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Murder at the Manchester Museum
The Museum Series – #5
BY Jim Eldridge

Allison and Busby
23 January 2020/ ASIN: B07VDN9NH6

Reviewed by Rachel Hyde 


1895: Former Scotland Yard detective Daniel Wilson and his archaeologist partner Abigail Fenton have been hired by Manchester Museum to look into two murders. Both victims were poor women and nobody knows their identity; the police aren’t interested in pursuing the deaths of two nobodies and prove obstructive to the idea of private sleuths investigating. Before one of the women was killed she had visited the barracks and was asking questions about events from eighty years earlier. But surely nobody that old is likely to be still alive?

I wasn’t sure about this series when I read the first entry but have been finding that it gets better and better. Like all the best mysteries the tale starts with a mysterious murder (or two) and as the detectives uncover more and the pool of suspects widens the story gets more exciting. After their last case where the local police were helpful this time they are anything but. Abigail is an archaeologist, and in this book we get to see that she is quite famous and rather surprisingly none of her fellows seem to resent the fact that she is a woman. I don’t know enough about how female archaeologists were viewed in the 1890s to comment with authority but it seemed surprising. Daniel and Abigail are an item and very much in love, but this is not a romantic novel and thus the pair is free to spend every page detecting. They don’t keep snipping at one another in the cliché battle of the sexes that mars too many novels but get on with the job, their skills complementing each other. There is a lot in the story, with the odd infodump moment pertaining to Manchester in the 1890s and eighty years earlier but mostly 100% pure detective novel. I hope this series runs for a good long time.

UK Reviewer: Rachel Hyde's work can be found in The Bead Magazine, Making Jewellery and
Reviewed 2020