Author: Carol Hedges
Published: September 2018 by Little G Books
Category: Historical, Crime Fiction, Book Review
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?
Fear & Phantoms is another very enjoyable addition to the excellent Victorian Detectives series. The story opens in the early hours of a snowy winter morning, as an injured man is left to freeze to death. And as Helena Trigg wakes to a bright white, silent world she discovers her twin brother Lambert’s bedroom neat, tidy and empty. Assuming he has left early for work she doesn’t worry until she returns at the end of the work day to empty lodgings and an accusatory letter.
Detective Inspector Stride and Detective Sergeant Cully are dealing with sightings of a supposed apparition in railway tunnels and the ensuing media frenzy. Which is nothing compared to the crime they will investigate very shortly. A con man is defrauding banks, masquerading as several different people, and killing those who get in his way.
Lucy Landseer, a budding novelist, journalist and very purposeful young lady who is determined to pursue her dream of a writing career in London, keeps her eyes and ears open at all times in search of articles and stories, which comes in very useful along the way.
A train going in the opposite direction arrives, and they board it. Now, Lucy is highly intrigued. What is going on? Feeling more like a detective than a writer, she follows them, placing herself in an inconspicuous seat.
What I love about these books, apart from the colourful, well defined characters (with sometimes very apt names…Tom Scallywagg MP), be they good, bad or downright evil, are the evocative descriptions of Victorian London. The dark, menacing back streets contrasting sharply with the more affluent areas, and the opulence of the wealthy set against the often terrible lives of the poorer classes, particularly the children. Two of these children play a small but significant part in the plot and are portrayed brilliantly.
I enjoyed meeting again the characters who have been constants throughout, as well as new ones, witnessing their development and experiencing Carol Hedges’ wonderful way with words and distinct narrative style. Stride and Cully along with Inspector Greig have their work cut out to make sense of the financial dirty dealings and murders, in addition to bringing the perpetrator to justice. The proverbial thorn in their side, chief reporter Richard Dandy, makes the job harder than necessary with his scurrilous newspaper articles. Plot and sub plots are woven together expertly, bringing the story to a very satisfactory conclusion.
I chose to read and review Fear & Phantoms for Rosie Amber’s book review team, based on a digital copy from the author.
About the Author
Carol Hedges is the successful UK writer of 18 books for Teenagers/Young Adults and Adults. Her writing has received much critical acclaim, and her novel Jigsaw was long-listed for the Carnegie Medal.
Carol is also the writer of ‘The Victorian Detectives’ ~ a series of novels set in 1860s London and featuring Detective Inspector Leo Stride and his side-kick Detective Sergeant Jack Cully.
The six books in the series are:
Diamonds & Dust
Honour & Obey
Death & Dominion
Rack & Ruin
Wonders & Wickedness
Fear & Phantoms
Carol Hedges lives in Hertfordshire with a tortie-siamese cat and a lot of pond fish. When not writing/sleeping/trying to resist cake, she tutors A level and GCSE English Literature. She campaigns as chair of a local action group to save a community urban green space from possible development. She also minds her two grandchildren, one of whom is the star of the Award Winning series of blogs: The Adventures of L-Plate Gran.
Connect with Carol via Twitter: @carolJhedges
Author: Nicholas Nicastro
Published: October 2018 by Endeavour Media
Category: Historical Fiction, True Crime, Book Review
A beautiful girl of 19 disappears from her home after bidding a fateful goodnight to her sweetheart. She is found dead in the Pasquotank River 36 days later. He is convicted TWICE for her murder – but is innocent. So what really happened…?
Ella Maud Cropsey, or Nell as she is more commonly known, and her family live in a small community in North Carolina. Set around the turn of the 20th century, the story is a fictionalised account of her murder, based on the known facts.
Author: Margaret Skea
Published: July 2018 by Corazon Books
Category: Historical Fiction, Saga, Book Review
1598. The French Wars of Religion are drawing to an end, the Edict of Nantes establishing religious freedom in all but Paris.
For the exiled Adam and Kate Munro, the child Kate carries symbolizes a new life free from past troubles, despite their lingering nostalgia for Scotland and the friendship of the Montgomeries.
After the Turn of the Tide and A House Divided comes By Sword and Storm, the third and final book in the Munro saga.
Author: Harriet Steel
Published: July 2018 by Stane Street Press
Category: Historical Fiction, Cosy Mystery, Murder, Crime, Book Review
In this fourth instalment of the Inspector de Silva mysteries, it is monsoon season in the Hill Country. One stormy night, a ghostly encounter on a lonely road leads de Silva into a case of murder, and a mystery that stretches back to Ceylon’s distant past. To uncover the truth, he will have to face death and his inner demons.
Inspector Shanti de Silva is already regretting the whim that made him arrange a visit to see his colleague Inspector Singh in Hatton during the monsoon season.
Author: Ann Swinfen
Published: February 2014 by Shakenoak Press
Category: 17th Century Historical Fiction, Book Review
Violence, greed and betrayal threaten the remote communities of East Anglia in the seventeenth century, when ruthless and unscrupulous speculators steal their common lands, while fanatic Puritans bring accusations of heresy and witchcraft.
I love fictional stories set against true historical facts. Flood tells the story of Fenlanders in 17th century East Anglia whose hard working but peaceful way of life is compromised by those who believe they are entitled to profit by whatever means necessary.