Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of A Daily Rhythm. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

 Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Today I will give a taste of passion from Carol Hedges brand new Victorian Sensation novel, Death and Dominion:-

He stands so close that the scent of him fills her nostrils.  She feels the heat from his body. Her heart thumps in her breast; her legs almost give way under her.

“What is it you desire, Miss Belinda Kite?” he murmurs, his dark brown eyes seeking and holding hers.

DD

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The Poisoned Island by Lloyd Shepherd

Poisoned

The Poisoned Island is Otaheite, or Tahiti as we know it better, in the year 1769, but the story moves quickly on to the River Thames in 1812 where the ship “Solander” returns from the paradise of Otaheite, with hundreds of plants carefully preserved  by Captain Hopkins for delivery to Sir Joseph Banks, the famous botanist, at Kew Gardens.

It has been a successful trip and the sailors in particular had found their time in Otaheite very rewarding.  The new plant specimens are welcomed by Banks and his learned librarian, Scottish botanist, Robert Brown.  But some of the sailors carry a lethal secret whose repercussions will effect Banks, Brown and even king George III.

Lloyd Shepherd describes the streets, grand houses and hovels of Georgian London vividly.  We walk from place to place or cross the river alongside his characters, seeing, hearing and smelling with their senses.

The book is primarily a murder mystery which is investigated by John Harriott the resident magistrate of the River Police, based in Wapping, aided by his skilful constable Charles Horton.  One after another, sailors from the “Solander” are found dead in mysterious circumstances with no apparent motive.  Meanwhile, Banks and Brown are astounded by the rapid growth of a breadfruit tree which had been brought back in the ship, after they planted it in warm conditions at Kew.

The murder scenes are gruesome and the extra knowledge given to the reader does not make the identity of the killer any easier to spot.  Abigail, independently minded wife of Charles Horton, becomes entangled in danger and a strange mixed race clergyman from the “Solander”, Peter Nott is the first suspect.

This is not a fast moving, action packed mystery but the story of a determined, meticulous detective in an era when such murders were easily dismissed and when the wrong culprit could so easily be incarcerated in a corrupt prison such as Coldbath Fields.  The historical details add so much to our involvement in the narrative.

Lloyd Shepherd has chosen to mix real facts about the historical figures with a story he has created which could possibly have happened to them, which I found delightful.  Some may find it a little long-winded but I relished the background knowledge which he incorporated into his novel.  This is the second of three books about the River Police although it works perfectly as a stand alone novel.

Redriff map05052015

John Roque’s map of London 1747

Honour and Obey by Carol Hedges

Honour

Do you want to find yourself walking the streets of Victorian London on a night of “relentless rain” seeing people hurrying back to their semi-detached villas and tiny hovels, a place where evil and kindness stand side by side?   Then this is the book for you.

“Honour and Obey” is packed with richly drawn characters with fascinating names.  Who could not wish to make the acquaintance of Lobelia and Hyacinth Clout, as they make their way to the church hall of Rev. Ezra Bittersplit, where they will listen to a talk about the Overseas Missionary Society for the Conversion of African Heathens, given by Eustacia Mullygrub?

Throughout the book, Detective Inspector Leo Stride and his assistant Detective Sergeant Jack Cully are in pursuit of a dastardly killer who seeks out innocent young women as his prey.  So often they miss the murderer by seconds without realising it and they are hampered by the lurid exaggeration of the crimes in the popular press.

Parallel to the investigation, three young women seek happiness.  Hyacinth, after a life of drudgery with her mother now seeks independence from her demanding sister Lobelia, while Portia Mullygrub also wishes to leave the family home where she works tirelessly as her mother’s secretary, in order to begin married life with her fiancé.  Meanwhile, penniless Emily Benet just wants to survive in a cruel world.

This witty novel is a delicious feast of Victorian delights; the gruesome murders, foundlings and workhouse families, do-gooders and honest hard working individuals.  The streets, houses, shops and hospital dissection room are all described in vivid detail and the complex plot interwoven seamlessly.  I can highly recommend “Honour and Obey” as a Christmas treat, but you will find it very hard to put down!