Today’s team review is from Noelle. She blogs here https://saylingaway.wordpress.com
Noelle has been reading Desire And Deceit by Carol J Hedges
It is 1868, and London is in the midst of a terrible heat wave. A body of a young man has disappeared from the police mortuary at Scotland Yard, an unheard of event, before there was even an autopsy. Detective Inspector Leo Stride and Detective Sergeant Jack Cully are baffled, having only the report of young Constable Williams, who discovered the body, to go on. Williams has a very observant eye, however, and will help them with their investigation.
At the same time, the two greedy Harbinger brothers, Arthur and Sherborne, are vying for the favor of their very rich, dying aunt, Euphemia Harbinger. Both are thoroughly distasteful characters. Sherborne with his wife, baby Timothy, and ten year old twins, Hanover and Harriet, descends on London to stay in a hotel, priming Hanover to earn the aunt’s approbation with the gift of a talking parrot. The parrot is funny and pivotal to the story! At the same time, Sherborne psychologically bullies Harriet, considering her, as a girl, unworthy of any attention.
Arthur Harbinger, MP and senior manager of a large insurance company, tries to thwart his brother. He spends his time ignoring his duties as an MP, preferring to bilk the insurance company out of money with claims on life insurance created in the names of people who don’t exist. He intends to use the money he gets from Aunt Euphemia to replay a large loan he took out to purchase a very expensive race horse.
Miss Lucy Landseer has recently installed herself as a private detective at 122A Baker Street and greets her very first client, Rosalind Whitely, whose mother passed away six months before and who had married a man a short time before she died. As a widower, Mr. Brooke now claims all of her mother’s estate, and Miss Whitely asks Miss Landseer to investigate his background. She cannot anticipate what a twisted path she will follow.
The author ties all of these threads together in a skillful fashion, with a satisfying ending
Carol Hedges is a master of creating the London scene, the city becoming as much a character as the people. She brings Victorian London to life in all its sights, its sounds, its filth, and all of its sordid and gas-lit splendor, baking in the heat of an endless summer. Her characters are well-rounded, humorous, matter-of-fact, or deliciously evil. In previous books, she has focused on the plight of women in this time. She doesn’t miss a beat with this tale, but brings in family dynamics as well, especially that of DI Stride.
The book is written in the present tense, and the author speaks directly to the reader at various times in the developing plot. At first I found this a bit disconcerting, but I realized that coupled with the tense, the author had created something very similar to a screen play, setting the scene and introducing characters.
I’m definitely going to read more of this author and recommend this book to anyone interested in Victorian London and a good mystery/detective story.
It is 1868, and the body of a young man has gone missing from the police mortuary at Scotland Yard, an event that has never happened before. Who was the mysterious corpse, and why was he spirited away in the night? These are the questions baffling Detective Inspector Stride and Detective Sergeant Cully as they set out to uncover the truth.
Meanwhile, two greedy, unscrupulous, inheritance-seeking brothers, Arthur and Sherborne Harbinger, descend upon London and their very rich dying aunt, each determined to get whatever they can out of her, and prepared to use whatever methods they can to win her favour. And over in her newly rented rooms in Baker Street, Miss Lucy Landseer, consulting private detective, has been presented with her first ever proper case to investigate ~ and finds it is one that will defy even her imaginative and inventive mind.
Set against the hottest summer on record, Desire & Deceit, the ninth outing for this popular Victorian Detectives series, explores how the love of money really is the root of all evil. Once again, Victorian London is brought to life in all its sights, its sounds, its sordid and gas-lit splendour. Another must-read book, teeming with memorable Dickensian-style characters.