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Set in London in the late Victorian era after Scotland Yard had signally failed to capture Jack the Ripper, this story of a warped killer, a body found in a chimney and a detective's body found in a trunk at a railway station is both interesting and frustrating.
First I had no problem with the narration. Toby Leonard Moore did an excellent job separating out the various character's voices. He did women's voices quite well in my opinion.
The one who fell down a bit was the author. There's a pretty long discussion on the Amazon product page which addresses some of the problems. It's spoilerish, beware.
I thought some of the characters were well written. It was the plotting and the lack of historical research that would cause me annoyance. The plotting lacked focus. The end of the mystery was not as satisfying as I hoped it would be. It wasn't unsatisfying in a literary/artistic manner. I was just left scratching my head and wondering about why certain things had been included when they eventually didn't even arise to the level of a red herring. They were just fillers.
Aside from factual forensic anachronisms the author has the wife of a Scotland Yard inspector suggesting that a man call her Clare within minutes of having him show up unannounced and alone at her front door. This happens again with another (male) character asking a female character he has just met to call him Mike within minutes of meeting. That just won't wash. It's also more distracting than whether or not the correct substance was used to raise latent finger prints. Oh, and the hospital scene with the patient who had his throat slashed? That was not only just gross, it was also medically impossible.
I would give this author another chance but I think he needs to work on plotting and research.
34 of 35 people found this review helpful
First off, why over 100 chapters, plus several "interludes". Author with ADHD?
I give this book overall 4/5 stars for the multitude of interesting characters, multiple intertwining storylines and good pacing. I had to take 1 off for annoying anachronisms and some heavy-handedness in the writing.
The time is 1888 Victorian London, when the Scotland Yard detectives are facing bad PR after not solving the Ripper case and their small team is tasked with 10,000 disappearances a year in the city. A fellow detective is murdered, and they want to provide "closure" for his family. Closure? Did they really say that in 1888? Did they use the term "forensic technology"?? And so on. And most people familiar with Victorian London have heard of Henry Mayhew, so why confuse readers with a half-witted character of the same name (but not the same social researcher and writer)? The real Mayhew died in 1887. Strange choices.
The Hammersmith and Day detective characters are strong enough that we may see a sequel featuring them, but I hope they won't discover DNA or blood spatter analysis ahead of their time.
58 of 61 people found this review helpful