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.
Once again Carol Hedges’ Victorian Detective mysteries reflect the progress, poverty and cunning of the second half of the 19th century. While brothers Arthur and Sherborne lurk in the vicinity of their elderly aunt Euphemia Harbinger like a couple of vultures intent on inheriting her fortune, a cautious replacement clerk observes the suspicious activities of his new boss, the Honourable Thomas Langland MP. As police detectives Cully and Stride do their best to discover why a body was stolen from the mortuary, their lack of evidence means they may have to rely on natural justice.
In contrast, it is refreshing to share the investigations of successful author, Lucy Landseer, as she engages in her first case as a private investigator. In her imaginative help for wronged women, she is a forerunner of the sisterhood of suffragists. Meanwhile music hall entertainer, Micky Mokey, keeps an eye on Sherborne Harbinger; what secret does he conceal?
The corruption and arrogance of many of the characters parallel some in our own society today but the humour of the talking parrot and the delightful 10-year-old Harriet Harbinger give the reader cheer and hope for a better future. The superb plotting and characterisation of this novel is further enhanced by Miss Hedges wonderful vocabulary perfectly expressing the mood and atmosphere of each scene for our delectation.
Desire & Deceit on Amazon UK
My review of Diamonds & Dust the first Victorian Detective mystery.