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Watchers of the Dead
Alec Lonsdale Victorian Mystery – Book II
BY Simon Beaufort

Severn House
1 May 2019/ ASIN: B07NVT7VNF
Mystery / Historical / Holiday: Christmas

Reviewed by Rachel Hyde 


London, 1882, and it is almost Christmas. Reporter Alec Lonsdale and his colleague, Hulda Friedricks, are attending the opening of the new Natural History Museum for Alec’s paper, The Pall Mall Gazette, when a grim discovery is made. The body of an important employee has been found dead and mutilated in the basement, and a trio of cannibals brought over for a live exhibition have vanished. Also on the loose is a madman who tried to assassinate the queen. When Alec discovers that several other important men have been similarly killed, it is time to investigate. Especially as the police aren’t doing a very good job, and mysteriously, all the violent murders have been recorded as “natural causes”.

Simon Beaufort is the pen name of Susanna Gregory and another writer, so if you are familiar with their books you will know what to expect: lots of murders, madcap characters and events, plenty of action and humor and a fun read. This book delivers all of that, with Alec and Hulda investigating an increasing number of deaths while on the trail of both the cannibals and the escaped lunatic. Then there are the Watchers, a sinister organization that has something huge planned for Christmas Eve and appears to be run by people calling themselves “Grim Death”.

Many of the characters were real people, although presumably they were not quite as larger than life as depicted here. This is not a short book, but there is a lot in it, so when I had finished it, I felt I had been on quite an adventure. The series characters are developing nicely, and there are some revelations that I did not see coming. I will be reading the next book in the series, and anybody who likes an amusing romp will enjoy this series.

UK Reviewer: Rachel Hyde's work can be found in The Bead Magazine, Making Jewellery and
Reviewed 2019