A shaft of dust-laden sunshine lights up the planes of her small cat-like face with its pale hair and sea-green eyes that catch and hold the light.
Once more I have explored the sordid streets of mid-Victorian London to follow the investigations of the determined team of police detectives, Stride, Cully and Greig. Carol Hedges has taken me into grand homes, crowded slums and insalubrious pubs, down by the docks. I have seen poor Izzy Harding spend all day painting tiny dolls’ furniture with little or no food, sat near to Riva Hemming-Stratton over tea while she turns her observation of other people into imaginative stories and I have suffered with the lonely Gerald Daubney as he mourns the loss of his netsuke Edo cat. And the struggle of intelligent women to gain an education is shown by Maria Barklem, a vicar’s daughter soon to be made homeless because of the death of her parents.
Meanwhile in Russell Square two evil brothers, Herbert and Munro Black, exploit young girls dreams to lead them into prostitution across the sea. Their tentacles of crime reach out across the city but somehow the police force must find evidence and witnesses to bring them to justice.
This is a much darker tale than Ms Hedges earlier novels, with more sad lives unfulfilled but characters from past books such as Lucy Landseer appear, providing solutions, and help at least some of the victims. And through it all is a tiny grain of goodness in enough characters, such as Inspector Lachlan Greig, to give us hope.
Fame & Fortune can be purchased from Amazon UK
My Review of Diamonds & Dust the first volume in this series