📚 An investigation into a frozen corpse used as a snowman! @barbtaub reviews Victorian #Mystery Murder & Michief by Carol Hedges @riotgrandma72, for Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Today’s team review is from Barb.

Barb blogs here https://barbtaub.com/

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Rosie’s Book Review Team

Barb has been reading Murder & Mischief by Carol Hedges

In her Victorian Detective series, author Carol Hedges offers both Charles Dickens and Arthur Conan Doyle the sincerest form of flattery as she imitates their signature tropes in Murder & Mischief, her tenth book in the series. But at the same time, she invites the reader to laugh with her as she undermines those tropes to create her signature subversive, funny, sometimes icky, and occasionally sweet police procedurals, Victorian style.

We have plucky orphans and their ghoulish keepers, straight out of Oliver Twist, as intrepid young siblings Liza and Flitch escape the workhouse to seek their fortune in London.  Their self-reliant optimism contrasts with the entitled behavior of the sons of a wealthy businessman who have spent “…three years at Eton, learning Latin, Greek and social superiority.”

Iconic detective Sherlock Holmes is translated into Miss Lucy Landseer, writer and self styled consulting detective whose latest client has hired her to track down Liza and Flitch. Instead of a celibate, borderline-sociopath, and very peculiarly-dressed amateur detective with a less intelligent Dr. Watson sidekick, brilliant sibling Mycroft, and university professor Moriarty as arch-enemy, Lucy is a self-reliant, decidedly non-celibate, fashionably dressed detective who solves crimes by asking questions and writing down clues in her notebook, all with only the occasional help from her compliant, supportive lover—a university professor who isn’t anybody’s nemesis. Instead of insisting the plot thickens, the game’s afoot, or even “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth,” the eminently practical Lucy shares her philosophy that “…the investigating mind works better when it can see the actual places in which events occurred.” 

But first and foremost, we have our old friends at Scotland Yard, who are investigating the mystery of a frozen corpse used as a snowman, with only a top hat as clue to his identity. When the hat’s former owner, wealthy businessman and all-round nasty piece of work Mr. James William Malin Barrowclough, is also murdered, the group’s recently promoted member, Tom Williams, is on the case. It was as much Tom’s mastery of punctuation as his ‘fine sense of injustice’ that first brought him to the attention of Detective Inspector Grieg.

Grieg recalls the first time he encountered young Tom Williams, a lowly beat constable with more education and intelligence than was normally the case. He used words like ‘amiss’ in his reports; he could punctuate. And he didn’t begin every sentence with ‘I was proceeding’.”

That brings us to the final player, the city of London itself. All of their stories intersect and intertwine in the best Dickens tradition with London as the connecting thread. “And now, events that seem totally disparate and unconnected, are suddenly about to collide, as often happens in Babylondon, the greatest city on earth.” Victorian London is a living, breathing creature on a massive scale. “After sunset, when the lamplighter has run round the streets, and in the flickering yellow glow of the streetlamps, there is a moment when day stands on the threshold of night. The city seems to catch its breath.” Amusingly, an affluent French couple are appalled by the dirt and construction everywhere compared to the wide boulevards of Paris, while London native Tom Williams is equally horrified by the filth and noise of Birmingham.

As I’ve said about this series before, if you like your mysteries in multiples, your tropes both visible and upside down, your settings both historically exact and contemporaneously delightful, and your characters varied, funny, and heart-tugging, then Murder & Mischief is for you. If you haven’t seen this series before, I strongly urge you to start from the beginning. If the cast are old friends and new acquaintances, then sit back for a wild trip through Victorian London as only Carol Hedges can take you.  Either way, you’re the lucky one!

Orange rose book description
Book description

It is January, a time of year when not much crime usually happens. But when Inspector Greig is unexpectedly summoned to the opulent Hampstead residence of Mr. James William Malin Barrowclough, a rich businessman, he embarks upon one of the strangest and most bizarre investigations that he has ever been involved in.

Why has Barrowclough been targeted? What is inside the mysterious parcels that keep arriving at Hill House, and why won’t he cooperate with the police? The case will take the Scotland Yard detectives on a journey out of London and into the victim’s past, to uncover the secrets and lies that haunt his present.

Murder & Mischief is the tenth novel in the series, and in the great tradition of Charles Dickens and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, it entices the reader once again along the teeming streets and dimly gas lit thoroughfares of Victorian London, where rich and poor, friend and foe alike mix and mingle.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

📚’You’re in for a treat’. @TerryTyler4 reviews #HistoricalMystery Murder & Mischief by Carol Hedges @riotgrandma72 for Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Today’s team review is from Terry.

Terry blogs here https://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.com/

Orange rose and Rosie's Book Review Team
Rosie’s Book Review Team

Terry has been reading Murder & Mischief by Carol Hedges.

5 out of 5 stars!

This is Book Ten of the series and I have read the other nine; you will, therefore, gather that these books absolutely work for me. They’re linked, in that the same detectives appear in all books, and each story has cameo appearances from characters found in the earlier ones, but they’re completely stand-alone. My advice is to start with #1, though – you’ll want to read them all, I promise!

Murder & Mischief, set mostly in London in the mid-19th Century, features a mysterious snow-covered corpse in the garden of a wealthy and unscrupulous land developer, an even more mysterious top hat, two children who have escaped from workhouse drudgery, a clever private detective (female, shock horror!), a community of bohemian artists, and Ms Hedges’ trademark supporting cast of grimy folk in dingy pubs and lodging houses, doing what they feel they must to stay afloat … a prostitute here, a social climber there, all crowded into Victorian London at its best, worst and every level in between. Then there is the ancient and dilapidated Ships Head down at the Docks, almost a character in itself. The ‘formula’ is similar in each one, but it never gets tired, and I always hope there will be more.

It’s not easy to review a Book 10 in a series without repeating oneself, so I’ll leave it with this: it’s great. They’re all great. Curl up on the sofa with cushions, a blanket, a cup of hot chocolate and a candle or two (to feel like part of the setting!), and you’re in for a treat!

Orange rose book description
Book description

It is January, a time of year when not much crime usually happens. But when Inspector Greig is unexpectedly summoned to the opulent Hampstead residence of Mr. James William Malin Barrowclough, a rich businessman, he embarks upon one of the strangest and most bizarre investigations that he has ever been involved in.

Why has Barrowclough been targeted? What is inside the mysterious parcels that keep arriving at Hill House, and why won’t he cooperate with the police? The case will take the Scotland Yard detectives on a journey out of London and into the victim’s past, to uncover the secrets and lies that haunt his present.

Murder & Mischief is the tenth novel in the series, and in the great tradition of Charles Dickens and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, it entices the reader once again along the teeming streets and dimly gas lit thoroughfares of Victorian London, where rich and poor, friend and foe alike mix and mingle.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

📚’I thoroughly enjoyed my introduction to the Victorian Detectives series’. @SueBavey reviews Murder & Mischief by Carol Hedges @riotgrandma72 for Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Today’s team review is from Sue.

Sue blogs here https://suelbavey.wordpress.com/

Orange rose and Rosie's Book Review Team
Rosie’s Book Review Team

Sue has been reading Murder & Mischief by Carol Hedges.

Murder and Mischief is the tenth book in the popular Victorian Detectives series by Carol Hedges, a series which has been on my radar for a couple of years now and I am glad I have finally given it a try. It is written in the present tense, which adds immediacy and a feeling that you are watching the various tableaux unfold on a stage in front of you. A raft of expertly researched historical detail and well-described sights and sounds brings each of these scenes to life:

“And always the mechanical sounds of drilling, hammering, digging, and the crash of falling masonry as the underground railway bores its way through structures that have withstood the ravages of time, but cannot stand before the workmen’s tools. While, beneath the teeming and despoiled metropolis, dark tunnels wait the trainloads of passengers, who will experience the disorientation and dislocation of travelling underneath the chaotic city above their heads.”

Despite being book 10 in a series, this is a standalone murder mystery. A dead man shows up in the grounds of a businessman’s garden, found by his sons and disguised as a snowman, wearing the top hat belonging to the homeowner, Mr Barrowclough. As shocking as this discovery is, things soon escalate alarmingly with Barrowclough receiving dead birds in the mail and culminating with him being pushed in front of a train. Enter the Victorian Detectives who this series of books is named after. Some of them are more eager to pursue the case and get down to the nitty gritty of detective work than others.

As well as the murder of Barrowclough we have a side story of two runaway children, who have escaped the wretchedness of their workhouse and come to London. These children are the extremely resourceful Flitch and Liza. Their Father was forced to journey to the USA in order to obtain work and when he returns for them, he finds his home demolished and family disappeared to the workhouse. His wife is dead and children have absconded. He asks a female Private Investigator to look for them in London since he must return in haste to America. The children have luckily fallen on their feet and have been working as artist’s models for an artist who is a member of the Transformed Brethren – an art movement of the time about which the author expertly educates her readers. There follow a number of cat and mouse chases resulting in the children getting separated from one another and a few unlikely coincidences which make the reader want to shout out in order to aid them in their escape and reconnection.

Meanwhile the murder of Barrowclough takes the detective on the case to Birmingham and allows further detailed urban description, highlighting the differences between London and this city at the time.

I thoroughly enjoyed my introduction to the Victorian Detectives series and found it to be a real page turner. I will be revisiting the series soon!

Orange rose book description
Book description

It is January, a time of year when not much crime usually happens. But when Inspector Greig is unexpectedly summoned to the opulent Hampstead residence of Mr. James William Malin Barrowclough, a rich businessman, he embarks upon one of the strangest and most bizarre investigations that he has ever been involved in.

Why has Barrowclough been targeted? What is inside the mysterious parcels that keep arriving at Hill House, and why won’t he cooperate with the police? The case will take the Scotland Yard detectives on a journey out of London and into the victim’s past, to uncover the secrets and lies that haunt his present.

Murder & Mischief is the tenth novel in the series, and in the great tradition of Charles Dickens and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, it entices the reader once again along the teeming streets and dimly gas lit thoroughfares of Victorian London, where rich and poor, friend and foe alike mix and mingle.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

📚’Pacy, quirky, and highly enjoyable.’ Fiona reviews Victorian #Mystery Murder & Mischief by Carol Hedges @riotgrandma72 for Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Today’s team review is from Fiona.

Find out more about Fiona here https://fionaforsythauthor.co.uk/blog/

Orange rose and Rosie's Book Review Team
Rosie’s Book Review Team

Fiona has been reading Murder & Mischief by Carol Hedges.

This beautifully-written Victorian murder mystery is full of surprises and wit, while never neglecting the seedy side of the era and the plight of the masses. There are many nods to Dickens, Conan Doyle and the like, always fun to spot, but the author adds her own touches: the consulting detective is a woman, the affable urchins do not cloy, the villains are villainous without being caricatures. The author keeps a hold on her wide cast of characters with a clever use – again inspired by Dickens? – of memorable names, such the wonderful Armand Malpractis, and short, well-introduced scenes.


The scenery is stunningly well described but never overpowers. The research is worn lightly, just as historical novelists are always told – so easy to say, so difficult to achieve!


But the driving pace of the action, laced with humor and occasionally true pathos, is what keeps you reading, along with the sheer enjoyment of finely-honed and perfectly-balanced sentences.

Orange rose book description
Book description

It is January, a time of year when not much crime usually happens. But when Inspector Greig is unexpectedly summoned to the opulent Hampstead residence of Mr. James William Malin Barrowclough, a rich businessman, he embarks upon one of the strangest and most bizarre investigations that he has ever been involved in.

Why has Barrowclough been targeted? What is inside the mysterious parcels that keep arriving at Hill House, and why won’t he cooperate with the police? The case will take the Scotland Yard detectives on a journey out of London and into the victim’s past, to uncover the secrets and lies that haunt his present.

Murder & Mischief is the tenth novel in the series, and in the great tradition of Charles Dickens and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, it entices the reader once again along the teeming streets and dimly gas lit thoroughfares of Victorian London, where rich and poor, friend and foe alike mix and mingle.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

📚’I loved both the story and the author’s distinctive writing style.’ Judith reviews Victorian #Mystery Murder & Mischief by Carol Hedges @riotgrandma72 for Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Today’s team review is from Judith.

Judith blogs here https://judithbarrowblog.com/

Orange rose and Rosie's Book Review Team
Rosie’s Book Review Team

Judith has been reading Murder & Mischief by Carol Hedges.

I’ve heard a lot about Carol Hedges’ Victorian Detectives series over the years, and been promising myself I will read one of her books. How I wish I hadn’t waited so long! Murder and Mischief is a brilliant read; I loved both the story and the author’s distinctive writing style. I actually resented having to put the kindle down when other things needed doing.

Murder and Mischief is number ten of this author’s series, but I read it as a standalone book, and that was no problem at all. I’ve since checked some of the others in the series, and even though some of the characters are in the other books, and most of the settings are similar, this is a complete story in itself. There are no loose ends. In fact I should imagine that, for those readers who have followed the series, familiar characters and backgrounds must add to their enjoyment of each story.

The first thing I have to say is how much I enjoyed the voice of the omniscient narrator. Told from the various points of view, in the present tense, and in the first person, I could actually hear him (yes I do think it’s a “him”) in my head. The conversational tone, the way the reader is directly addressed, gives instant imagery to this shared observation. We are encouraged to view the disparate and unfair class divide, and actions of all the characters in the same way as the narrator does.

The dialogue is skilfully written and adds another layer to each character, their standing in society, and their role in Murder and Mischief. And here the narrator comes into his own again, revealing often that the direct speech doesn’t reflect their internal dialogue.

The descriptions of the settings that the characters move around in are flawless – extremely atmospheric, and adding much to the story. In fact, the sense of place is so redolent that the streets, the houses, the workhouse, the public houses, the Chinese mission house, all almost become characters in their own right.

There are two main plots that intertwine and coalesce, threaded throughout with various themes of honesty and crime, indifference and cruelty, love and hatred. Sometimes the plot leaps from one thread to another in startling speed, and yet it works, reflecting the change of circumstance the characters find themselves in, and, for me, kept me enthralled.

As I always say, I try not to give spoilers in my reviews, the book descriptions reveal enough of the story. I can only give a subjective appraisal. But, for anyone who likes the crime genre, a book with an utterly compelling plot, and an insight to Victorian London, this is for you. Murder and Mischief is a novel I can thoroughly recommend.

Orange rose book description
Book description

It is January, a time of year when not much crime usually happens. But when Inspector Greig is unexpectedly summoned to the opulent Hampstead residence of Mr. James William Malin Barrowclough, a rich businessman, he embarks upon one of the strangest and most bizarre investigations that he has ever been involved in.

Why has Barrowclough been targeted? What is inside the mysterious parcels that keep arriving at Hill House, and why won’t he cooperate with the police? The case will take the Scotland Yard detectives on a journey out of London and into the victim’s past, to uncover the secrets and lies that haunt his present.

Murder & Mischief is the tenth novel in the series, and in the great tradition of Charles Dickens and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, it entices the reader once again along the teeming streets and dimly gas lit thoroughfares of Victorian London, where rich and poor, friend and foe alike mix and mingle.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

📚Victorian #Mystery With A Dickensian Sub-Theme. Noelle Reviews Murder & Mischief by Carol Hedges @riotgrandma72 for Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Today’s team review is from Noelle.

Noelle blogs here https://saylingaway.wordpress.com

Orange rose and Rosie's Book Review Team
Rosie’s Book Review Team

Noelle has been reading Murder & Mischief by Carol Hedges

I’ve read and reviewed Murder and Mayhem, a previous book by this author, and liked it so much I jumped at the chance to review this one.

Ms. Hedges has cleverly entwined two stories in this, the tenth outing of her Victorian mystery series. The setting is London in 1868, and the city itself quickly becomes a main character because of the colorful, detailed descriptions the author creates for the reader.

In the plot, Detective Inspector Grieg of Scotland Yard is called to Hill House, the upper class residence of Mr. Barrowclough, a very wealthy real estate developer. A ‘snowman’ has been found in his garden by his two sons. The ‘snowman’ is a man’s frozen body, covered thickly from a recent snowfall. Mr. Barrowclough denies knowledge of the man, although one of his old hats is part of the snowman’s clothing. Grieg is convinced the dead man is linked to Barrowclough’s business, which entails buying land near where the London underground railway is planned to plough through, putting up cheap houses and selling them at a high price because of location. But he has to probe into Barrowclough’s history to get to the truth. The second story is pure Dickens – two children, Flitch and Liza, escape from the workhouse where they were forced to go with their mother after their father left them for work in America. The mother died there, and Flitch is determined to make a life for himself and his sister in London. They are trailed there by their father who returns to claim them and also by the managers of the workhouse, once the father offers a reward for finding them. Also on their trail is a female detective the father hires.

The reader is faced, along with the main characters, with some challenging questions? Can Flitch and Liza survive in London when they arrive with only the clothes on their backs? Who will ultimately find them – their father, the detective, the greedy workhouse managers? Why is Barrowclough receiving parcels containing dead birds, which frighten him? How are they linked to the dead man?

I loved this book. Ms. Hedges writes in the present tense and breaks the wall by talking directly to the reader at various times, usually to presage a jump from one plot to the other. Some readers may not like this technique but I found it pulled me directly into the action and setting. Her background descriptions of the rich and the poor sides of London are exceptional: public houses, the docks, the Chinese enclave, fashionable stores, mansions, apartments, and hovels. And all without excessive detail. The poverty, dirt, noise and smoke are very real. She also makes clear the role of women at the time, the consequences of poverty, the rapacious nature of real estate developers, and a host of other societal problems, but by inference and not preaching. Even the minor characters are well drawn with the nuances of life in London for the various strata in society.

The plots take the reader hither and yon and the resolution of each is unexpected and satisfying.

A resounding five stars for this book. If you like Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins, this is for you.

There are nine other books in this series, each of which is related by the characters but this is a stand-alone in terms of reading. I highly recommend reading all of them!

Orange rose book description
Book description

It is January, a time of year when not much crime usually happens. But when Inspector Greig is unexpectedly summoned to the opulent Hampstead residence of Mr. James William Malin Barrowclough, a rich businessman, he embarks upon one of the strangest and most bizarre investigations that he has ever been involved in.

Why has Barrowclough been targeted? What is inside the mysterious parcels that keep arriving at Hill House, and why won’t he cooperate with the police? The case will take the Scotland Yard detectives on a journey out of London and into the victim’s past, to uncover the secrets and lies that haunt his present.

Murder & Mischief is the tenth novel in the series, and in the great tradition of Charles Dickens and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, it entices the reader once again along the teeming streets and dimly gas lit thoroughfares of Victorian London, where rich and poor, friend and foe alike mix and mingle.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

📚’Great characters, setting, and a social commentary on the Victorian era.’ @OlgaNM7 reviews #mystery Murder & Mischief by Carol Hedges @riotgrandma72

Today’s team review is from Olga.

Olga blogs here https://www.authortranslatorolga.com

Orange rose and Rosie's Book Review Team
Rosie’s Book Review Team

Olga has been reading Murder & Mischief by Carol Hedges.

I have known about Carol Hedges and her books for a long time; I have read many reviews of the novels of the Victorian Detectives series, and I always thought that I would find the time to read them all in order at some point. When I realised that she had published novel number 10, I decided I’d better try to join its readers now, as that would give me a chance to comment on its suitability as a stand-alone novel. And, in case any people who haven’t read any of the previous novels in the series are debating if they will enjoy it without any background information, they can rest assured. This novel, on its own, is a great read. There are passing references to previous events (especially when referring to the background of some of the main characters and old cases), but the author only touches on them, offering enough information to help readers understand some of the interactions between the characters, but never taking the focus away from the actual story. That also means that readers who decide to go back and read some of the other novels after reading this one won’t feel as if they had been cheated because they had been told the whole story already. It is a win/win, and not an easy feat to achieve in a series, even in the mystery genre when the cases are meant to be unrelated.

The plot combines an unusual crime (at first, it isn’t even clear if there is a real crime to investigate or just some bizarre prank), with the adventures of a boy and girl (Flinch and Liza) who manage to escape from a workhouse and make their way to London. We have a number of detectives from Scotland Yard investigating the bizarre crime, and a female private detective trying to help a father locate the two children, both cases taking place in London in the late 1860s, with innovations such as the underground (and it does play a stellar part in the story), visits to fashionable department stores, pubs and coffee shops where information can be obtained, the docks, the sailors, the Chinese population, the artists of the era trying to make a living by reflecting the reality (more or less) in the streets, real estate operations, the press and their interest in strange crimes, and even a visit to Birmingham. Again, the author has a talent for making us experience the streets of London and Birmingham, the interior of public houses, hotels, shops, and big mansions, without going into long-winded descriptions that interrupt the flow of the story. The use of an omniscient narrator, who often addresses the reader directly, allows us to see things from a variety of perspectives, from a child to an officer of the law and even the baddies, and this unknown narrator also infuses the story with some touches of humour (dark at times) and a social commentary very apt to the historical period. This is not an idealised image of Victorian England. We have unscrupulous people exploiting young children, families without means being evicted and left homeless, dirt, smoke, noise, and plenty of danger.

I am sure people who have been following the story will know more about the Scotland Yard investigators, but here, although they appeared enough to give me a sense of the type of people they were, (especially Greig and Williams), and the case was so intriguing that it kept me turning the pages, I was rooting for Flitch and Liza, the young escapees going through all kinds of trials in London. Their story and their adventures reminded me of Dickens (mentioned in the description), and some of the characters would have been at home in one of his novels. There were characters who were morally good and others bad, but there were some grey areas as well, and I particularly appreciated the fact that the Chinese community is shown as welcoming and caring, and the lunatic asylum (a private facility) that appears in the story seems well-run and enlightened in its treatment of the patients.

This is not a cozy mystery novel: there are some scary moments, and sad events are referred to (and take place), but there is no explicit violence or gore. My only other warning would be to mention that the story is written in the present tense, and I know some readers don’t like that. I am a bit in two minds about it, but I must say with the use of the narrator it seemed to flow quite naturally, and it didn’t bother me in particular.

I want to avoid spoiling the story, but I enjoyed the ending (or endings). There is a degree of moral ambiguity that I appreciated, and although those who dislike chance and coincidence might not agree with me, I thought it all worked out as it should. In sum, the reviews I had read so far were right. This is an entertaining novel, set in a fascinating historical period, which manages to bring to life the London of the Victorian era and a varied cast of characters, while intriguing us with two mysteries and making us reflect on the social circumstances of the time (and how far, or not, we have come since). 

Orange rose book description
Book description

It is January, a time of year when not much crime usually happens. But when Inspector Greig is unexpectedly summoned to the opulent Hampstead residence of Mr. James William Malin Barrowclough, a rich businessman, he embarks upon one of the strangest and most bizarre investigations that he has ever been involved in.

Why has Barrowclough been targeted? What is inside the mysterious parcels that keep arriving at Hill House, and why won’t he cooperate with the police? The case will take the Scotland Yard detectives on a journey out of London and into the victim’s past, to uncover the secrets and lies that haunt his present.

Murder & Mischief is the tenth novel in the series, and in the great tradition of Charles Dickens and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, it entices the reader once again along the teeming streets and dimly gas~lit thoroughfares of Victorian London, where rich and poor, friend and foe alike mix and mingle.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

📚Murder #Mystery Set In Victorian London. @LizanneLloyd Reviews Murder & Mischief by @riotgrandma72 for Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #TuesdayBookBlog

Today’s team review is from Liz.

Liz blogs here https://lizannelloyd.wordpress.com/

Orange rose book description
Book description

It is a delight to return to Victorian London to meet Carol’s panoply of characters once again. On a snowy day in 1868 we encounter two thoroughly unpleasant boys, the sons of successful land speculator J W M Barrowclough, who have benefited at Eton College from, “learning Latin, Greek and social superiority.” But shortly afterwards DI Lachlan Greig is summoned from Scotland Yard to their residence, Hill House, to investigate a snowman which encases a dead body.

Greig is a wise man with all the right contacts, so he gains useful information about the Barrowclough family from Lilith Marks in the Lily Lounge Tearoom. He then follows up the snowman’s top hat, originally purchased from Lock & Co, Hatters and I was surprised on Monday to see a hat from this company, which is still trading in St James St, sold on TV’s Bargain Hunt.

We also meet two much more charming children, Liza & Flitch, who have run away from the Poor Law Union Workhouse in Cambridge, hidden on board a stagecoach to London. Flitch is such an enterprising young lad that they soon have the means to buy some food & pay for accommodation. Circumstances put them in contact with the Transformative Brethren, a group of artists in Camden who concentrate on the destruction and reconstruction of London streets and the people who live there.

Descriptions of Barrowclough’s lifestyle give us a clear picture of aspects of London society such as the Gentleman’s Club while the orphaned children explore its underbelly. When Detective Constable Tom Williams travels to Birmingham for further investigations he is amazed by the difference to his experience of central London.

“From the moment Williams steps out into the thronged thoroughfare, his ears are assailed by the hammering of presses and the clatter of engines. The noise of Birmingham is beyond description.

There are dust heaps everywhere. The streets do not appear to have been sluiced. Tom steps over piles of litter and manure, oily black water, bones, rotten vegetables. Flies buzz, stray dogs fight. Great carts loaded with coal, lime and iron bars queue from one street to another, their drivers shouting at each other in an accent he does not understand.”

Each strand of the story gradually unwinds, despite tremendous hazards, to logical conclusions and along the way we are educated in social history, amused by the escapades of the children and intrigued by the murder mystery. If you haven’t discovered these compelling Victorian adventures before now, it is time to start reading, either this excellent read alone story or better still the first book in the series.

Orange rose book description
Book description

It is January, a time of year when not much crime usually happens. But when Inspector Greig is unexpectedly summoned to the opulent Hampstead residence of Mr. James William Malin Barrowclough, a rich businessman, he embarks upon one of the strangest and most bizarre investigations that he has ever been involved in.

Why has Barrowclough been targeted? What is inside the mysterious parcels that keep arriving at Hill House, and why won’t he cooperate with the police? The case will take the Scotland Yard detectives on a journey out of London and into the victim’s past, to uncover the secrets and lies that haunt his present.

Murder & Mischief is the tenth novel in the series, and in the great tradition of Charles Dickens and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, it entices the reader once again along the teeming streets and dimly gas lit thoroughfares of Victorian London, where rich and poor, friend and foe alike mix and mingle.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

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

58621177. sx318

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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‘Someone Stole A Dead Body’. A new case for Stride and Cully. @CathyRy reviews Desire And Deceit by @carolJhedges for #RBRT

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

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Cathy has been reading Desire And Deceit by Carol Hedges

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

London during 1868 is experiencing the hottest summer on record, wilting under the relentless heat and resulting odours. Detective Inspector Leo Stride, feeling the lack of his daily caffeine from the usual coffee stalls holders who have forsaken London for the much cooler countryside, is summoned along with his colleague DS Jack Cully to the morgue. There was a problem. A body had gone missing.

“You are seriously telling us that someone stole a dead body?” Cully asks.

“Unlikely as it may appear, that would seem to be the case,” Robertson replies drily. “Nos non habemus corpus as it were. I am sure I do not need to provide a translation. And I would hardly tell you such information frivolously, detective sergeant.”

Try as they might, a lack of evidence and motive hampers and eventually stalls the investigation.

Elsewhere, two despicable brothers are intent on ingratiating themselves with their rich, elderly aunt who is dying, each trying to outdo the other to be the recipient of her fortune and jewellery collection.

Miss Lucy Landseer has set herself up as a Private Consulting Detective and it’s no time at all until she receives her first client. Then we have Micky Mokey and Little Azella, variety artists appearing nightly at the Varieties Music Hall for the summer season. But who is the real Micky behind his stage persona?

The Replacement, newly appointed private secretary to the Honourable Thomas Langland MP, a position previously occupied by his good friend who seems to have disappeared. The Replacement’s bland appearance and subservient attitude disguises his intelligence and the real reason he has secured this post.

The intricate plot threads are woven together cleverly and seamlessly with engaging, descriptive prose and several twists. Crimes and machinations are resolved convincingly and in a very satisfactory manner. The characters are well rounded, easy to picture. I loved young Harriet and her no holds barred parrot, as well as the regulars. London and it’s inhabitants are evocatively depicted as always. Another very enjoyable addition to The Victorian Detectives series.

Desc 1

t 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]