The Final Case For Stride And Cully. @TerryTyler4 Reviews Victorian #Mystery Desire And Deceit By @carolJhedges

Today’s team review is from Terry. She blogs here https://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.com/

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Terry has been reading Desire And Deceit by Carol Hedges

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5 out of 5 stars


I’ve just finished the final outing in this series of stand-alone Victorian murder mysteries, and every one has been a winner.  Frankly I could carry on reading them ad infinitum, but I understand that a writer needs a change now and then!


We enter once more the world of Detectives Stride and Cully, in mid-nineteenth century London, and are introduced to a fine array of characters, many new faces and others whom we have met before.  Of the latter, I particularly like Miss Lucy Landseer, private detective (or ‘detector’ as the owner of a exclusive tobacconists calls Cully and his protegée Tom Williams), who is the star of one of the secondary storylines; the main one centres around a dead body without a name, the questions being who is he, who killed him, and why?


Ms Hedges’ excellent plotting and characterisation shines out on every page, with her familiar themes rippling through the story: the massive chasm of difference between the haves and the have-nots, the pretentiousness of the aspirational lower middle class, the lot of women of all classes, corrupt MPs with their ‘jobs for the boys’ (no change there then) and complete disinterest in and disregard for the scum of humanity that floats beneath them (i.e., everyone else apart from their families and peers).  Then there are the music hall artistes, the conmen, and those who think they can get away with murder.


I very much liked the parliamentary clerk known only as ‘the Replacement’ (the MP for which he works never does bother to find out his name), and Euphemia Harbinger, an elderly lady facing the end of her life, once celebrated in society, who is more wise and experienced than her grasping, inheritance-chasing family could ever imagine.  I also loved Harriet Harbinger, a young girl being constantly overlooked in favour of her twin brother, who has her sights set on the high seas and adventure.


As ever, the threads of the story were satisfactorily wrapped up, but this time I finished it with a certain sadness, knowing there will not be any more.  This book is an absolute treat, as are all of the other eight.  If you haven’t read any of them yet, I envy you!

Desc 1

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.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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London 1868. Noelle Reviews Victorian #mystery Desire and Deceit by @carolJhedges for Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Today’s team review is from Noelle. She blogs here https://saylingaway.wordpress.com

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Noelle has been reading Desire And Deceit by Carol J Hedges

Desire & Deceit (The Victorian Detectives Book 9) by [Carol 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.

Desc 1

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.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

Desire & Deceit (The Victorian Detectives Book 9) by [Carol Hedges]

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT Victorian #Mystery FAME & FORTUNE by @carolJhedges

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

#RBRT Review Team

Cathy has been reading Fame & Fortune by Carol J Hedges.

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Fame & Fortune is the eighth outing for DS Jack Cully, DI Lachlan Greig and DI Leo Stride, otherwise known as the Victorian Detectives. Carol Hedges immerses us once again in a London peopled with the sad and the bad, the rich and the poor, and the evocatively described back alleys, slums and more fashionable thoroughfares they inhabit.

When a body is found hanging from the scaffolding on a bridge, Detective Inspector Greig doesn’t agree with the presumption of suicide by the attending constable. It didn’t add up in Greig’s eyes but the ineptitude of the constable regarding the scene of the crime, as Greig believed that’s what it was, didn’t help.

Then we have Gerald Daubney, a collector of antiquities who has been robbed of his priceless netsuke collection and, it seems, his manservant has also disappeared.

In a shabby, cobbled passageway in Bloomsbury we find ten year old Izzy Harding, scraping a living of sorts and existing off very little, painting furniture for dolls’ houses, one of the many children working at the long tables. Her second job washing dishes in a diner at least comes with food, such as it is.

The indomitable Miss Lucy Landseer makes another appearance when she comes to the aid, not only of novelist, Mrs Riva Hemmyng-Stratton, but also a lady in an intolerable position, in a situation that would perhaps make a good plot for one of her books.

The villainous Black brothers, Herbert and Munro, encompass all that is bad and whose shady dealings have serious and continuing repercussions throughout the city.

I enjoy these books immensely and Carol Hedges’ writing and plotting never fails to draw me in, with witty and engaging prose. Characters are extremely well drawn, giving an immediate visual image and the existing cast continue to develop. And as always, London features as a character in its own right with atmospheric descriptions and the distinct social divide between all levels of society.

Book description

When the body of a man is discovered hanging from some scaffolding under one of London’s bridges, Scotland Yard’s detective division is called in to solve the mystery of his identity & how he died. What they discover is a web of crime and extortion, and at the heart of it, two evil brothers, Munro and Herbert Black. Their inquiries will bring them into contact with the strange world of Gerald Daubney, collector of Japanese curios, whose priceless collection of netsuke has disappeared.

Facing a similar loss is Mrs Riva Hemmyng-Stratton, writer of ‘silver-fork’ novels, who suddenly finds herself embroiled in a court case when she is sued for defamation and libel by Lord Edwin Lackington. Her priceless reputation as a writer is on the line. How on earth can she prove her innocence when the only person who could vouch for it is incarcerated in a private asylum?

Many old friends make appearances in the novel … and a certain meaningful relationship finally reaches its conclusion.

AmazonUk |

Celebrating 6 Years Of Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT With Team Member @CathyRy

Recently we celebrated our review team’s six year anniversary by revealing fourteen of the team’s favourite books.

You can find out which books they were in part one and part two.

I invited some of my team members to tell us more about being part of the book reviewing team.

Welcome to Cathy Ryan, who also writes book reviews at Between The Lines Book Blog

I’ve just been reminded that Rosie’s Book Review Team is six years old! That means BetweenTheLines is also six years old. I joined the team a few months after I began my blog and am still enjoying the experience. Rosie does a great job coordinating everything and many books have come my way that I probably would have missed otherwise, and more than a few authors have become firm favourites, such as Terry Tyler, Carol Hedges, Adrienne Vaughan, Liza Perrat…the list goes on.

One book in particular, The Cunning Woman’s Cup by Sue Hewitt, which I enjoyed immensely and is one I’ve read more than once, sent me on search to find the stone circle in the story. It was a trek to find the Duddo Stones but it was worth it for the atmosphere and the view.
I enjoy following series and there are several murder/mystery ones I’ve enjoyed including The Victorian Detectives by Carol Hedges, Madame Tulip cosy mysteries by David Ahern and Inspector de Silva Mysteries by Harriet Steel.
Not only that, several of us have become ‘real life’ friends and meet up every so often, which is fantastic. Long may it last!