite its outwardly organized appearance,
problems lurk. An old crime from fifteen years earlier resurfaces,
and the detectives have to connect this with the dead woman
and missing boy in order to discover whodunit and why.
is a very well plotted book with revelations or mysteries
appearing on almost every page, and I couldn’t put it
down. The detectives detect and, apart from Brennan’s
happy marriage, this is one series that does not mire itself
in the sleuths’ personal lives, meaning that this truly
is a crime novel rather than a romance or something else.
Another point in its favor is the setting, which is not only
original but very well described, including plenty of almost
tactile descriptions of the mean streets of Wigan. Much as
I enjoyed the first book, I liked this one even better, so
eagerly await the third in the series. If you like Victorian
mysteries check out this series.
Other reviews in this series