Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #Histfic #Mystery Fear & Phantoms by @carolJhedges #TuesdayBookBlog

Today’s team review is from Terry, she blogs here http://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/

#RBRT Review Team

Terry has been reading Fear & Phantoms by Carol Hedges

5 stars (and possibly more)

This is the sixth book in Carol Hedges’ Victorian Detectives series, featuring the inimitable Leo Stride and Jack Cully.  As ever, it is a complete stand alone; there is the odd reference to events that occurred in previous books, but none of these would make the book any less enjoyable to a reader new to the series.

The story opens in London’s freezing early months of 1865, with a series of sightings of a ghostly Madonna in the Underground.  This, however, is but a humorous diversion from the main story, which involves a dastardly conman who defrauds banks to the extent of their ruin, and murders those who impede his success.

As ever, the star of the show is mid-Victorian era London itself, with many delightful, larger-than-life characters to illustrate its many faces.  You will meet the enchanting Pip and Muggly – starving street children who press their noses up against bakery shop windows – the rich in their gambling dens, hard-working clerks Helen and her twin brother Lambert Trigg, the lovely Lucy Landseer – aspiring novelist and writer of controversial articles – and the Triggs’ landlords, Mr and Mrs Mutesius, so beautifully painted that you can almost smell the fustiness of their downstairs quarters, and many more.

One quip I have to mention ~ Jack Cully’s disapproval of the name of a new cosmetic.  ‘I’m not a religious man, but all the same, I don’t approve of using Bible names like that.  It’s wrong.  Virgin soap, Virgin cream ~ whatever next?  Virgin trains?’

No detail is spared in illustrating the gap between rich and poor, the plight of those who are just scraping together enough to keep body and soul together in grim lodgings, and the careless attitude of the unprincipled rich.  Ms Hedges’ love of London and the period shines through, as always, her impeccable research and easy wit making this novel a joy to read; I read it in bed, as I always do with this series; curled up under the duvet I could almost believe that outside my window was Victorian London.  I loved every word.

Book description

When a young man’s body is discovered buried deep beneath the winter snow, Detectives Stride and Cully little realise where the discovery will take them. Is his murder a random, one-off event, or could the death be linked to the mysteriously elusive individual who has already brought down one of the City’s long-standing private banks?

Mishap, misunderstanding and mystery dog their footsteps, as the Scotland Yard detectives find themselves in very murky territory indeed, struggling to keep their heads above water in the umbrous underworld of murder and  financial fraud.

Can they unmask the dark brutal mastermind lurking at the centre of it all, before he strikes again?

A taut, gripping historical crime novel that lays bare the dubious practices of the Victorian banking businesses and entices the reader into the shady world of high-class gambling houses, where fortunes can be made or lost on the luck of the cards.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT Historical #Mystery Fear And Phantoms by @carolJhedges

Today’s team review is from Liz, she blogs here, https://lizannelloyd.wordpress.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Liz has been reading Fear And Phantoms by Carol Hedges

I always look forward to another volume in Carol Hedges’ Victorian mystery series.  Once again, she has created an effective picture of the grime and poverty of 1860s London, filled with vivid characters, good, evil, peculiar and captivating.  In Fear and Phantoms, we face the very real horror of murder and fraud as well as a mysterious vision of the Madonna in the tunnel of the Metropolitan Underground railway.

An intelligent young woman, Helena Trigg, who works as a book-keeper, is baffled when her twin brother, Lambert, a senior bank clerk, disappears and comes under suspicion of fraud.  Luckily, she seeks help from reliable Detective Inspector Stride and kindly Inspector Greig, who wonder if there might be a connection to their current murder investigation. But nothing is that simple.  With wit and humour intermingled with suspense, Carol Hedges leads us through the parallel plot strands.

My favourite characters in this novel are the delightful journalist and author Lucy Landseer and the hard-working, irrepressible young cleaner, Pin.  Lucy is ahead of her time, determined to have a successful career, studying to improve her mind and certainly not intending to be dependent on a man. Pin is poor and downtrodden, but she takes care of “the boy, Muggly,” who has no-one else, and she will not tolerate unfairness or cruelty.  Both these young ladies participate actively in solving the mysteries.

There are so many delicious titbits to discover within this novel, such as names like the Hon. Tom Scallywagg MP and a creepy landlord called Mr Mutesius.  A must within a Victorian novel is a detailed description of the many exhibits in the taxidermists where we recoil in horror at the shelves, “of glass cases, full of birds and beasts in a variety of strange and unlikely poses,” but Pin loves to talk affectionately to “the tiny kittens in frilled bibs and tuckers… having a tea-party in their minute prison.”

This exciting tale can easily be read as a stand-alone or as an introduction to the wonderful series but those of you already familiar with the Victorian murder mystery books will find all their expectations well-rewarded.

Book description

When a young man’s body is discovered buried deep beneath the winter snow, Detectives Stride and Cully little realise where the discovery will take them. Is his murder a random, one-off event, or could the death be linked to the mysteriously elusive individual who has already brought down one of the City’s long-standing private banks?

Mishap, misunderstanding and mystery dog their footsteps, as the Scotland Yard detectives find themselves in very murky territory indeed, struggling to keep their heads above water in the umbrous underworld of murder and  financial fraud.

Can they unmask the dark brutal mastermind lurking at the centre of it all, before he strikes again?

A taut, gripping historical crime novel that lays bare the dubious practices of the Victorian banking businesses and entices the reader into the shady world of high-class gambling houses, where fortunes can be made or lost on the luck of the cards.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS