London 1891: Fresh from their
Ripper investigations in the first book (The
Gaslight Stalker) Esther and Jack are planning to
get married. Esther plans to sell her house so they can buy
one together, and the new owners let it to a trade union.
This is not an ordinary union, but one for working women run
by Helen Trenchard. Soon Jack and Percy are on the case of
a pest who is stealing ladies’ underwear (sometimes
when they are wearing it) and delivering threatening messages.
Esther becomes involved when Helen confesses that she has
also been a victim…
This is the second in the series about Jewish seamstress and
amateur detective Esther Jacobs and her Scotland Yard detective
fiancé Jack Enright. The first introduced the characters
and gave us an interesting twist on the Ripper case, now the
pair is on the trail of a pervert into ladies’ underwear
but with connections to the world of women’s trade unions.
Despite being written by a man this series has a feminist
slant, with the continuing theme of working women in a man’s
world and the determined figure of Esther. At times she can
come over as being rather bossy and outspoken, particularly
for her time and she certainly stands up to all the men she
encounters. Jack and Percy are amiable foils and the case
takes some entertaining turns before its conclusion. This
is a very readable series with a fairly cozy tone that is
sure to appeal to readers of historical mysteries.